Our Lethbridge chapter has grown by leaps and bounds in the two years since it was founded. In July 2013, John Warren, then vice-president of DWD Canada, convened a get-together of 20 or so friends to discuss what a group of thoughtful, passionate citizens could do to change the laws around physician assisted dying. That informal gathering has quadrupled and is now one of DWD Canada’s most active chapters.
The dedicated group benefits from the wide range of experience and skills among its members, including Lethbridge chapter coordinators: Norma Boulton, Cheryl Bradley, Bev Potter, John Warren and Susan Whishaw. With their combined organizational savvy, they’ve undertaken a staggering amount of outreach in the local community.
They have been active in organizing speakers for three successful sessions at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs and for one session at the Peace and Justice Committee of McKillop United Church. Volunteers from the Lethbridge chapter have engaged their community at Applefest and the 55+ Showcase of the Lethbridge Senior Citizens’ Organization. Three times a year, four dedicated volunteers distribute DWD Canada’s Voice for Choice newsletters to about 50 offices around town.
The Lethbridge chapter has also held film screenings of Terry Pratchett’s Shaking Hands with Death and How to Die in Oregon. They held a summer social and fundraiser in 2014, which brought out 30 DWD Canada supporters, and planned another for this year.
Grabbing headlines on our National Day of Action
Perhaps their biggest coup to date came ahead of DWD Canada’s National Day of Action and Solidarity on Oct. 15, 2014. Because of the chapter’s dispatches to the press, the Lethbridge rally made front-page news before it was even staged. Six local media outlets covered the demonstration itself, which attracted 75 DWD Canada supporters.
After the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Carter v. Canada, the chapter is dedicated to ensuring the best possible legislation for physician assisted dying. In June 2015, chapter coordinators sent a letter to 88 doctors in Lethbridge, asking for their support of physician assisted dying. And through e-mail, they’ve encouraged local DWD Canada members and supporters to press their MPs to speak out in favour of fair, timely access to physician assisted dying.
DWD Canada’s national office thanks you for all your energy, passion and commitment. Well done, Lethbridge!