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Tell your Story. Have your voice heard.

Storytelling and personal messages are a vital way to contribute to the discussion of end of life issues and Physician Assisted Dying. Crowdsourced video and photo submissions have been a growing tactic of organizations in recent years to raise awareness and get people talking about the causes that are important to them.

Dying With Dignity Canada is hoping to take on a similar campaign with the aim of making sure that we keep physician assisted dying on the radar of Canadians and lawmakers during this critical time.

For the remainder of this year, and beyond, we must focus our attention on ensuring that assisted dying is available to all eligible Canadians on the February 6 deadline, regardless of whether lawmakers have drafted legislation by that date.

We are asking our supporters to send in short video clips and photos using their cellphones so that we can share the stories, values and wishes of Canadians, and mobilize others to act. Our video toolkit and accompanying step-by-step videos will coach you on how to go about creating and submitting your video. Our photo toolkit will show you how to take a selfie, include a Voice Your Choice-themed message for the world to see.

When you're done, post your video to YouTube and send us a link. If you've taken a photo, send it to kelsey@dyingwithdignity.ca. Happy posing!


Create your own Voice Your Choice selfie photo

We are asking our supporters to submit photos of themselves so we can truly put a face to our advocacy efforts. By telling the stories of Canadians, we can express their concerns and help ensure that legislation is reflective of their values.

You can record and send us a photo using just your phone. This guide can help you accomplish that from conception to submission. If you're computer-savvy, feel free to add the text by yourself. But it'd be our pleasure to add it for you if you require help.

Untitled.png1. Consider the meaning of your message

Think about the most meaningful way to capture your feelings and thoughts regarding physician assisted death. Perhaps you’d like to reflect on a loved one’s death or convey how you want your own death to be. You may just send us a photo of yourself with a quick summary of your opinion on the issue. Or, you may send a photo of yourself holding a picture of a deceased loved one who had an awful death. You may also choose to take a photo with your spouse or children and reflect on how your death might affect them.

Photo text examples: 

“I don’t want my children to see me suffer, like I did when my father died.”

“It’s because I love her, that I support choice in dying in Canada.”

“I can’t afford to wait beyond February 6.”

“I will participate in the consultation. I want my voice to be heard.”

“My sister had a slow, horrible death. I want choice in how I die.” 

2. Provide context

If you choose to send a photo of yourself holding a picture of a deceased loved one, please let us know a bit about that person and their death. If you send a photo of yourself with other people in the frame, please let us know who they are and their relationship to you. This will be helpful when we are adding text to your photo. 

3. Take your photo

  • Keep the light source behind the camera phone. 
  • Choose a fitting background, ideally a solid-coloured wall. 
  • Take a few shots and pick your favourite.

4. Send your photo

Please email your submissions to kelsey@dyingwithdignity.ca

Each phone’s email settings are different. Here are some guides depending on your type of phone: 

If you have trouble emailing from your phone, you can also transfer your photo to your computer using a USB cable (this usually comes with your phone) and email from your computer. This link provides some guidance. 

You will receive confirmation of receipt from DWD Canada within two business days.  

Disclaimer: 

By submitting my video or image, you agree to the following: 

  • Your video or image may be shared with the staff members of Dying With Dignity Canada’s National Office. 
  • Your video or image may be featured on Dying With Dignity Canada’s website or social media pages. 
  • Your video may be edited for length or clarity. 
  • Text may be added to the photo or video. 
  • By submitting your image or video, there is no guarantee that it will be used in Dying With Dignity Canada’s campaign materials.
  • In submitting your video or image, you are offering your story voluntarily and Dying With Dignity Canada has no obligation to pay for your submission.   

Where do your candidates stand on physician assisted dying?

Help us find out where your local candidates stand on the issue of physician assisted dying.

DWD Canada has developed a questionnaire for you to use when you're talking with the contenders in your riding. Survey the candidates at a local debate, ask them over the phone or pose the questions by e-mail — whatever works. When you’ve received a response, send us the results and we’ll post the names of the candidates who have responded to this very page.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do:

  1. Download the DWD Canada Candidate Questionnaire and print out several copies (one for each candidate you plan to ask.)
  2. Present your candidates with the questions and write down their answers on the sheet. You can do this in person — at a local debate or campaign office, for example — or you can pose the questions over the phone. Please let them know that the responses will be published on our website.
  3. If your candidates fill out the questionnaire (or you record their answers), please scan it and email it to the Dying With Dignity Canada office here at: political@dyingwithdignity.ca. You can also mail it directly to our office (but please send an email right away to let us know):

55 Eglinton Avenue East
Suite 802
Toronto, ON
M4P 1G8

We will add their name to our website and send out tweets thanking those candidates who have stepped up in support of enlightened and practical physician assisted dying.


Engage with candidates on social media

Most candidates are active on social media and often engage with their constituents through online platforms. You can track the election chatter on Twitter by following the #elxn42 hashtag.

All of the major parties, and their leaders, have an active Twitter and Facebook presence. Here's where you can connect with the big players on social media. 

As always, whenever you're communicating with a candidate, whether in person or online, please make sure to maintain a respectful tone.

Conservative Party of Canada


Green Party of Canada


Liberal Party of Canada


New Democratic Party


Connecting with local candidates

Most party websites provide a full list of candidates and include links to their social media accounts. Follow the links below to connect with your local candidates:


How to engage in the election debates

During the election season, it is important to keep an eye on your local news for updates regarding debates in your riding. Frequently check your local newspaper and online resources to stay informed of any upcoming debates or events. Please try to attend as many as you can. After you attend, please email political@dyingwithdignity.ca and let us know how it went and if you were able to have your question answered.

For the leaders’ debates, DWD Canada will update our supporters as soon as we become aware of the details of these debates. Although we will remain vigilant, these debates are occasionally announced a few days before they will take place. We will try to provide as much notice as we can when informing our supporters.

Scheduled debates:

The Globe and Mail Federal Leaders Debate — Thursday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET

 Munk Debate — Monday, Sept. 28 – 7 p.m. ET

  • To be broadcast on CPAC both online and on TV
  • Feed may appear on other networks

Broadcast Consortium Debates: Wednesday, Oct. 7 (French) — 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET and Thursday, Oct. 8 (English) — 6:30 to 8 p.m. ET

  • Consortium debate organized by the major Canadian television debates
  • Will air on television and online 
  • More information to come on how to participate 

Questions for candidates

Top questions:

1. If you are elected as my Member of Parliament and there is a free vote in the House of Commons, will you support legislation that reflects letter and the spirit of the Carter decision for the right to die with dignity?

2. Are you willing complete DWD Canada's Political Candidates Questionnaire?

Other questions to ask:

1. Will you oppose any delay in implementing physician assisted dying (PAD) beyond February 6, 2016, regardless of whether legislation has been passed?

Preferred Response: Yes, although legislation may not have been passed into law, it is important that on February 6, 2016, Canadians have access to PAD in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Supreme Court of Canada decision.

2. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision allows for physician assisted dying by both: a) Physician administration of life-ending medication; and b) providing prescription for life-ending medication. Will you ensure that both of these options are available to all Canadians?

Preferred Response: Yes, both administration and prescription should be included in any written legislation. Some people will be unable to self-administer life-ending medication and others may simply prefer to have a doctor administer their medications directly. 

3. Will you support reasonable safeguards but oppose unreasonable barriers to access for physician assisted dying?

Preferred Response: Yes. While it is essential that we ensure the vulnerable are protected, it is also vital that eligible Canadians who want an assisted death can receive one in a timely manner.

An example of a reasonable safeguard would be the involvement of a second physician, or a reasonable waiting period (say three weeks) for non-terminal patients.

Unreasonable safeguards would include excessive waiting periods, reviews by external bodies or requirements for approval from anyone other than the individual themselves.

4. How will you ensure patient choice, patient care and equality of access?

Preferred Response: All individuals who qualify for physician assisted dying should have timely access. If an individual’s primary doctor chooses not to provide an assisted death, a duty to refer will be implemented. Eligible patients across Canada should be transferred into the care of a willing doctor in a timely manner, and they should not be required to travel in order to access PAD.

5. As you understand it, what are the core components that will be required legislatively to ensure the spirit of the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Carter case?

Preferred Response: To uphold the spirit of the Carter decision, the following criteria must be met:

  • access for competent Canadians with a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disability or disease)

  • the option for either the prescription or administration of life-ending medication

  • physician and pharmacists are required to make effective referrals so patients are not abandoned

  • reasonable, but not overly burdensome, safeguards

What are you prepared to do to ensure access to physician assisted dying?

Preferred Answer: (Open-ended question. Look for assurances that the candidate is interested in promoting PAD.)


How to arrange a meeting with your candidates

While candidates are busy during the election season, you may still be able to organize a meeting or speak with them over the phone. Candidates are also keen to have supporters organize coffee parties where they can meet constituents in their ridings. You can organize a coffee party and put assisted dying squarely on the agenda.

If you're in contact with a candidate in your riding, make sure to ask them to express their support for fair and just access to physician assisted dying by completing DWD Canada's election questionnaire.

Identify candidates in your riding

  • You will want to identify which riding you live in: Find your electoral riding on Elections Canada's website.
  • For all the political parties, please see this list.
  • Identifying the candidates in your riding and accessing their contact information may require a bit of detective work as nominations don’t close until September 28, 2015.
  • Note that there is no one single source for all candidate contact information, such as email or phone number. You may need to try different sources. However here are some options that may be helpful (You may have to visit more than once for the most up-to-date information):

Targeting swing ridings

Do you live in a potential swing riding and you want to let your candidates know that this issue may affect how you cast your ballot? Check out the latest projections on ThreeHundredEight.com.

Schedule a meeting

Call the office of the candidate and keep the following in mind:

  • Be friendly and polite.
  • Communicate your main goal for the meeting (would like to discuss physician assisted dying).
  • Be understanding if the candidate is unavailable to speak one-on-one. Inquire if there are public events that they will be attending that you might also attend.

Research

It may be helpful to do a Google search to see if the candidate has spoken publicly about assisted dying in the past. If they have served as an MP already, see if you can find out how they have voted on related issues in the past. Politicians who served in 2010 are on record as to how they voted on private member’s Bill C-384 introduced by the late Bloc MP Francine Lalonde.

Present the election questionnaire to your candidates

Find Dying With Dignity Canada's Questionnaire for Political Candidates here.

When you've recorded your candidate's responses, please scan the completed questionnaire and email it to the Dying With Dignity Canada office here at: political@dyingwithdignity.ca. You can also mail it directly to our office, but please send an email right away to let us know:

55 Eglinton Avenue East
Suite 802
Toronto, ON
M4P 1G8

We will add their name to our website and send out tweets thanking those candidates who have stepped up in support of enlightened and practical physician assisted dying.

Ask for action

Express that you would like to hear how the candidate would address physician assisted dying, if elected. Ask them for a written statement outlining their views and let them know we will send out a press release to the media announcing their support.

Follow up

Send a thank you email or letter and let the DWD Canada National Office know the results of your discussion. Email us at: political@dyingwithdignity.ca.

(Photo credit: Flazingo Photos/Flickr)

 


Federal Election Action Kit

In the months to come, all Canadians must unite to ensure the spirit of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Carter decision is upheld and that Canadians have the option of a physician assisted death come Feb. 6, 2016.

With the federal election now underway, we are asking you, our supporters, to reach out to all candidates in your ridings. We have created this toolkit to help you identify the questions to ask, where to reach out and how to effectively engage with election candidates before voting day on Oct. 19. Now is the time to Voice Your Choice!

In this toolkit you will find out:

  1. Questions to ask candidates in the 2015 federal election
  2. How to arrange to meet your local candidates
  3. How to use DWD Canada's Political Candidate Questionnaire to find out your candidates' views on end-of-life choice
  4. How to send in questions about assisted dying to the leaders debates and local candidate debates
  5. How to engage with your candidates online through social media such as Twitter and Facebook

Other ways to engage:

 


Advance Requests and Dementia

8 in 10 Canadians agree: You should have the right to make advance requests for assisted dying.


FAQ