Pressure is building on the federal government to get busy on a national palliative care strategy.

Published in Canada
June 18, 2014

No comfort in words

On the very day Quebec legalized medical killing this month, I committed an act of euthanasia. 

Published in Peter Stockland
June 11, 2014

Put words in action

Seldom does the House of Commons speak as one voice. So Parliament’s recent near-unanimous support of a motion to make palliative care a national priority was encouraging and welcomed. Yet the roar will quickly fade to a whisper without sincere government action to turn this rare cross-party unanimity into meaningful legislation. 

Published in Editorial

OTTAWA - Groups opposed to euthanasia vow to fight Quebec’s adoption June 5 of Bill-52 “An act on end-of-life care” that brings euthanasia to the province.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec warns the adoption of euthanasia Bill-52 would have serious and harmful consequences for the future of Quebec.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is under fire for violating a promise of a free vote on euthanasia in Quebec.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - The Quebec National Assembly is on track to vote in favour of euthanasia by early June, putting the province on a collision course with the federal government.

Published in Canada

Doctors don’t think Canada should mess with the rules that govern how they care for the terminally ill without a serious national debate. Therefore the Canadian Medical Association has been sponsoring town hall meetings across Canada.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Dr. Balfour Mount, considered the “father of palliative care in North America,” has written an open letter to Quebec’s new premier advising him against re-introducing the euthanasia bill.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - Forces opposed to euthanasia in Quebec have expressed disappointment newly elected Premier Philippe Couillard intends to press ahead with euthanasia legislation.

Published in Canada

OTTAWA - As the Quebec government considers an end-of-life bill that would allow euthanasia, Quebec's Catholic bishops warn that society faces a crucial choice.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - The new evangelization isn't about condemning our culture but healing it, Cardinal Thomas Collins told an audience of doctors, nurses and health care ethicists at the annual Cardinal Ambrozic Lecture in Toronto.

Published in Vatican
January 30, 2013

Killing is not care

The Criminal Code, Parliament and the Supreme Court have been consistent and clear on the matter of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Both offences are serious crimes as prescribed in law and as upheld in various votes by the nation’s top legislative and judicial bodies. Yet the Province of Quebec is bulling ahead with a chilling attempt to circumvent the law by decriminalizing euthanasia through a legislative sleight-of-hand.

In mid-January, the PQ government of Pauline Marois trumpeted a report suggesting doctors should sometimes be allowed to kill patients. Naturally, that is not how the report is worded. It speaks of “medically aided death” and suggests that euthanasia is just another “part of the continuum of care” provided by doctors. So on some days doctors will deliver a baby, or remove tonsils, or treat cancer, and on other days they will deliver care by killing the patient.

This is an offensive notion, of course, and it must be opposed forcefully by society in general and by the federal government in particular.

By June, Quebec is expected to propose legislation to declare euthanasia is a medical procedure and therefore strictly a provincial matter beyond the reach of the Criminal Code or Parliament interference. Assumedly, the Quebec government has lawyers who feel confident in making that argument even though it strikes most reasonable people as far-fetched to claim killing someone can be equated with providing them with medical care.

This legislative end-around follows a resounding rejection two years ago of a private member’s euthanasia bill introduced by Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde. She lost that vote 250-57. The Supreme Court had rejected euthanasia in a 1993 decision. Two years after that, a senate committee concluded euthanasia should remain a criminal offence. Although euthanasia is legal in some countries, Canada, to its credit, has consistently rejected it.

Even Quebecers are unconvinced. The “Dying With Dignity” committee crossed the province for two years hearing submissions. Sixty per cent of people or groups opposed euthanasia. Many doctors are appalled that their oath to “do no harm” could be perverted to countenance killing.

“This act is abhorrent to us as doctors and should appall Quebecers who care about social justice and building communities that care about the most vulnerable,” said Dr. Catherine Ferrier, spokesperson for a group called The Physicians’ Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia.

Instead of writing laws to kill sick and suffering people, politicians in Quebec and across Canada should be increasing the number and improving the quality of palliative care centres. Euthanasia is a deplorable solution for old age, illness and infirmity. The focus should be on providing comfort and care, and building a society that treats all life with dignity and respect.

 

Published in Editorial

OTTAWA - Quebec’s promised bill to bring in “medical aid in dying” is a “dangerous” proposal that confuses medical care with euthanasia, said Quebec’s bishops, joining numerous groups in condemning the plan.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - You know you’re going to die, so what’s the plan?

Published in Canada

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