June 1 rally on parliament hill: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Are Not The Answer

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Are Not The Answer

Join the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, the Living with Dignity Network and the Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia for a demonstration on Parliament Hill on Wednesday June 1, 2016 (noon to 1:30 pm).

The Supreme Court of Canada imposed a June 6 deadline upon parliament to pass a bill to regulate euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. Parliament could follow the Supreme Court decision and still protect Canadians from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Bill C-14 is a dangerous bill that does not protect vulnerable Canadians. Bill C-14 provides a perfect cover for murder.

Groups opposing euthanasia warn Canadian government

Aubert Martin & Alex Schadenberg

Aubert Martin & Alex Schadenberg

On April 11, 2016; Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and Aubert Martin executive director of Living with Dignity Québec, held a press conference in Ottawa to warn the federal government about abuse of the law before it introduces euthanasia legislation. QMI reported on the press conference by publishing an article by Guillaume St-Pierre.

The Quebec organization, Living with Dignity, warned the federal government, which is preparing to introduce a bill on medical help to die, against possible abuses. 
"After only four months since the start of the law that legalized euthanasia in Quebec, we are already witnessing the first slip," said the CEO of the organization during a press briefing in Ottawa on Monday, Aubert Martin. 
In early March, the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) had to issue an opinion in which he reminded members that attempted suicide is not a refusal of treatment. 
The warning served to rein in doctors who chose not to resuscitate patients who have tried to kill themselves by poisoning when they came to the emergency. 
This example demonstrates, according to Mr Martin, that the health system needs to "relieve, not kill." 
"From the beginning the play on words, calling medical assistance to die that is actually human euthanasia," he added. 
The Trudeau government is drafting future legislation governing medical help to die for people with severe and irreversible diseases. 
Parliament has until June 6 to pass the legislation giving effect to a judgment of the Supreme Court, which invalidated sections of the Criminal Code prohibiting euthanasia. 
However, the Quebec organization to live in dignity continues to oppose any form of supervision of what he still considers to be a "homicide". 
"We're talking about a law that will allow in certain circumstances, another person to kill or help to someone to kill oneself. Instead of promoting assisted suicide, the provincial and federal governments should work to improve palliative care," insisted Mr. Martin.

We expect that the euthanasia legislation will be introduced next week. 

Panel recommends a 'dangerous approach' to regulating assisted suicide

Hugh Scher

Hugh Scher

This article was published by Advocate Daily on December 17, 2015

Recommendations in the report of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying are an “irresponsible and dangerous approach” to the legalization and regulation of assisted suicide across Canada, says Toronto health, human rights and constitutional lawyer Hugh Scher.

The panel’s 43 recommendations, are a “startling display of a lack of informed understanding of the risks and harms associated with measures to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada,” says Scher. “They particularly reflect a complete lack of understanding of considerations such as vulnerability, depression and the requirement for fully informed decision-making based upon clear information and full options being presented to the patient.”

Among recommendations in the 134-page report that was received by federal health and justice ministers earlier this week, is that children 12 years of age or younger be eligible for assisted suicide or euthanasia,and included a series of options around euthanasia and assisted suicide.

The report comes while the Supreme Court of Canada is weighing the federal Liberals' request to delay the implementation of the court's decision in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5, which will be addressed by the top court at a hearing on January 11, 2016. The Feb. 6, 2015 ruling strikes down the country's Criminal Code ban on assisted suicide, but gave lawmakers 12 months to adopt new rules and to implement effective oversight and safeguards.

Scher represents the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, which acted as an intervener at all levels in Carter, and is also an intervener before the Quebec Court of Appeal in D'Amico, which is being heard tomorrow.

Link to the full article

Montreal Euthanasia Symposium: Theory and Reality about Euthanasia

Media Release - October 30, 2015

The Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, the Living with Dignity network and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) are coming together for a one day conference on Saturday October 31, 2015 at the Best Western Ville Marie hotel in Montréal, to discuss our common concerns and directions.

The Quebec euthanasia experiment is scheduled to begin on December 10. The vast majorityof physicians around the world have always rejected euthanasia, above all because it is a public safety hazard: it can drive people to throw away years of their lives and provide caregivers and heirs with enormous power. Although it gives an illusion of control, the option of euthanasia will undoubtedly erode medical diligence and creativity in the medical care of people both chronically disabled and acutely disabled by illness.  

Most patients fear suffering at the end of life. This has always been the case. But we must find a less dangerous option than the constant availability of “death on demand” to address these fears. In extreme cases, i.e. for the small minority of patients for whom other options are not completely effective, palliative sedation can answer all symptom control problems.

Quebec has the only law in the world which attempts to coerce doctors to refer patients for euthanasia. Such pointless authoritarianism, of which we already had a taste in September, is a dangerous precedent which must be formally rejected.   

From a logistical point of view patients do not need help from their treating physician to access euthanasia: the government could easily set up a system of self-referral to voluntarily licensed doctors who are willing to practice euthanasia. This would avoid trampling on the professional judgment and conscience of the rest of the medical profession. 

We reject the concept that euthanasia is any kind of health care. We reject bullying physicians into referring their patients for death. And we reject the concept that intentional death is a solution to human distress.

Dr Catherine Ferrier – President, Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia (514) 623-5737
Dr Will Johnston – Chair, EPC - BC (604) 220-2042
Dr Margaret Cottle – Vice President, EPC (604) 222-0288
Dr Marc Beauchamp – President, Living with Dignity Network.
Alex Schadenberg - Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (519) 851-1434

Assisted suicide and euthanasia: political parties are fleeing their responsibilities

The election campaign is moving ahead and politicians are firing out their promises. Yet despite their life or death implication for all Canadians, the issues of assisted suicide and euthanasia remain taboo! The next government will have as a first duty the enormous responsibility of passing a law to regulate assisted suicide in time for the Supreme Court’s February 6, 2016 deadline.

Moreover, the aggressive reaction of Quebec politicians against palliative care professionals who refuse to kill people under their care announces a serious danger for all of Canada. This attack on freedom strongly suggests that the "right to die" will inevitably become an obligation to kill if we do not take all legislative precautions to avoid it.

We recognize that the wording of laws and regulations will either enable or discourage misuse of assisted suicide or euthanasia. However, it is well known that no safeguards can entirely prevent the deaths of ineligible and non-consenting people. The data from a recent study in Belgium, where euthanasia is legal, found that 1.7% of all deaths were intentionally hastened without request and people with depression and cognitive disorders are dying by euthanasia. The new Canadian government must use all means available to prevent such tragedies.

Faced with the silence of the political parties, the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), the EPC – BC, and Living with Dignity are adding their voice to those calling for a clear position with firm commitments from all political parties before the end of the election campaign so that Canadians can make an informed choice.

Together, we ask that all political parties publicly commit themselves to enact legislation and implement regulations which:

• protect vulnerable citizens from inducement to suicide, including people with physical and intellectual disabilities, those with mental illness, loss of autonomy or advanced chronic disease, and those at the end of life; 
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• improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care for all Canadians, for there is no true free and informed consent to death if the patient is not aware of, or has no access to, the alternatives; 
• uphold freedom of conscience for caregivers in all health care environments by preventing any form of coercion and pressure to participate in the killing of persons under their care.

It would be a serious injustice to Canadians to leave unaddressed such fundamental issues for the future of our society. Canadians have the right to know how our elderly, disabled and terminally ill citizens will be treated after the federal election of October 19.

For more information contact:

Euthanasia Symposium 2015

The Euthanasia Symposium 2015 is in Montreal at the Best Western - Ville Marie Hotel and Suites on October 31, 2015 from 9 am to 5 pm.

Book your room at the hotel for $119 single or $149 double by calling: 1-800-361-7791.

The Euthanasia Symposium 2015 is an event of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, the Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia and the Living with Dignity.

Registration is only $50 and includes lunch and coffee breaks.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Balfour Mount: The father of palliative care in North America.
  • Dr Margaret Somerville: She will be speaking from her new book: Bird on an ethical wire.
  • Dr Margaret Cottle: Palliative care physician and Vice President of EPC.
  • Dr Will Johnston: Family Physician and Chair of EPC - BC.
  • Dr Patrick Vinay: Former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal.
  • Dr Catherine Ferrier: Geriatrician, President - Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia.
  • Amy Hasbrouck: Lawyer and Director of Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet Canada.
  • Nic Steenhout: Former Director of Living with Dignity Québec.
  • Albertos Polizogopoulos: Lawyer, who will be speaking on Physicians Conscience Rights.
  • Alex Schadenberg: Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
  • Hugh Scher: Legal Counsel - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
  • Jen Romnes: Will be sharing her story (book) about caring for her mother.

Register by contacting the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: 1-877-439-3348 or info@epcc.ca

Euthanasia at the Heart of the Federal Election

While the federal election campaign is in full swing, the question of Euthanasia is beginning to make its way among major election issues in healthcare. Indeed, the next federal government will have the mandate to enact a law before February 6 in response to the Supreme Court’s judgment on "medical assistance in dying."

To stimulate discussions, the Ontario Ministry of Health has announced the creation of a second Expert Advisory Group in addition to the Federal External Panel set up by the federal government shortly before the dissolution of Parliament.

Composed of 11 provinces and territories, this new advisory group, led by Ontario, will too be responsible for providing advices on the development of policies, practices and protective measures to be taken with the legalization of assisted suicide on their respective territories. Several experts are featuring on its board, namely Maureen Taylor, Jocelyn Downie and Arthur Schaefer are well known pro-Euthanasia activists.

Since each election campaign launches political parties in a race for votes, candidates for the next government will be forced to gauge public opinion in order to establish their position on this social issue. It is therefore crucial that everyone takes part in the debate by answering the online survey of the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group, as well as the online consultation of the Federal External Panel.

We also strongly encourage you to take advantage of this key moment in our democracy to contact your candidates and discuss with them about issues regarding Euthanasia and assisted suicide, in particular their social impact on families and caregivers and the measures to be taken to protect vulnerable people.

Living with Dignity, the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition are stressing the importance of expressing yourself in the polls, especially during electoral period. By doing so, you add weight to the experts’ recommendations in order to contain the excesses that the law on Euthanasia and assisted suicide will generate in a few months.