August 19, 2015
Government panels on euthanasia and assisted suicide
On July 17, the federal government announced the creation of an expert panel to examine the February 6th decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter v. Canada which struck down the prohibition on euthanasia and assisted suicide. The Supreme Court gave the federal government one year to enact a legislative regime if it”so chooses”. The newly appointed panel is charged with consulting with stakeholder groups and the Canadian public to provide a response concerning legislative options to the Supreme Court decision. The panel members are Dr. Harvey Chochinov, a psychiatrist and Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Manitoba and Director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit, Catherine Frazee, a disability rights leader and past co- director of the Ryerson-RBC Institute for Disabilities Studies Research and Education and rounding out the panel is Benoit Pelletier, a member of the faculty of law at the University of Ottawa and former member of the National Assembly of Quebec. Dr. Chochinov and Catherine Frazee were both witnesses for the Crown in Carter v. Canada.
You have an opportunity to make your views known to this panel by visiting the consultation website on the web page news.gc.ca/web/article-en. Look for Consultation on legislative options for assisted dying.
Now out of Ontario, comes an announcement from the provincial government that a panel for a Provincial and Territorial Advisory Group to advise on policies and practices concerning “doctor assisted dying” has been formed.
Please note that the doctor does not assist your death, he will be causing your death.
Among the appointees of this provincial and territorial panel are Jocelyn Downie, Arthur Schafer and Maureen Taylor, all known euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates. Jocelyn Downie is a professor in the Faculty of Law at Dalhousie University, Arthur Schafer, Director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba and Maureen Taylor, a physician’s assistant, is the widow of Dr. Donald Low. Maureen Taylor called for the legalization of assisted suicide in a video released after her husband’s death.
From an article on the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s (EPC) blog, legal counsel for the EPC Hugh Scher commented:
The provincial and territorial inquiry into assisted suicide is premature in light of the present study under way by the Federal government. In particular, there is a serious question as to the constitutionality of provincial regimes regulating assisted death as health care, when such conduct and its regulation have historically fallen under the federal government’s criminal law powers under the Constitution.
To send an email to this provincial panel , go to www.ontario.ca/page/doctor-assisted-dying-and-end-life-decisions-consultation.
The survey for the provincial group has rather skewed questions. In one, the respondent is asked: In principle, do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the idea that a person should be able to choose how they manage their palliative and end of life care, for example when and where they die?
Well most people would support the first part that a person should be able to make decisions about palliative and end of life care but the second part about when they die is an entirely different matter. Palliative care does not involve choosing the time of your death, this is assisted suicide and euthanasia. You can choose to receive palliative care at home, in hospital or in hospice if you wish but choosing when you die is another matter. If you strongly support quality palliative care as we do, in answering this question in the affirmative, it seems you are also giving support to the notion that individuals can determine the moment of their death which can be done by euthanasia or assisted suicide.
The email option on the page allows you to state your point of view clearly and accurately.
Action Life opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide because they are killing. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are not medical treatment or health care.
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