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  Living With Dignity Newsletter
  Vol. 5, April 2016

A Word from the Director

The federal government will soon table its bill to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia across Canada. Unfortunately, reports of the groups mandated to "advise" the federal government are all pointing in the wrong direction: to facilitating access to suicide for the greatest number of people.

March has been for us a month of preparation to follow up on this legislation which should be made public in the coming days. We have been in conversation with several partners; we participated in a conference in Ottawa to raise awareness and inform MPs by presenting the major issues on euthanasia and assisted suicide; and we worked to increase our technical efficiency and our public impact in order to maximize our future efforts.

The battle is certainly not over yet: on the contrary, it is only beginning. We must continue our efforts to make our voice heard and above all, we must work to provide solutions for people who are suffering and do not want to be abandoned.

News in Canada

  • March 1st: A Calgary woman receives a legal exemption to die with the intervention of two doctors. She became the first person in Canada outside of Quebec to be allowed to die that way.
  • March 15: a patient in Manitoba is granted the right to die by euthanasia ("medical aid in dying").
  • March 18: a first Ontarian dies by euthanasia with the approval of the Court.
  • March 30: the palliative care centers of New Brunswick announce that they do not intend to offer "medical aid in dying" to their patients. They point out that their "objectives are quality of life, pain relief and helping people live as well as possible until the end of their life" but "to hasten someone's death is not part of [their] work." Read French article >>

Take action in April

  • Support Vulnerable Persons Standard (NPV >>) by filling the boxes at the bottom of this page >>. This initiative aims to bring together all those who have at heart the protection of the most vulnerable among us. We encourage you to read the impressive letter by Jean Vanier published in the Globe and Mail: Read the letter >>
  • Sign the petition against euthanasia for psychiatric illness: sign the petition here >>

Press Review (French and English)

  • How did we shift from kill the pain to kill the patient: Cristina Alarcon, a Vancouver pharmacist, talks about freedom of conscience and the illusion of “pure autonomy”. Read article >>
  • Some Quebec doctors let suicide victims die though treatment was available: Quebec’s debate over physician-assisted death may have contributed to the ambiguity. “It’s possible it has confused doctors a little bit. Patients are being given the right to no longer live, and doctors are even being asked to help them in certain cases.” Read article >>
  • “The Vulnerable”: Who Are They: beautiful article by Pr Catherine Frazee about vulnerability. “To be vulnerable, quite simply, is to be without defence.” Read article >>
  • We must speak for those who can't: People are afraid of palliative care; many refuse early referral, which results in protracted and avoidable pain and suffering. Some even suspect that pain medication might inadvertently hasten their death (it will not). Requiring palliative care services to include medical assistance in dying would do little to assuage those fears. Read article >>
  • The UN Special Rapporteur in Favor of a Right to Conscientious Objection in the Context of Abortion and Euthanasia: independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council defends and promotes freedom of religion or belief worldwide. Read article >>
  • WHO Definition of Palliative Care: palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness. Read complete definition >>
  • Hospitals should be able to opt out of doctor-assisted death, expert says: she fears there could be pressure on health professionals to use doctor assisted death to free up hospital beds if patients have consented in advance.  “I am calling it death by doctor, not death with the assistance of a doctor, but death when the doctor decides you are going to die,” she said. “I don’t think health professionals want that as an approach.” Read article >>
  • ‘Unthinkable in the beginning’: the dynamics of euthanasia laws: In the beginning euthanasia was seen as a last resort in a situation of extreme physical suffering. Now, increasingly, euthanasia is considered to be a patient's right and is considered by some even to be a fashionable death." Read article >>
  • Michel Pepin, architecte du minuscule: atteint de sclérose en plaques, le poète et «bum» repenti veut changer le regard des autres sur la maladie. Lire l’article >>
  • Jusqu’au bout de soi : le temps a enseigné à Michel Pepin, atteint de sclérose en plaques, qu’il est possible d’être heureux en faisant les deuils de son corps. «Je crois que je peux encore apprendre de nouvelles façons de vivre». Lire l’article >>
  • Fin de vie : « Nous devons veiller à ne pas renforcer un idéal selon lequel seule une vie indépendante a un sens et de la valeur » : Jean Vanier invite à veiller à ne pas voiler ou oublier la dignité innée de ceux qui sont vulnérables. Lire l’article >>
  • Aide à mourir et rationnement des soins : Les Québécois qui craignaient la pente savonneuse vers un relâchement des conditions d’admissibilité auront bientôt la triste satisfaction de clamer «je vous l’avais dit». Qu’on se le dise, le rationnement des soins de santé et l’euthanasie ne feront jamais­­ bon ménage. Lire l’article >>

Videos to watch (French and English)

  • Vulnerable: The Euthanasia Deception: Documentary promo of an educational outreach initiative from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition coming in June 2016 with moving and troubling testimonies on the euthanasia experience in Belgium: Watch video >> 
  • Interview with Dr. Roger Ghoche, palliative care physician, on assisted suicide and euthanasia. Watch video >>
  • Interview with Dr. Catherine Ferrier, President of the Physicians' Alliance against Euthanasia, on Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia Watch video >>
  • Interview with Alex Schadenberg, President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Watch video >>
  • Surviving the diagnosis: disability Rights Advocate Mark Davis Pickup (Beaumont, Alberta) talks about his clouded judgement at the time of his being diagnosed with MS. Mark's story will be featured in Vulnerable: The Euthanasia Deception. 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!