Canadian Kevin Dunn has produced two films about euthanasia through his media company. Photo courtesy Dunn Media

Filmmaker Kevin Dunn in Australia continuing fight against euthanasia

By 
  • August 31, 2019

OTTAWA -- Documentary film producer Kevin Dunn admits he felt a bit depressed after producing two films about euthanasia. 

However, searching for a different subject to film will have to wait — searching for “prophets of hope” has become much more important.

The Canadian producer of Fatal Flaws and The Euthanasia Deception left Aug. 19 for a month-long tour of Australia to screen the films and give talks he hopes will have an impact on that country’s debate on legalizing euthanasia.

The individual states in Australia have jurisdiction over euthanasia and assisted suicide. Victoria State legalized assisted suicide last year, but both euthanasia — where the physician plays an active role in the killing — and assisted suicide — where the physician merely supplies the means — are illegal in the rest of the country, made up of six states and 10 territories. A euthanasia bill has been introduced in the state of Western Australia.

Dunn will be visiting the cities of Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Canberra and travelling to Tasmania, meeting with pro-life leaders and screening the two films.

“What really spoke to me as I prayed about this is I realized this is less about euthanasia or abortion,” said Dunn. “These are the extremes, extremes of abandonment and extremes of fear.”

Through prayer, reading and spending time with the late Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche community, Dunn said he came to understand “the message that has to get out to people is that we must become prophets of hope.”

“What are we doing today to gird ourselves for when we are at the lowest moment in our life?” he asked. “We will either give up or reach out.”  

Dunn wants to encourage people to be prophets of hope for those facing abandonment and looking for support.

“These laws talk about autonomy and compassion,” Dunn said. “It’s all hogwash. What they are saying is there is no more hope.”

Beyond fighting laws legalizing euthanasia, Dunn said people have to ask themselves “what are we doing for the regular person out there?” 

“Who is the prophet of hope in our life? Who is that person who picks you up when you’re down and takes you to the next goalpost?” he asked. “Concentrate on becoming that person for others.”

Dunn recounted a Facebook message he received from his daughter Kathleen, who told him she had been visiting an elderly woman once a week in a nursing home. His daughter told him the woman had seen an article about so-called Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) and told Kathleen, “I think I’m going to need this.”

She also asked Kathleen, “What do you think about this?”

“I think this is a travesty that we as a culture would ever abandon you like that, that I would ever abandon you like that,” Kathleen responded. “I would want to walk with you.”

For Dunn, the lightbulb went on. This was how to respond to someone “obviously down” and “depressed.” Thanks to his daughter’s support the woman died peacefully in her sleep a year later.

“This is the problem with these laws,” he said. “What is now an option has become almost an obligation in many cases.”

An elderly person might be thinking, “I could go for chemo, or I could save my kids the trouble and opt for assisted death,” Dunn said.

“Really, it’s the message of Christ to love our neighbour,” Dunn said. “If we can get back to that central tenet of our faith, they can pass these laws all over the world — I hope they don’t — but people will have advocates beside them.”

Becoming a prophet of hope has to be coupled with fighting euthanasia laws and their expansion, he said. “Once you open the doors, there’s no going back.”

Dunn admits he is not an expert, but a storyteller. He thinks of Candace Lewis, a young woman in Newfoundland with cerebral palsy who was given the option to end her life by a doctor because of her medical issues and how her mother acted as her champion and defended her right to life.

“If there was no prophet of hope — that led to someone’s death,” Dunn said. “Or a prophet of hope kept someone from choosing it.

“It’s the stories; it’s sharing stories. That’s what empowers me.” 

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