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Friday, November 19, 2010

Submission to Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care

After the defeat of Bill C-384 (a bill to amend the Criminal Code to permit medical assistance in dying), an new all-party committee to conduct a country wide consultation on palliative and compassionate care was formed. This committee has already conducted consultations in many places across Canada. At the consultation in Victoria our new Executive Director, Wanda Morris, made a presentation, and a full submission from Dying with Dignity was provided to the committee. You can download this presentation in pdf format from the link below.


If you wish to make a submission of your own, you can email albreH8@parl.gc.ca or mail your submission or letter to: Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care Rm. 402, Justice Building Ottawa, ON. K1A 0A6.


It is important for as many people as possible to contact the committee. To some extent, at least, the purpose of the committee seems to be to explore alternatives to assisted dying, instead of recognising that, for some people, at least, there are no satisfactory alternatives. Palliative and hospice care are vital, and we must make sure that these options are available to all Canadians, so that no one need suffer needlessly when they are dying, as so many now do. But it is time for our parliamentarians to recognise that assisted dying is a legitimate option at the end of life, and that the refusal to provide this option by criminalising assistance in dying, is a form of cruel injustice.


As we say in our submission to the committee, enforced life, by any other name, would be called slavery. Forcing someone to stay alive when they believe that only death can release them from intolerable suffering is an unjustified restriction of individual freedom. Let the committee know that, while we all want to see improvements in end-of-life care, the option of assisted dying must be provided for those who have made an informed, stable choice to die. Dying with dignity is available only if the choice of assisted dying is available. Perhaps only a few will avail themselves of it, but, without it, people are being forced to die in a way of someone else's choosing. Let your MP know that this is wrong.


If you would like a copy of the full submission made to the parliamentary committee, please email our National Office at info@dyingwithdignity.ca, or you can download it directly from our website, by clicking here.

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