CARP is now a pro-euthanasia advocacy group

Susan Eng

Susan Eng

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) under the leadership of Moses Znaimer, the former owner of CITY TV, has officially become an advocacy group promoting unfettered euthanasia.

According to an article by Gloria Galloway in the Globe and Mail, Susan Eng, the long-time Executive Vice President of CARP was fired by Moses Znaimer based on her neutral position on euthanasia and assisted suicide and replaced by Wanda Morris, the former CEO of Dying With Dignity. According to the article:

The woman who has been the public face of Canada’s leading seniors organization for the past eight years says she has been dismissed by media mogul Moses Znaimer, who is also the organization’s president, because she insisted on taking a neutral approach to the emotionally charged issue of assisted dying. 
Susan Eng was told on Tuesday that she was no longer needed as the executive vice-president of advocacy at CARP Canada. She then learned on Wednesday that she was being replaced by Wanda Morris, the head of Dying with Dignity Canada, which advocates for access to physician-assisted dying and against unnecessary barriers when safeguards are being imposed to protect the vulnerable. 
... “The only reason he fired me was so that they can put out an official position for CARP saying that they want to insist on assisted dying on demand,” said Ms. Eng, a Toronto lawyer and former chair of the city’s police services board.

Znaimer has been promoting a radical pro-euthanasia position for some time. He his written one-sided propaganda articles urging "euthanasia on demand." Znaimer also wrote an articlemisconstruing the Bentley case in BC, a case that concerned the issue of whether normal feeding is medical treatment. 

Many seniors are members of CARP to enjoy the travel, insurance and other benefits that are obtained through a CARP membership. Many seniors will now not renew their CARP membership or seeking an alternative organization to attain similar benefits.

Link to the full article

Directives from Supreme Court must be enforced

This article was published by Advocate Daily on March 31, 2015.

Hugh Scher

Hugh Scher

Many Canadians do not recognize the full extent to which existing rules around end-of-life decision-making are not serving as appropriate barriers to inappropriate conduct, says Toronto health and human rights lawyer Hugh Scher.

Concerning cases around end-of-life care decisions continue to crop up across Canada, says Scher, noting it is unclear whether directives from prior court rulings are being respected and enforced.

In one recent case, a Toronto physician and hospital were sued by a family who alleged a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order was unilaterally placed on an elderly patient at Toronto East General Hospital against their wishes, reports the Toronto Star.

The Star reports the statement of claim, which seeks $1.2 million in damages for four of Canh Luong’s family members, alleges Dr. Alvin Chang and Toronto East General committed “wrongful death, abuse of power, negligence and breach of fiduciary duties.”

Link to the full article

Clear rules and consequences needed around end-of-life care

This article was published by Advocate Daily on March 30, 2015.

Hugh Scher

Hugh Scher

Top British Columbia courts have made it clear that oral nutrition should not be considered health care or medical treatment and instead be seen as basic personal care and support. But, how the directive will be applied and enforced across Canada remains to be seen, says Toronto health and human rights lawyer Hugh Scher.

In Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society 2015 BCCA 91, the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed a request from the family of an 83-year-old woman that their mother no longer be given nourishment or liquids by staff members at the nursing home where she resides.

Justice Mary Newbury agreed with a lower court judge, ruling that the woman, who has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, is exercising her consent when she opens her mouth to accept food and water, despite her family’s position that it was her wish while she was mentally capable that she not be fed in her current condition.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – BC, represented by Scher and Geoff Cowper QC, were intervenors in the case at trial and on appeal.

Link to the full article

Questions remain as debate begins on assisted suicide

This article was published by Advocate Daily on March 4, 2015.

By Hugh Scher, EPC legal counsel

Hugh SCher

Hugh SCher

As Parliament considers the implications of the landmark Supreme Court decision striking down the ban on assisted suicide, it must consider implementing the “notwithstanding clause” if it intends to protect vulnerable Canadians, says Toronto human rights and constitutional lawyer Hugh Scher.

The high court weighed in on the controversial topic in its much-anticipated ruling Feb. 6, which addressed a constitutional challenge to Canada’s assisted suicide law heard Oct. 15, 2014. It struck down the ban on providing a doctor-assisted suicide to mentally competent people experiencing an "irremediable'' condition, illness or disability and who are experiencing subjectively intolerable physical or psychological suffering. 

The SCC gave Parliament one year to change the law so the present ban on assisted suicide remains in place.

The case began with a lawsuit filed by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in 2011, seeking to allow assisted suicide and euthanasia under certain circumstances.

Link to the full article

Appeal dismissed in BC normal feeding case

This article was published by Advocate Daily on March 3, 2015.

Hugh Scher

Hugh Scher

By Hugh Scher, EPC Legal Counsel

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has dismissed a request from the family of an 83-year-old woman that their mother no longer be given nourishment or liquids by staff members at the nursing home where she resides, says Toronto health and human rights lawyer Hugh Scher.

In Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society 2015 BCCA 91, Justice Mary Newbury agreed with a lower court judge, ruling that the woman, who has advanced Alzheimer’s disease, is exercising her consent when she opens her mouth to accept food and water, despite her family’s position that it was her wish while she was mentally capable that she not be fed in her current condition.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and EPC – BC, represented by Scher and Geoff Cowper QC, were intervenors in the case at trial and on appeal.

“I recognize the terribly difficult situation in which Mrs. Bentley’s family find themselves and I appreciate the disappointment they must feel in being unable to comply with what they believe to have been her wishes and what they believe still to be her wishes,” writes Newbury. 
“It is a grave thing, however, to ask or instruct caregivers to stand by and watch a patient starve to death. It should come as no surprise that a court of law will be assiduous in seeking to ascertain and give effect to the wishes of the patient in the ‘here and now’, even in the face of prior directives, whether clear or not," says the decision.

Link to the full article

The Bentley case of a BC woman who is being fed normally, to be decided today

 By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) hopes that the BC Court of Appeal will decide not to hear the case of a BC woman, who is living with dementia and being fed normally. Mrs. Bentley is not being fed by a feeding tube, she is not force fed and she continues to swallow normally. 

On February 3, 2014; Justice Greyall of the BC Supreme Courtdecided that Normal Feeding is basic personal care and not medical treatment in the Bentley case. The court recognized that there is an obligation to provide basic personal care, whereas medical treatment is optional.

EPC intervened in this case because we agree that normal feeding by spoon and cup to be basic normal care. The fact that Mrs. Bentley willing eats and swallows normally, that the decision by Justice Greyall is correct. EPC also recognizes that people who require assisted feeding will be negatively affected if Greyall's decision is overturned.

Link to the full article

For more information contact:

Hugh Scher, EPC legal counsel (Toronto): 416-816-6115 or hugh@sdlaw.ca

Dr Will Johnston, Chair EPC - BC (Vancouver): 604-220-2042 or willjohnston@shaw.ca

Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director (London): 519-851-1434 or info@epcc.ca

BC Supreme Court sides with nursing home in spoon feeding case

This article was published by Advocate Daily on February 10, 2015.

   Hugh Scher

   Hugh Scher

By Hugh Scher 

(Link to the EPC factum)

Oral nutrition – like spoon feeding – should not be considered health care or medical treatment, but rather seen as basic personal care and support, says Toronto health and human rights lawyer Hugh Scher, who recently advanced this position at the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

In Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society, 2014 BCSC 165 (CanLII), the family of an 84-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s disease sought an order requesting that she no longer be given nourishment or liquids by staff members at The Maplewood Seniors Care Society, where the woman resides. The family stated it was their mother’s wish while she was mentally capable that she not be fed in her current condition, reads the decision.

The care centre, the Fraser Health Authority, and the Province of British Columbia opposed the petition, along with the intervenor, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition –  BC, represented by Scher.

The B.C. court sided with the care centre, ruling the woman is capable of making the decision to accept oral nutrition and hydration and is “providing her consent through her behaviour when she accepts nourishment and liquids.”

The Supreme Court ruled spoon feeding is “a form of personal care, not health care,” and “withdrawing oral nutrition and hydration for an adult that is not capable of making that decision would constitute neglect within the meaning of the Adult Guardianship Act.”

Link to the full article