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. 

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 in Belgium: A subtle but real form of coercion

This article was published on the Vivre dans la Dignitè (Living with Dignity) website.

Steenhout picture

A recent visit to a nursing home in Belgium reveals that residents are bombarded with the idea that euthanasia is a good choice. It was the "fortnight on 'end of life'". An admittedly important subject, but which must be discussed in a balanced way. Here, at the opening of the event, a video was presented, biased in favour of euthanasia. The rest of the program isn't objective either.

Under the pretense of informing residents, they plant the idea that euthanasia is a good solution. But nowhere is a balanced view presented in the program: they do not speak of options for life; they only speak of the choice of death.

We were told that most residents feel quite lonely. They no longer have friends. Their family does not come to visit them, or rarely. Even friendships formed at the rest home go out when friendslose their mobility or die. The sense of isolation is very strong for a majority of the residents of such nursing homes.

The schedule of this "fortnight on end of life" is displayed at the entrance of the residence, and also in the elevator and on each floor. This is part of the social activities of the residence. Not having very much to do, residents attend almost all of these social activities. The term "captive audience" comes to mind.

It is a form of subtle and very effective coercion. Nobody forces the individual to make that "choice." It's not like they twisted their arm, or that they held a gun to their head. No, nothing as obvious.

Yet, requests for euthanasia follow one another.

Link to the full article

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition challenges Quebec euthanasia law

By Hugh Scher, Legal Counsel - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Hugh Scher

Hugh Scher

Québec’s landmark law allowing euthanasia contravenes Canadian criminal homicide laws and represents a dangerous step towards a patchwork quilt of provincial regulation of serious criminal conduct, which is why the issue must be handled federally, says Toronto health, human rights and constitutional lawyer Hugh Scher.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), represented by Scher, was granted leave to intervene in a constitutional challenge brought by the Physicians Alliance Against Euthanasia and Vivre Dans La Dignite, Living With Dignity, against both the federal and Québec provincial governments arguing Québec’s law, which was adopted last summer and will go into effect in December 2015, is stepping on federal jurisdiction by undercutting sections of the Criminal Code that outlaw assisted suicide and euthanasia and by attempting to define the intentional killing of patients by doctors as healthcare.

The proposed safeguards in the law are discriminatory and violate ss. 7 and 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, says an affidavit filed by the Coalition.

“Any change to decriminalize euthanasia is properly the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada, as it is in its pith and substance a question of criminal law,” says the court document. “The federal law is and should be paramount in order to ensure certainty, universality and equal benefit and protection of the criminal law across Canada.”

Link to the full article.

Pro-euthanasia attack from all fronts

By Vivre dans la Dignite

The pro-euthanasia activists pulled out all the stops today in an undisguised bid to influence the Supreme Court judges as they prepare to hear the Carter case next week.

First of all they present another survey, said to have found that a majority of Canadians wants doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients. It’s not the first time this claim has been made. Without going into the questionable technique of using a members-only survey site that gives rewards for answering their surveys, the questions are slanted toward pro-euthanasia answers and are based on the unproven assumption that safeguards to prevent abuse exist. On the contrary, the evidence that safeguards do not protect vulnerable persons from abuse, in countries where euthanasia or assisted suicide is legal, is constantly growing.

The longer legislation is in place, the more abuse of the law happens. We prepared an infographic that shows some of the known cases of abuse as of December 2013. Since that time, Belgium agreed to grant euthanasia to a prisoner who preferred to die than to serve his life sentence, the Netherlands released a report stating that 42 people who had mental illnesses and were non-terminally ill were euthanized, and an elderly couple announced they were going to use assisted suicide to die together because they feared loneliness if the other one died first.

Link to the full article

The useless death of Yvan Tremblay

By Nic Steenhout - The Director of Vivre Dans la Dignité (Living with Dignity) in Quebec

                   Nic Steenhout

                   Nic Steenhout

We mourn the death of Yvan Tremblay, a man with disabilities who committed suicide rather than be forced out of his apartment on September 14. Isabelle Maréchal describes the situation well: 

"He decided to end his life because he could no longer deal with an inhuman system."

For 10 years, he lived in adapted housing. The managers of the building where he was staying expelled him because of new safety regulations imposed by the government. Apparently, he could not stay there because it would be impossible to evacuate him in case of fire. If he did not leave by himself, Mr. Tremblay would have been placed in a much smaller home, without even a kitchen. No space for his things. His options were drastically reduced.

Link to the full article