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Friday, March 19, 2010

Why is Choice in Dying so Important?

As Canadians, we value the freedoms we have to make choices in our lives.

Whether it is the freedom to choose how to participate or celebrate spiritual beliefs, the freedom to participate in democratic elections, or the freedom to speak our minds without fear of reprisal enjoying these freedoms in life is our protected right. In fact, it is one of the reasons we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and value that so dearly.

But even though dying is something that every Canadian will face, unfortunately we do not have the same freedom of choice at the end of our lives.

Even with an Advance Directive (sometimes referred to as a “Living Will”) in place, or a designated substitute decision maker, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be respected. As an example, legalized aid-in-dying is an option that is not currently allowed in Canada, regardless if someone has specifically requested it.

As the “Boomer” generation swells our aging population and advances in healthcare are achieved that both prolong life and the dying process, there has never been a greater need to face these issues, learn about them, and talk about them openly.

We need change. And that change can only come when dialogue and information sharing is activated among elected officials, policy-makers, spiritual leaders, healthcare practitioners and advocates for choice.

Dying with Dignity is committed to ensuring that dialogue and debate on these critically important topics continues until our freedom choose our end of life options are as firmly entrenched as our freedom to choose to vote, to worship or to speak our minds.

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