Vol 17

Q u i - v i v e   

  Living With Dignity Newsletter
  Vol. 17

A Word from the Director

The month of April ended with the publication of the first federal interim report on euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

According to the report, there were 970 people who committed suicide with the assistance of a physician across the country. Nearly half of the euthanasia cases (463) occurred in Quebec during the first year of the Act Respecting End-of-Life Care, while the other half (504 cases of euthanasia and 3 assisted suicides) occurred in the rest of Canada during the first six months of the federal law - from the 17th of June to the 31st of December 2016.

There is little evidence that allows us to analyse the human aspect of these statistics, except that the majority of cases (57%) concern people with cancer, and that the people who were euthanized were, on average, 72 years old. In fact, we agree with what the Coalition for Healthcare and Conscience said recently in an interview, when its spokesperson stressed the need to know why people make this fatal decision, beyond the “underlying medical circumstances.”

Indeed, it is only by questioning the deep motives behind these provoked deaths that we will be able to avoid falling into the trap of a Stalinist analysis based solely on impersonal statistics. It would be a great scandal to maintain collective ignorance with a mountain of numbers that would prevent us from seeing that our system condones the medical suicide of many people who simply feel abandoned, ill-accompanied, or whose pain is poorly treated. As a society, we must not lose sight of the fact that the desire to die is only the symptom of an ill-being and not a solution to the problems that are at its origin.

Be assured that Living with Dignity will continue to make the voices heard of those who want to build a caring society rather than one that facilitates the death of those who are needing help. We count on your support, and we encourage you to participate in the debate by calling open lines, writing to journalists, or contacting your MPs, and by writing your comments under articles that defend our vision.

I thank you in advance for your support.

In solidarity,


Aubert MARTIN, executive director, Living with Dignity


News in Quebec

  • April 14: Quebec is the first province to consider the controversial proposal of euthanasia by advance consent. (>>)


News in Canada


  • April 2, 2017: Ontario’s health minister announces that the government will establish a new service to help people get access to euthanasia and assisted suicide (>>)
  • April 6, 2017: Physicians in Ontario express their concern with Bill 84 for its failure to protect the conscience rights of doctors in Ontario. (>>) (>>)
  • April 17, 2017: mediatized suicide of young Adam Maier-Clayton, an activist for the legalization of euthanasia for people with mental illness (>>)
  • April 22, 2017: pro and anti assisted suicide advocates call for Nova Scotia’s Health Authority to be more transparent in releasing stats on those who apply to end their lives. (>>)
  • April 27, 2017: the Federal government publishes a first interim report on medical assistance in dying (euthanasia and assisted suicide), in which it states that during the first six months of the new Canadian law, from June 17 to December 31, 2016, a total of 907 people have died by euthanasia or assisted suicide (>>)


Living with Dignity in the media (English and French)

  • Vieillir n'est pas une maladie: entretien avec Aubert Martin, publié dans le magazine Le Verbe aux pages 16 à 18 (>>)
  • Home care agencies forced into becoming euthanasia facilitators: an interview with Aubert Martin and Alex Schadenberg (­­­­­­­­>>)


Recommended readings and documents (English and French)

  • Pays-Bas : accroissement de 10% des cas d’euthanasie en 2016 : un extrait d'un rapport de Les Comités Régionaux de l’euthanasie de 2016. Sur un total de 6091 cas, 77 ont nécessité un supplément d’information. Pour 40 cas, les comités ont invité les médecins impliqués à fournir des explications. Il en est ressorti que, dans 10 cas, les médecins n’avaient pas respecté les conditions légales. Lire le document PDF >>


Take Action in April

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


  • Purchase the Euthanasia Deception Documentary, a thought-provoking, emotionally-gripping film that will impact hearts and minds by effectively dismantling the fallacies of euthanasia proponents’ appeals to compassion and autonomy. APurchase or rent documentary here >>
  • 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)

  • A life passionately lived: Edward Bennett, Yale’s first quadriplegic graduate, has passed away after a passionately lived life. Read more >>
  • Former Warden: Arkansas Execution Rush Is Dangerous and Risky: The Arkansas government is preparing to execute eight death-row prisoners in a ten-day span, before one of its lethal-injection drugs expires. But an additional set of trauma and peril must be accounted for as well: The rapid schedule will put an extraordinary burden on the men and women required by the state to carry out this most solemn act. Read more >>
  • Assisted death bill must accommodate docs' faith: Other provinces across Canada are finding ways to protect the conscience of health-care workers as well as respect patient decisions with regard to euthanasia/assisted suicide, but Ontario’s Bill 84 totally lacks this kind of protection. Read more >>
  • Assisted Suicide Dehumanizes Suffering, Opponents Argue: Many doctors, professors, and Congressmen spoke out against assisted suicide during a Heritage Foundation event. Read more >>
  • Portraits: Balfour Mount: The father of palliative care in Canada, physician Balfour Mount on the legacy of Cicely Saunders, the start of palliative care, and the true meaning of medical aid in dying. Read more >>
  • Canadian doctors should not be forced to refer for euthanasia: Although Canada has recognised a legal right to euthanasia, a number of loose ends need to be tidied up in the laws of the provinces and territories. Amongst these is defining the scope of conscientious objection for doctors who do not want to be associated with euthanasia. Read more >>
  • Commentary: Assisted suicide is an affront to mental illness, not a cure for it: Assisted suicide activists say those with mental illness are being denied the right to die with dignity just as elderly ALS patients were before the Supreme Court struck down the ban on physician-assisted death in 2015. But this idea that suicide is dignified and painless is a dangerous one. Take it from someone who tried and failed. Read more >>
  • Deferring to the Mastery of Death: Hippocrates, Judge Gorsuch, and the Autonomy Fallacy: Ronald Pies reflects on the Hippocratic oath, how it has shaped medical practice, and on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Read more >>
  • Canadian Man With Mental Illness Wants Right to Die: ‘Non-Existence Is Better Than This’: A Canadian man who struggles with dissociative depersonalization disorder, mood disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, and who says he suffers debilitating pain, is seeking the right to die and is expressing his objection that a newly-passed assisted suicide law does not allow those with mental illness to end their life. Read more >>
  • Euthanasia: The stakes are insanely high: in the not-too-distant future we are all going to have to ramp up efforts to fight euthanasia in Canada. Read more >>
  • Physician-Assisted Dying: Is a Patient's Despair Reversible? An interview with Maurie Markman MD on physician-assisted dying. Read more >>
  • Advanced consent fraught with risks: Dr. Catherine Ferrier’s letter to the editor in the Montreal Gazette. “Be careful what powers you give the health minister: He might use them.” Read more >>
  • Right or wrong, Latimer's actions touched off national debate on euthanasia: Robert Latimer has been a polarizing figure — not only in Saskatchewan, but Canada and beyond. The Wilkie-area farmer attracted national and international attention after killing his disabled daughter in what he maintained was an act of mercy. Others called it murder. Read more >>
  • Suicide as a lifestyle choice: A colourful exchange during ABC TV's panel program Q and A recently on the question of euthanasia and assisted suicide drove home to me the stark reality that what we're really talking about here is a lifestyle choice. Read more >>
  • Death without dignity in the nation's capital: The Council of the District of Columbia and the mayor have approved a law allowing physician-assisted suicide. Under Article I of our Constitution, Congress has legislative authority over the district and can block that law. Here are three nonpartisan reasons why it should do so. Read more >>
  • « Tuer », un tourment psychologique pour les bourreaux aux États-Unis : Exécuter un détenu, le « tuer », c'est une expérience « qui ne vous quitte jamais », confie Ron McAndrew. Cet ancien directeur d'une prison de Floride en sait quelque chose, lui qui commençait à en souffrir quand il a quitté son poste en 1998, après huit exécutions. Lire l’article >>
  • Utilisons les bons mots: Il est intéressant de voir comment ceux qui ont le pouvoir peuvent manipuler le citoyen. Même si je suis un expert en soins aux personnes âgées et un expert en soins palliatifs, j’en perds mon latin. Nos politiciens, nos dirigeants et d’autres utilisent des mots pour ne pas dire la vérité, mais aussi pour ne pas mentir. Lire l’article >>
  • Envoyé Spécial démonte le sondage truqué de l’ADMD sur l’euthanasie: Envoyéspécial s'est consacré aux "Secrets des sondages". Après une introduction relative à l'élection présidentielle, les journalistes se penchent sur la question de l'euthanasie et sur un sondage commandé par l' "association pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité" qui donne un résultat de 95% de personnes favorables à l'euthanasie! Lire l’article >>
  • Fin de vie : « toute vie mérite d’être vécue »: Tétraplégique depuis trente-trois ans à la suite d’un « accident vasculaire foudroyant », Maryannick Pavageau « dégage une autorité naturelle, un élan de sympathie qui annihile aussitôt toute bouffée de compassion ou d’apitoiement ». Cette mère de famille « a su transformer la lourdeur de son handicap en porte-étendard de sa cause et de celle de dizaines d’autres tétraplégiques sur les questions de dignité et de fin de vie ». Lire l’article >>
  • La démence n'enlève pas la dignité : Message de Félix Pageau, médecin résident en gériatrie. « La mort prématurée associée à la démence peut être retardée médicalement. Les membres de la famille peuvent avoir besoin de faire leur deuil. L'équipe médicale veut parfois s'assurer d'avoir épuisé toute possibilité d'amélioration. Cela met en évidence l'importance d'éviter l'acharnement thérapeutique. La maladie emporte les gens atteints. La mort est inévitable. Elle n'a pas alors besoin d'être hâtée par l'euthanasie. » Lire l’article >>
  • La nouvelle religion de notre monde meilleur... « Le Bon Dieu devra se faire à l'idée, il n'a plus le monopole sur le moment de la mort. « Il y a même un ex-prêtre qui l'a demandée, l'aide à mourir. Et il était accompagné par deux prêtres... » pouvait-on lire dans le journal Le Soleil. Quelle étrange façon d'apostropher Dieu en personne pour marquer la « révolution tendre » de certaines expériences vécues grâce au recours de l'aide médicale à mourir.  Lire l’article >>
  • Euthanasie pour souffrances psychiques : la pente glissante qui fait basculer ? Fr. Dr. René Stockman, Dr. Marc Calmeyn, Dr. Marc Eneman et Prof. Dr. Herman De Dijn l’analysent d’un point de vue médical, philosophique et croyant, la légitimation de l’euthanasie pour souffrances psychiques et arrivent à la conclusion que l’on emprunte un chemin très dangereux. Lire l’article >>
  • Un premier « mini-village » Alzheimer : Deux entrepreneurs de la région de Québec vont créer dans Lebourgneuf « un mini-village » pour les gens atteints de troubles cognitifs, comme la maladie d'Alzheimer. Leur objectif : offrir à ces personnes une vie similaire à celle avant leur maladie. Lire l’article >>
  • Vieillir dans la dignité : Est-ce qu'on prend bien soin de nos personnes âgées au Québec? Est-ce qu'on les traite avec tout le respect qu'elles méritent? Suzanne Chorzepa, qui tente depuis quatre ans de placer sa mère aveugle et quasi sourde de 99 ans, pense que non. Lire l’article >>


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

  • BELGIUM: Euthanised organ donors could dramatically shorten waitlists in Belgium, say doctors: Several Belgian physicians argue in a recent research letter in JAMA that encouraging the practice of organ donation after euthanasia will help reduce the waitlists for organ donation. Read more >>
  • NETHERLANDS: Dutch doctors reject separate euthanasia rules for ‘completed lives’: Although the wish of some people who are not physically ill to die is palpable, new legislation aimed specifically at such cases would be ‘undesirable’, the KNMG, a Dutch doctors association, said in a statement. Read more >>
  • NETHERLANDS: Number of official cases of euthanasia rise 10% in the Netherlands: The number of official cases of euthanasia in the Netherlands rose 10% last year to 6091 and euthanasia now accounts for 4% of total deaths, according to the regional monitoring boards. Read more >>
  • NEW ZEALAND: Doctors want no part in assisted suicide: An open letter from the World Medical Association and the New Zealand Medical Association pronouncing their opposition to physician-assisted suicide. Read more >>
  • UNITED STATES (COLORADO): New Online Tool Will Support Access to Colorado’s Medical Aid In Dying Law: Several months since voters approved the law giving terminally ill patients in Colorado the legal right to end their lives with medication, a group that backed the law, Compassion and Choices, has launched an online tool to help people identify health systems around the state that allow doctors to prescribe the needed drugs. Read more >>
  • PAYS-BAS : Des directives pour faciliter le don d’organes après euthanasie : Au Pays-Bas, le don d’organes après euthanasie s’organise. Depuis la dépénalisation de l’euthanasie dans ce pays en 2012, 23 cas ont été recensés. Si cette pratique « reste marginale », elle réclame un cadre, qui définisse « comment coordonner le geste de mort et la transplantation dans d’autres corps » pour les « faciliter ». Lire l’article >>
  • PAYS-BAS : Des chiffres officiels en augmentation : Le nombre de cas officiels d’euthanasie aux Pays-Bas a augmenté de 10% en 2016, selon les conseils de surveillance régionaux. Les décès par euthanasie représentent à présent 4% du nombre total de décès. Lire l’article >>


Videos to watch (French and English)

  • The Mother Situation: A short film about euthanasia has won first place at the Tropfest film festival. Watch video >>
  • The Euthanasia Deception: A trailer for the new documentary exploring assisted suicide and euthanasia in Belgium. 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!