The latest update from the desk of Dying With Dignity Canada's CEO, Helen Long.
The past few months have been full of uncertainty and change for Canadians across the country. When the federal government decided to prorogue in August, it became even more difficult to engage with Members of Parliament (MPs) on key issues related to end-of-life choice. Despite the obstacles, our supporters persevered. Since the launch of our digital advocacy tool, thousands of Canadians have placed a call to their MP or sent a letter to key decision-makers to remind them that Bill C-7 is a priority for Canadians. In fact, over the past six months, over 150,000 letters supporting Bill C-7 arrived in the email inboxes of government officials. We are so grateful to each one of our supporters for contributing to the momentum – the effort did not go unnoticed.
Recently, Minister of Justice David Lametti’s office indicated that the government is determined to re-introduce changes to MAID legislation once Parliament resumes and was quoted as saying “Our government has every intention of meeting the court’s deadline.” This was welcome news, given that changes to MAID legislation have already been delayed twice since the Truchon decision.
Here at Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC), we hear every day from those who are continuing to suffer because of their inability to access MAID under the current legislation. That’s why I will be presenting a webinar on September 30 alongside the Chair of the DWDC Board, James Cowan, and Director of Government and Stakeholder Relations, Puneet Luthra to address Bill C-7, its status in Parliament and how it will impact Canadians’ access to MAID.
In late summer, many of us were saddened to see the case of X and Y, a Nova Scotia couple who ended up in court over X’s decision to access MAID. X was found eligible for MAID under the current law which is both his constitutional right and an individual choice. It is tragic that X has continued to suffer and face barriers to accessing MAID as a result of a series of challenges and appeals by Y. Late last week, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeals reserved their judgement – leaving X continuing to suffer while he awaits their decision. What this case should remind us all is that it’s critical to have end-of-life discussions with your loved ones and family members today.
Finally, I want to thank those of you who support us financially every month or through a one-time donation; those of you who spread the word about DWDC and MAID through social media or word-of-mouth; and those of you who share your stories and experiences with us every day. We supported more Canadians than ever before this summer through our education, resources and programs and we are committed to continuing to do more to protect end-of-life rights and help Canadians avoid unwanted suffering.
Helen Long, CEO