Euthanasia and assisted suicide continue to be contentious issues in Canada, with recent court decisions and federal legislation igniting the debate in Parliament, in media and social media, on campus and around the kitchen table. Becoming educated and informed on this issue is important for all of us and the following are some links and resources to help you get started.
CURRENT CANADIAN EUTHANASIA & ASSISTED SUICIDE CASES
*Carter v. Canada case in the B.C. Supreme Court: June 15 2012
- The B.C. Supreme Court passed judgment on the Carter v. Canada Case. As Will Johnston, Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of B.C., stated in a National Post opinion piece, the decision:
- “purports to create constitutional immunity for those who provide assistance to those seeking to kill themselves — a judgment that stands at odds with the Supreme Court of Canada’s Rodriguez ruling in 1993. …. Current law will stand for at least a year (the sole exception being the plaintiff in this case, 64-year-old ALS patient Gloria Taylor)”.
- Press release from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition on the decision.
- Margaret Dore on the legal effect of the court decision.
- Dore is an attorney in Seattle and the President of Choice is an Illusion, a non-profit opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
- Press release from the Canadian Association for Community Living
- Discusses the impact of the decision on Canadians with disabilities.
- Margaret Sommerville in the Globe and Mail on the issues with the decision
- Sommerville is the founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University.
- Margaret Sommerville appears on Sun TV
- Sommerville talks about the case and the issue.
- Op ed in the National Post by Will Johnston
- Johnston is a MD and Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of B.C.
- On June 14th, 2012, the Liberal Quebec government announced that it is creating a committee of legal experts to examine how euthanasia and assisted suicide could be allowed in Quebec, despite the fact that they are forbidden by the federal criminal code.
- Blog post by Alexander Schandenberg
- The Rasouli Case will determine whether or not doctors have the right withdraw life-sustaining treatment that the doctor considers futile, without the consent of the family or the patient.
- This case is waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
- The Rasouli case: Who has the right to withdraw Life-Sustaining Treatment in Canada? Blog post by Alexander Schadenberg.
PAST CANADIAN EUTHANASIA & ASSISTED SUICIDE CASES
- This Bill was introduced on May 13, 2009 by Quebec MP Francine Lalonde, and sought to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia.
- On April 21, 2010 this Bill was defeated in parliament by a vote of 228-59.
- Summary of Bill C-384
- Sue Rodriguez, an individual with ALS, filed her case in the BC Supreme Court, stating that the Criminal Code’s prohibition of assisted suicide was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it violated sections 7 (the right to “life, liberty, and security of the person), 12 (protection against “cruel and unusual punishment”), and 15(1).
- In a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the section of the Criminal Code prohibiting assisted suicide.
- Court case summary by the government of Canada
IMPORTANT ORGANIZATIONS AND GROUPS TO KNOW
- The EPC exists to educate people about euthanasia and assisted suicide. The EPC will represent the vulnerable in court in order to preserve and enforce the legal prohibitions and ethical guidelines prohibiting “mercy killing.” They also raise awareness of hospice/palliative care and work to make improvements to these services.
- To stay up-to-date on developments and coverage in Canada and internationally, follow the blog of their Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg
- EPC-BC is an affiliate of EPC Canada. They are a coalition against assisted suicide and euthanasia, and are current intervenors in the Carter Case.
Vivre dans la Dignité (Living with Dignity)
- This is a Quebec-based network that works to promote respect for the lives and the inherent, inalienable dignity of persons made vulnerable by illness or age by assuring them compassionate support.
- Life Canada has commissioned polls on Canadians’ Attitudes Towards Euthanasia, collected in 2011.