In Case You Missed It: May 2017

In Case You Missed It is a monthly round-up of news articles and commentaries featuring Dying With Dignity Canada speakers and stories. Did you miss these stories in May?

National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier has suspended political-activity audits after an expert panel released new recommendations. The panel concluded that charity law and regulations in Canada are too restrictive and that charities should be able to “fully engage, without limitation, in non-partisan public policy dialogue and development, provided that it is subordinate to and furthers their charitable purposes."

Erin Schreurs’ husband, John, accessed an assisted death in Switzerland in September. Erin spoke to CBC’s Piya Chattopadhyay about the incredible lengths she went to in order to ensure her late husband had control over his own death.

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DWDC’s Disability Advisory Council member, Terry Wiens, spoke to CBC’s The Current about being a polio survivor and how it affects him decades later.

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DWDC CEO Shanaaz Gokool comments on MAID statistics in Quebec:

"Quebec has done extensive consultations on the issue before passing its law," she recalled in an interview. "What we are seeing is that the rest of the country is still not ready. There are hospitals and hospices that are not ready."

On the morning of Sunday, May 1st 2016, David J. Adams’ mom went out onto her eighth-floor balcony, climbed onto the ledge, and fell back. David shared her story with us on the DWDC blog.

MP Murray Rankin voiced his concerns about the impartiality of Dr. Harvey Schipper, the appointed chair of the working group on advance consent, during Question Period.

An ICU doctor comments on the Canadian healthcare system and the importance of advance care planning.

Dr. Harvey Schipper, the University of Toronto professor who once likened the arguments of assisted dying advocates to Nazi propaganda, stepped down as chair of the working group studying advance requests. CEO Shanaaz Gokool comments:

"Having Dr. Schipper continue on as chair would have sent a disturbing message and it would have tainted the working group's findings in the eyes of Canadians," she said.

Read our response to Dr. Schipper’s resignation as chair here:

Ontario’s Bill 84, the Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act, passed on Tuesday, May 9. Read DWDC’s press release on the bill’s passing:

Physicians Advisory Council member, Dr. David Amies, asks if public institutions should be able to opt out of MAID in his recent letter to the editor.

Ontario resident Robert Laycock carries the gene for Huntington disease. One day he wants to die on his own terms, but fears that certain requirements in the current law may obstruct him from accessing his right:  

“I have to be able to vocalize that I want physician-assisted death, because if I wait too long I won’t be able to do that,” he said. “I am very adamant about not letting anyone stand in my way as far as getting medical aid in dying.”

DWDC will be intervening in the court case between the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) next month. DWDC’s factum in the case was submitted earlier this week and is available to view here:

Earlier this month, Allan Krar shared the story of his wife’s assisted death during an event in the Niagara region. Jim Cooper, chair of the Niagara chapter of DWDC, spoke about MAID access in Ontario.

John Shields died with the help of a physician this past spring. The moving story of his life and death appeared on the front page of the New York Times on Sunday, May 28.

His story was also told in the New York Times' podcast, "The Daily," on May 26. Listen here:

In late May, Robyn Moro joined Julia Lamb in challenging Canada’s assisted dying law. The 68 year old, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, said that “she is not living life but rather enduring it as a daily cruelty" in an affidavit recently filed with the Supreme Court of B.C.

More on Robyn can be found on the DWDC blog:

B.C. resident, Ed Ness, accessed an assisted death on May 30. In the last days of his life, he shared his thoughts on death, choice and his final journey.

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Toronto Life explores assisted dying in Ontario one year after legislation passed. This story features Physicians Advisory Council member, Dr. Gerry Ashe, as he reflects on his first MAID patient, Jack Poelstra:

“I always knew it was the right thing to do, but when I spoke to April and heard the plea in her voice about her dad, it was quite sobering.”

DWDC Physicians Advisory Council member, Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, calls out the Liberal government on the unconstitutionality of C-14 and insists that Trudeau must correct “an inhumane law.”

Alberta’s Dr. James Silvius has received an award for his role in developing MAID framework in his province.

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