In October 2014, CFI Canada advised its members, volunteers and supporters of a National Day of Action and Solidarity with Dying With Dignity, a charitable organization focussed on advancing Canada’s position on physician-assisted death. Our website post from that date may be found at the bottom of this article.
On February 6th, 2015 the Supreme Court of Canada released its judgment in the case of Carter Vs. Canada (see the BC Civil Liberties Association regarding this case) and effectively created a 12-month window for the federal government to draft new legislation on physician-assisted death in Canada.
Recently, Dying With Dignity announced to the media that they had lost their charitable status. There have been many media reports on this story all reiterating some common themes: CRA found that DWD did not fulfill its educational programming. Despite this setback, DWD has not given up on advancing human rights.
You Can Take Action and Be Involved During A Critical Period of Human Rights History in Canada!
Understand The Issues
Two organizations have led this important initiative: BC Civil Liberties Association and Dying With Dignity. CFIC recommends that you follow these organizations throughout 2015 to understand the process.
As a critical thinking inquiry, CFIC also proposes that its members examine “Cradle to the Grave” approaches of the religious community and the healthcare system (first noted in Eric Adriaans post on Canadian Atheist). Religious organizations such as Campaign Life Coalition make it clear that they are interested to control not only members of their religions – but all people from the moment of conception to the end of “natural life”. There’s a striking connection in the language used by health care system to describe its priorities (http://blogs.forward.com/the-arty-semite/185450/a-cradle-to-grave-health-care-system-that-works/, http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blog/cradle-grave). When people are interested to convince an audience, it is important to use common language and connect on values and shared priorities.
CFIC has already asked if religions may be a vector for public health hazards. We’ve also asked our members to respond to the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons consultation on its Professional Obligations and Human Rights Policy. We note that the college has posted a Planning for and Providing Quality End of Life Care document on their website.
Monitor the Process and Contribute Your Perspective
Effective July 2015, the federal government has assigned a 3-person panel to advise on the matter of physician-assisted death. According to a CBC report, “Harvey Max Chochinov, the Canada research chair in palliative care at the University of Manitoba, will head the panel. The other two members are Catherine Frazee, a former co-director of the Ryerson-RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education, and Benoît Pelletier, a University of Ottawa law professor and former Quebec Liberal cabinet minister.”
An FAQ regarding physician assisted dying has been posted by the federal government (http://ep-ce.ca/en/faqs/#q1) which indicates online tools will be developed to seek public input.
The place to obtain information: http://ep-ce.ca/en/
Dying With Dignity and Assisted Dying Media Reports and Articles
CFI Canada Post October 15, 2014
This day has been decades in the making. The 1993 decision in the Sue Rodriguez case upheld the federal law criminalizing members of the health care profession who assist sick and dying Canadians end their lives.
This October, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear compelling testimony in the Carter Challenge in support of medically assisted dying. Everyone is invited to participate in this historic moment.
Dying With Dignity Canada is the largest national organization in our country promoting quality end-of-life choices for Canadians who are grievously ill, have incurable illnesses, and are facing profound suffering before they die.
DWD’s rally in Ottawa is taking place at the Supreme Court of Canada (301 Wellington St, Ottawa)
Time: 12:30 PM
Date: October 15, 2014
Click here for more information about this and other DWD events.