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News and Opinions
- July 7, 2015Dying With Dignity Canada is urging the federal government to come forward immediately with its plans to hold a public consultation on physician assisted dying.
- June 17, 2015
DWD Canada has spoken out against the federal government's plan to ask the Supreme Court for more time adopt new legislation on end-of-life choice. The following press release, which was sent out to members of the media on Wednesday, denounces Justice Minister Peter MacKay's recent statements on physician assisted dying.
- June 17, 2015
The federal government plans to ask for more time to respond to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on assisted dying, Justice Minister Peter MacKay has revealed.
- June 15, 2015
The Honorable Steven Fletcher, the quadraplegic Manitoba MP and stalwart advocate for assisted dying wrote this compelling piece: Death can be a choice too.
He was responding to an earlier opinion piece from Dr. Harvey Chochinov, which argued against physician assisted death and made a number of statements which are refuted in the Steven Fletcher opinion piece.
Like Mr. Fletcher, 85% of Canadians living with disabilities support physician assisted dying, according to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted in October of 2014.
- June 1, 2015
For Kathy Wardle, the Supreme Court’s Feb. 6 decision to decriminalize assisted dying came too late.
She had already made up her mind that she would go to Switzerland to die with the help of a physician. The constant pain and agony she suffered as a result of her chronic osteoarthritis had become too much for her to bear. Her sister would accompany her and support her through the journey. Kathy couldn’t wait a year for the ruling to come into effect.
- May 25, 2015
While the federal government says it isn’t planning to table new assisted dying legislation before this year’s federal election, Quebec’s work to implement new laws surrounding end-of-life choice is well underway.
The province passed Bill 52, An act respecting end-of-life care, in June 2014, with the law set to come into effect by the end of this year. The new rules establish palliative care as a right for all Quebeckers. In addition, physician assisted dying will be available for terminally individuals in hospitals, nursing homes and hospices, as well as patients who wish to die at home.
DWD Canada CEO Wanda Morris recently spoke with Dr. Daniel Weinstock, the Canadian Research Chair on Ethics and Political Philosophy at McGill University, about how Quebec’s preparations are progressing. Though not a verbatim transcript, the following Q&A is collection of key points of their conversation. It offers helpful updates what the regulations and safeguards the Quebec law with the guidelines set out by the Supreme Court in its historic ruling in Carter v. Canada.
- May 20, 2015
Three months after the Supreme Court struck down the ban on physician assisted dying, Ottawa has said it doesn’t plan to legislate before this year’s federal election. With only nine months left until the old law expires, Canadians are calling on their lawmakers, both federal and provincial, to develop new rules around end-of-life choice that respond to the high court’s courageous decision.
- May 14, 2015
Ray Godbold knows what a bad death looks like.
He'd seen it too many times during his 34 years as a nurse.
Now, afflicted with terminal cancer, the 59-year-old Australian is determined to avoid dying badly. He plans to forego the jaundice and terrible wasting associated with the final stages of his illness. He wants to end his life on his own terms.
And by speaking out publicly, he’s trying to help others realize that same goal.
- May 6, 2015
Three months after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the Criminal Code ban on assisted dying, the Feb. 6 ruling is already inspiring change overseas.
In fact, the justices’ decision appears to have influenced a South African judge to bring his country a critical step closer to legalizing end-of-life choice.
- May 5, 2015
In his second post for DWD Canada's blog, Quebec nurse Nathan Friedland writes with passion about how healthcare providers in his province will soon become Canada's go-to experts on how to help patients die with dignity and in comfort. Quebec is preparing to implement Bill 52, an end-of-life care law that includes provisions for assisted dying, by the end of the year.
- April 30, 2015
UPDATE: Robin Stransham-Ford has died, DignitySA has confirmed. He died of natural causes on Thursday, the same day a judge granted him the right to end his own life with the help of a physician.
A judge in South Africa has granted a terminally ill man the right to die with the help of a physician.
Earlier this week, Robin Stransham-Ford, a 65-year-old lawyer with terminal prostate cancer, applied for a court-ordered exemption from South Africa’s criminal laws against assisted dying.
- April 30, 2015
Planning can not only save your life; it has the potential to spare you from an excruciating death.
In a lively interview on Zoomer Radio on last week, Dr. Brett Belchetz, an ER physician in Toronto, stressed the importance of sharing your wishes for end of life. Too many people arrive to the emergency room in critical condition without having clearly expressed whether they want drastic measures to be taken to extend their lives, he told Goldhawk Fights Back guest host Libby Znaimer. As a result, he said, doctors are forced to assume to an incapacitated patient wants to be kept alive at almost all costs, a decision that sometimes leads to unwanted suffering for the individual or conflicts between family members.
- April 28, 2015
The federal government isn’t planning to introduce new assisted dying legislation before the upcoming election, Justice Minister Peter MacKay revealed on Monday.
However, according to a report by The Canadian Press, he said Ottawa will soon unveil details about an upcoming nationwide consultation on end-of-life choice that is set to kick off by the summer.
- April 23, 2015
Anne Crawford is weighing her options.
At 74, she recently underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time in two decades. And while the Vancouver resident is still fighting the disease, she wants to know she has the final say on how and when her suffering will end.
Anne is the subject of “Letting Go for Dear Life,” a gripping new radio documentary by Alison Kroeker and Travis Prased, two journalism students at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Released this month, the clip profiles Crawford’s battle with cancer and uses her story to launch into a broader discussion about physician assisted dying in Canada.
- April 16, 2015In December of 2014, Facebook reached a monthly average of 1.39 billion users — including more than 19 million Canadians, or more than half of our population. It’s clear Canadians feel comfortable and enthusiastic about sharing information online. But sharing information about our wishes for future health care choices? That’s another story.
- April 13, 2015Life is full of risks.
We experience varying levels of risks in our everyday lives, but that doesn’t stop us from doing the things we love, or going about our daily routine. That’s because most of us take steps to manage or minimize these risks. For example, you probably wouldn’t ride in a car that didn’t have any seat belts. Or go for a bike ride without a helmet.
So why do so many Canadians take risks with their future health care?
- April 5, 2015
Now that the Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the Criminal Code provisions against physicians helping terminally ill patients in intractable pain to end their lives, there is "a pressing need in Canada for physicians to be trained in the techniques and principles of physician assisted dying," says the co-chair of DWD Canada's Physicians Advisory Council.
- March 30, 2015
Dr. Daniel Swangard is in remission from neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer and has recently joined a Death With Dignity lawsuit against California.
- March 26, 2015
Just hours after Brittany Maynard’s family released a video of her making a plea to lawmakers to legalize assisted dying, California's Senate Health Committee voted 6-2 to let the bill proceed to the floor for further debate.
- March 25, 2015
As 100-year-old Aileen Breslin from Toronto, lay in her hospital bed, suffering intolerable physical and mental pain, she had a few words of advice for her son, the veterinarian who could put pets to sleep but not his mother:
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