Canadian Medical Association urges respect for conscience rights for medical professionals

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) in their response to the report of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying (the report) were concerned that the report required physicians, who object to killing their patients, to effectivley refer their patients to a physician who will kill. The report also requires all publicly funded healthcare facilities to permit euthanasia and assisted suicide on their premises, including hospices and religiously affiliated healthcare institutions.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition published a summary of the report.

The Canadian Press reported in an article written by Sheryl Ubelacker reported that Dr Jeff Blackmer, the CMA Vice-President of Medical Professionalism said:

The CMA, which represents about 80,000 physicians across the country, had argued during hearings to the committee that doctors who oppose assisted dying on grounds of conscience should not be required to refer patients to a colleague willing to provide or administer drugs that would end their lives.
"We were very disappointed to see it not incorporated into the recommendations,"

The CMA is proposing that physicians not be required to refer their patients to a physician who will kill, but rather that a central referral system be created. Blackmer stated:

the CMA had proposed an alternative -- the creation of a central mechanism to facilitate access to medically aided dying, which conscientious objectors could advise patients about.

According to the article, Blackmer also stated that physicians who are refusing to kill their patients have also said that they will leave Canada, if forced to refer.

Link to the full article

Ontario Government euthanasia report seeks to protect physicians but not patients

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Jocelyn Downie

Jocelyn Downie

The Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying released their pro-euthanasia report, one-day before the release of the report from the Federal Panel on Assisted Dying. Link to the report.

The Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group featured a stacked deck of pro-euthanasia activists. Maureen Taylor, who describes herself, on Twitter, as an advocate of assisted death, was a co-chair, while Jocelyn Downie, Canada's leading promoter of assisted death, and Arthur Schaefer is a long-time advocate of euthanasia and assisted suicide were also members.

There are 43 recommendations in the report. Many of the recommendations are similar to the euthanasia laws in Belgium and the Netherlands and a few are particularly concerning.

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

The Advisory Group is urging the government to implement regulations that will completely protect physicians, or other medical professionals, that participate in euthanasia and assisted suicide, but the protections for the persons who will die, are weak.

The 43 recommendations focus on the provision of death, not the protection of patients. I will focus on the following recommendations:

Recommendation 3: All provinces and territories should ensure access to physician-assisted dying, including both physician-administered and self-administered physician assisted dying. The recommendations set out in Appendix 3 should be implemented through provincial/territorial legislation.

3. The Advisory Group does not recognize a difference between euthanasia (physician-administered) and assisted suicide (self-administered).

Recommendation 4: Provinces and territories should require all regional health authorities to have an effective publicly funded care coordination system in place to ensure patient access to physician-assisted dying.

4. The Advisory Group supports the creation of  a death bureaucracy in every region of the country.

Recommendation 5: Provincial/territorial governments should publicly fund physician-assisted dying.

5. The Advisory Group supports tax-payer funded assisted death.

Recommendation 8: Provinces and territories should request that the federal government amend the Criminal Code to allow the provision of physician-assisted dying by a regulated health care professional (registered nurse or, if applicable, physician assistant) acting under the direction of a physician, or a nurse practitioner. Provinces and territories should in turn ensure that no regulatory barriers exist that would prevent these health care professionals from providing physician-assisted dying.

8. The Advisory Group supports nurse participation in assisted death. Since the majority of doctors do not want to participate in euthanasia or assisted suicide, this recommendation is designed to expand the number of willing participants in acts of killing.

Link to the full article

More quasi academic euthanasia reports from Jocelyn Downie

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Jocelyn Downie

Jocelyn Downie

Dalhousie University professor and euthanasia activist, Jocelyn Downie, has recently received a Trudeau Fellowship to conduct end-of-life research. According to the Dalhousie media release:

Prof. Downie ... will receive $225,000 over three years and has already begun her research associated with the fellowship. In June, she gathered a group of international end-of-life experts in Amsterdam to discuss how to best track incidences of assisted dying in Canada.

Downie is a leading euthanasia activist who published the book Dying Justice: A case for decriminalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada (2004) and who is responsible for several "one-sided" quasi academic reports that were written by stacked committee's of like-minded academics without effective input from academics who disagree.

One report was the Royal Society of Canada End-of-Life Decision Making report that was written to undermine opposing positions to euthanasia and assisted suicide and to promote euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Link to the full article

Beware of Assisted Suicide Bullies

This article was published in the National Post on October 19, 2015.

By Will Johnston

Dr Will Johnston is a family physician in Vancouver and the chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of BC

Dr Will Johnston

Dr Will Johnston

For at least a few more months, the Canadian medical system will continue to be a safe space, free of assisted suicide and euthanasia. But all that is about to change. In order to ensure our hospitals and palliative care centres remain places where patients feel safe and secure, we must respect doctors’ conscience rights, rather than listen to activists who seek to impose their one-size-fits-all policy on the rest of us.

For instance, the palliative care centres in Quebec that refuse to have anything to do with euthanasia, for reasons of medical judgment and ethics, have apparently angered Jean-Pierre Menard, the lawyer who helped write Quebec’s euthanasia law, Bill 52. The act specifically states that palliative care centres are not required to provide euthanasia service — but maybe to Menard, those were just soothing words to get the bill passed. Now Menard says money should be taken away from palliative services that won’t provide euthanasia on their premises. And the minister of health, Gaetan Barrette, has threatened to revoke the hospital privileges of doctors who won’t comply.

This is wrong. The doctors and nurses who devote themselves to the care of dying people reject euthanasia because it is a tempting substitute for diligence and creativity. People with exceptionally difficult end-of-life illnesses can have reversible palliative sedation, which preserves their life and completely alleviates their symptoms. This makes intentionally killing the patient an unnecessary, dangerous and irreversible intrusion.

Link to the full article