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  Living With Dignity Newsletter
  Vol. 13, December 2016

A Word from the Director

The year 2016 ends as it began: with challenges and opportunities!

First of all, as promised in its legislation, the federal government announced that it has officially launched studies to examine the possibility of extending its criteria (already!). Thus, as of December 2018, euthanasia and assisted suicide could be requested via advance directives, as well as by children and people with mental illness (>>). It goes without saying that we will actively participate in public debates to prevent these dangerous extensions, and work to raise awareness among the public and leaders about these issues that are crucial to the future of our society.

On another note, at the beginning of the month, we saw a very encouraging letter in the La Presse newspaper (>>). Signed by more than thirty physicians, the letter asserted that the vast majority of physicians in Quebec are still opposed to euthanasia. Indeed, in a letter sent to their physicians, the Professional Services Directorate of a Montreal hospital told them of the “need [for] additional physicians for medically assisted death” because there would be only "a few physicians who have given their consent to participate in this process." It is proof that nothing is a foregone conclusion, and so we must not give up!

Another note to motivate us at the end of 2016: let us underline these two important victories in Ohio, in the United States (>>) (>>) and in South Africa (>>), where medically assisted suicide was rejected following proposals to legalize it.

Finally, at this time of the year, I would like to thank you warmly and individually for your support and your involvement throughout 2016. Your words of encouragement, financial contributions, and actions on the ground have given us the impetus to continue this relentless struggle to protect our society and all vulnerable people from the perverse effects of euthanasia. 

With your support, Living with Dignity was cited 59 times in the media in 2016; we also gave 39 presentations, either to government committees or to the general public; and we have published or participated in the publication of some twenty texts, whether in the form of articles or contributions to books.

Many challenges await us again in 2017, but for the moment, let me just wish you a very Merry Christmas and a new year filled with peace, love, and health for you and all your loved ones.

Rest well, and come back with renewed strength in 2017!

In solidarity,


Aubert MARTIN, executive director, Living with Dignity


News in Quebec

  • November 29, 2016: A report accidentally released to the National Assembly reported troubling practices in the provinces CHSLDs. (>>)
  • November 29, 2016: According to the latest publicly available data, 28 requests for assisted suicide were administered in Estrie in 2016 to date. (>>)

  • December 9, 2016: Health minister Barrette presents Bill 130; a bill that would require doctors to perform hospital duties or risk facing a disciplinary committee. (>>)


News in Canada

  • November 11, 2016: According to a qualitative study on assisted suicide, many physicians are uncomfortable with being involved in the processing requests for assisted suicide. (>>)

  • November 21, 2016: Two hospitals in Winnipeg decide not to provide physician-assisted suicide and will transfer patients to other facilities. (>>)

  • December 5, 2016: According to a national report, nearly 250,000 elderly Canadians have been financially abused. (>>)

  • December 6, 2016: The professional associations of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, lawyers, notaries and social workers all urge the Quebec Minister of Justice to quickly refer the federal law on assisted suicide to the court of appeals. (>>)

  • December 11, 2016: Nurses in Alberta are authorized to provide medically assisted suicide. (>>)

  • December 12, 2016: Demand for medically assisted death continues to rise in Alberta. The province had been averaging 2 to 4 deaths per week from June to September, but that rate has since gone up to about 3 to 5 per week. (>>) (>>)

  • December 13, 2016: The Government of Canada announces an independent study on medically assisted suicide which will review issues related to requests by mature minors, advance requests, and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition. (>>) (>>)


Living with Dignity in the media (English and French)

  • Entrevue à la radio à l'émission "On n'est pas du monde": Aubert Martin commente un article du Devoir sur les soins palliatifs. Écouter l’émission >>

  • Quebec’s euthanasia deaths three times higher than expected under new law: an interview featuring Aubert Martin. Read article >>

  • Quebec euthanasia triple predictions amid abuse worries: an interview featuring Aubert Martin. Read article >>



  • Le désastre de l’euthanasie: dans une lettre d'opinion cosignée par 35 médecins, le Dr Nicholas Newman rappelle avec des faits que la vaste majorité des médecins du Québec s’oppose toujours à l'euthanasie. Lire l’article >>
  • L'euthanasie au Québec: un "geste faussement qualifié de soin" qui "impacte le médecin qui le pratique". Lire l'article >>


Relevant Documents (French and English)

  • Annual activity report of the Commission sur les Soins de Fin de Vie: from December 10, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Direct PDF link >>
  • Rapport annuel d’activités de la Commission sur les Soins de Fin de Vie: du 10 décembre 2015 au 30 juin 2016. Lien direct en PDF >>
  • Into the Light: National Survey on the mistreatment of older Canadians: A major study conducted in Canada found that nearly 700,000 elderly Canadians had been subject to some form of abuse. Direct link to PDF >>
  • MENTAL HEALTH (to be considered in the context of the possible extension of the criteria of the federal law)
  • Protecting the mentally ill: ‘Best system on earth’ is impossible to manage: An interview with psychiatrist Gilles Chamberland regarding whether the provisions of Bill P-38, which establishes the conditions for compelling those who may represent a danger to themselves and/or others to receive psychiatric evaluation, are too narrow. Read more >>

  • Barrette pense à faciliter les hospitalisations : Le ministre Gaétan Barrette n’écarte pas la possibilité de modifier la loi P-38 afin de faciliter l’hospitalisation, l’évaluation psychiatrique et le traitement des personnes aux prises avec des problèmes psychiatriques. D’autres s’inquiètent que les médecins abusent déjà de la loi d’exception en vigueur. Lire l’article >>

  • Barrette s’en remet à un rapport attendu depuis cinq ans : Gaétan Barrette s’est dit ouvert mercredi à l’idée de modifier la loi P-38 pour permettre qu’une personne subisse une évaluation psychiatrique contre son gré. Sauf que le ministre renvoie du même coup la balle à un comité… dont le rapport attend d’être déposé depuis cinq ans et qui n’avait pas le mandat de revoir les fondements de la loi. Lire l’article >>

  • Quatre accusations… et beaucoup de questions : Deux accusations de meurtres prémédités, deux autres de tentatives de meurtre : Frédérick Gingras, auteur d’une cavale meurtrière dimanche soir, subira une évaluation psychiatrique à l’Institut Pinel afin de déterminer s’il est apte à subir un procès. Mais son dossier soulève une série de questions sur la capacité des milieux de la santé et de la justice à prévenir ce genre d’événements. Lire l’article >>


Take action in December

  • SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS so that we can continue to speak on your behalf:


  • Support Project Value by liking their Facebook page (>>). This initiative offers videos made by people with disabilities to challenge the popular idea of what it means to have a disability. Each video begins with a description of the diagnosis and prognosis of the person and a description of their functional limitations. Then the person talks about their quality and value of life beyond their condition. Share!


Press Review (English and French)

  • CBC’s attack on anti-euthanasia hospitals is ‘selective outrage’: Having refused to euthanize patients, two Winnipeg hospitals found themselves facing criticism from an ethicist on the CBC. According to some, this is a case of selective outrage on the part of the CBC. Read more >>
  • Death on Demand True Euthanasia Movement Goal: While most euthanasia/assisted suicide promoters pretend the movement is mostly about ending the suffering of those with terminal illnesses–a demonstrably fake limitation to get people to swallow the cultural hemlock of “death with dignity”– Philip Nitschke, Australia’s most candid euthanasia advocate, bluntly states euthanasia should be available to all without regard to cause. Read more >>

  • The word of the year in Quebec politics: Inspired by the Brexit and Trump campaigns, the Oxford Dictionaries chose the adjective “post-truth” as their word of the year. They defined it as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” However, there may be a more appropriate word to describe the attitude of the Quebec Liberal Party this past year. Read more >>

  • Palliative care bill is a must to offset assisted suicide: The imbalance of seeing assisted suicide rather than comprehensive care as “mercy” will only be corrected when palliative care becomes a cornerstone of Canadian health care. Read more >>

  • Elder Abuse, Power of Attorney/Substitute Decision making: Elder abuse in Canada is a serious problem and, with euthanasia and assisted suicide legalized in Canada, the “right to die” may be determined for the elderly. Read more >>

  • ERs in crisis as resources diverted to family medicine 'super clinics': Emergency-room doctors in Montreal are accusing the Quebec Health Department of “cannibalizing” scarce ER resources as the government shifts more family physicians to so-called super clinics. Read more >>

  • Wesley Smith was right. Assisted suicide is not limited to physical suffering: An article written by Wesley Smith argued that assisted suicide laws in the US are too broad and allow people without a terminal illness to receive the procedure. It was criticized for being inaccurate yet the same critic freely admitted that the laws do not require a show of physical suffering. Read more >>

  • Converting the miserabilists: Philip Nitschke’s militant efforts to promote euthanasia and assisted suicide may be the product of a failure to address a key question: is life worth living? Read more >>

  • Netherlands offers euthanasia for alcoholics: The ever-expanding circle of eligibility for euthanasia in the Netherlands now includes alcoholism. Writing in the Dutch magazine Linda, journalist Marcel Langedijk describes the life and death of his alcoholic brother Mark. Read more >>

  • Montreal archbishop: ‘Physician-assisted suicide plants seed of death in democracy’: Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal has been an outspoken critic of the province’s “Medical Aid in Dying” Act. In an interview, he comments on the Church’s perspective on assisted suicide. Read more >>

  • Quebec no longer best in Canada in medical wait times: A new study suggests that Quebec has gone from reporting the shortest wait times for medical treatment in Canada to the middle of the pack over the past two decades. Read more >>

  • Quebec has it backward when it comes to managing crowded ERs: Eddy Lang has cared for the sick and injured in hospital emergency rooms in Montreal and Calgary, and he doesn’t hesitate for a second when asked which city has fared better in dealing with the ER crisis. Read more >>

  • World will regret euthanasia spread, bioethicist says: According to one of Canada’s pre-eminent bioethicists, the onset of state-sanctioned euthanasia represents a “seismic shift” in values that the world will someday regret. Read more >>

  • Notre société produit de plus en plus de solitudes et pousse aux demandes d’euthanasie : Les raisons invoquées pour demander l’euthanasie en Belgique et au Pays Bas « nous choquent » : « peur de la solitude », refus d’entrer dans une maison de retraite, anorexie... Le recours de plus en plus fréquent à l’euthanasie « pour des personnes atteintes non seulement de maladies psychiques mais aussi de souffrances d’ordre psychiatrique » ne laisse pas indifférent. Lire l’article >>

  • Fin de vie : "Même aux dernières heures, les changements identitaires sont encore possibles pour la personne" : Plusieurs études concernant le « temps du mourir » commencent à voir le jour, notamment de la part de professionnels des soins palliatifs. Une étude de Axelle van Lander, psychologue en soins palliatifs au CHU de Clermont-Ferrand rejoint ce groupe. Lire l’article >>

  • L’OMS appelle à respecter les personnes âgées : L’OMS dénonce les « conséquences du ‘racisme anti-personnes âgées’ », à l’occasion de la journée mondiale des personnes âgées, le 1er octobre. Sur plus de 83 000 personnes réparties dans 57 pays, 60% estime que les personnes âgées ne sont pas respectées, constate l’OMS. Les résultats sont particulièrement mauvais dans les pays les plus riches. Lire l’article >>

  • Les directives anticipées : du désir d'autonomie au déni de dépendance : Les directives anticipées ont été créées par la loi Léonetti, dispositif renforcé par la loi Claeys-Léonetti. La psychologue Delphine Teles propose une réflexion critique sur les enjeux et les conséquences de cette possibilité d'anticiper sa fin de vie. Lire l’article >>

  • Les soins de fin de vie améliorés au centre hospitalier d’Amos : Le centre hospitalier d’Amos dispose maintenant d’un salon des familles et d’une chambre de soins palliatifs. Il a en fait l’inauguration en soulignant l’apport de la famille du Dr Alain Dubois, décédé en 2014. Lire l’article >>

  • 25,000 $ pour deux nouvelles chambres de soins palliatifs : Deux chambres de soins palliatifs, aménagées au coût de 25 000 $, seront inaugurées sous peu à l’hôpital de Baie-Saint-Paul, qui sera démoli dans moins de deux ans. Lire l’article >>

  • Barrette invité à passer une nuit avec une infirmière et ses patients : La présidente de la Fédération interprofessionnelle de la Santé (FIQ), Régine Laurent, invite le ministre Gaétan Barrette à venir passer une nuit avec une infirmière et ses 120 patients. Lire l’article >>


Euthanasia and assisted suicide news around the world (English and French)

  • AUSTRALIA: Euthanasia activist demands euthanasia without restrictions: Australian euthanasia activist, Philip Nitschke, has established a political action group to pressure governments to legalize euthanasia without restrictions. Read more >>

  • AUSTRALIA: Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide: A document from the Australian Medical Association outlines its position on end of life care, and on euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Read more >>

  • AUSTRALIA: Philip Nitschke launches 'militant' campaign for unrestricted adult access to euthanasia: The voluntary euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke announced the launch of Exit Action on Sunday morning, describing the new organisation as a subgroup of Exit International, which campaigns, runs workshops and distributes information on voluntary euthanasia. Read more >>

  • AUSTRALIE : Le vice-président d'Exit attaqué en justice pour "incitation au suicide" : Pierre Beck, le vice-président d’Exit, est doublement attaqué en justice. Après une première plainte déposée pour « omission de prêter secours », il fait aujourd’hui l’objet d’un complément de plainte pour « incitation au suicide ». Lire l’article >>

  • BELGIQUE : La commission de contrôle de l'euthanasie publie son 7e rapport : En Belgique, le 7e rapport de la Commission chargée du contrôle et de l’application de la loi destiné aux Chambres législatives vient d’être publié. Lire l’article >>

  • COLORADO, USA: Physician-assisted suicide is too risky: Residents of Colorado recently approved physician-assisted suicide by a margin of 2-to-1. Yet the full ramifications of this decision must be considered. Read more >>

  • FRANCE : la fillette dans le coma que les médecins voulaient "débrancher" se réveille : À Marseille, la petite fille d’un an, plongée dans un coma artificiel et sous assistance respiratoire à la suite d’un virus foudroyant, se serait réveillée, selon son père. Lire l’article >>

  • NETHERLANDS : l'Euthanasie autorisée pour une personne alcoolique : Les Pays-Bas vient d'autoriser l’accès à l’euthanasie à un quarantenaire, au motif qu'il ne supportait plus son addiction à l'alcool. Lire l’article >>

  • NETHERLANDS: Dutch euthanasia law is used to kill alcoholic: A 41-year-old man has ended his life by fatal injection rather than carry on living as an alcoholic, in a radical new extension of Holland’s euthanasia regime. Read more >>

  • OHIO, USA: Ohio passes bill making assisted suicide a felony: The Ohio Senate passed a bill making assisting in a suicide a felony. It has become the fifth state to recently strengthen legal protections against the adoption of assisted suicide. Read more >>

  • OREGON & WASHINGTON, USA: Newspaper Uncovers Abuse of Assisted Suicide Laws and Pressure to Euthanize Patients: The Des Moines Register newspaper uncovered significant problems with the practice of assisted suicide in Oregon and Washington State. They learned that the data is incomplete, that there are missing reports (under-reporting) and that the laws are not designed to be effectively monitored. Read more >>

  • OREGON & WASHINGTON, USA: Some Oregon and Washington State Assisted Suicide Abuses and Complications: Under Oregon and Washington State’s lax oversight, these are some of the documented abuses and complications that have come to light. Read more >>

  • OREGON, USA: The real story about safeguards around assisted suicide in Oregon: One of the most frequently repeated claims by proponents of assisted suicide laws is that there is “no evidence or data” to support any claim that these laws are subject to abuse, and that there has not been “a single documented case of abuse or misuse” in the 18 reported years. These claims are demonstrably false. Read more >>

  • PAYS-BAS : Un père de famille de 41 ans euthanasié à sa demande parce qu’alcoolique : Aux Pays-Bas, un homme de 41 ans a été euthanasié pour mettre fin à une longue lutte contre sa dépendance à l'alcoolisme. Un acte rendu possible par la loi néerlandaise, qui pourrait même élargir prochainement les conditions de recours à la fin de vie assistée. Lire l’article >>

  • SOUTH AFRICA: Supreme Court rejects euthanasia in South Africa: The Supreme Court of South Africa rejected euthanasia and assisted suicide by overturning a lower court decision that approved death of Robin Stransham-Ford. Read more >>

  • SUISSE : En Suisse, plus de deux personnes par jour ont recours au suicide assisté : En 2014, l'OFS a enregistré 742 suicides assistés de personnes domiciliées en Suisse, soit plus d'un décès sur 100. Le nombre de suicides assistés a progressé de 26% sur un an et n'a cessé d'augmenter depuis 2008. Lire l’article >>

  • SUISSE : Exit, révélateur d’un malaise de société : A Genève, le cas de deux frères s’opposant au désir de suicide de leur aîné relance les débats sur le suicide assisté. Et fait surgir la tension entre devoir d’assistance et droit à l’autodétermination. Lire l’article >>

  • UNITED KINGDOM: Response to news of dementia being leading cause of death: Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are now the leading cause of death in England and Wales. This means that for the first time, more people are dying of dementia than heart disease. Read more >>



Videos to watch (French and English)

  • Documentary on Euthanasia in Belgium: What is the role of law and politics when it comes to shaping a culture that values life at all stages? The Brussels office of ADF International launched the campaign “Affirming Dignity”. It features a short documentary and a series of videos raising this and other questions concerning euthanasia laws in Belgium and the Netherland. Watch video >>

  • Documentaire sur l'euthanasie en Belgique: Quel est le rôle du droit et de la politique lorsqu'il s'agit de construire une culture valorisant la vie à chaque instant ? Le bureau bruxellois d'ADF International a lancé la campagne « Affirmer la dignité ». Plusieurs vidéos de court métrage traitent de cette question de société et demandent un nouveau débat sur ce qu’est la mort dans la dignité. Regarder la vidéo >>

  • Euthanasia in Belgium: Theo Boer, Professor of Health Care Ethics. Watch video >>

  • Euthanasia in Belgium: Eric Vermeer, Nurse Ethicist and Psychotherapist. Watch video >>

  • Euthanasia in Belgium: Brigitte De Terwagne, Infirmière en soins palliatifs. Watch video >>

  • Euthanasia in Belgium: Catherine Dopchie, Médecin Oncologue. Watch video >>


To make a donation is... to take action!

Our organization would not exist without the support of people who share our vision of human solidarity and our mission to promote good palliative care for all. With your contribution, we can act on your behalf by advocating in person (conferences, panels), in the media (interviews, articles, press releases), and on social networks (blogs, website, Facebook, Twitter).

Thus, by contributing, you are directly participating in defending future generations, especially vulnerable people, threatened by euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

Thank you for your active support!