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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.

Whose Death is it Anyway?

Canada’s highest court ruled that euthanasia is illegal, but that won’t stop some doctors from helping terminally ill patients die.

By Daniel Wood, November 18, 2010

Kwantlen Polytechnic University instructor Russel Ogden says that polls have
indicated a significant increase in Canadians’ support for right-to-die legislation.

Stephen Gardiner’s real name or where he lives cannot be divulged because well-intentioned friends might try to stop him from killing himself. And he doesn’t want them implicated. Wolf Obgielo’s name can be made known because the details of the assistance he’ll get when he decides to die will not be revealed here. Both men are terminally ill with cancer and both want to choose—without the interference of authorities—the time and circumstances of their death.

.... read more

Friday, November 12, 2010

Our New Executive Director

Donald Babey, President of the Board of Directors of Dying With Dignity Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Wanda Morris as Executive Director. 

Wanda Morris is a Vancouver-area Chartered Accountant with over 20 years of business experience.  She has held senior financial roles in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors.  Ms Morris holds a Master of Arts Degree in Transforming Spirituality and is a member of the Canadian Association of Public Speakers.

Our members will be familiar with the name: For the past two years Ms Morris has served with distinction on the Board of Directors of DWD Canada, most recently as Vice-President and Chair of the Fundraising and Membership Committee. In recognition of our membership strength on the West Coast, she will continue to be based out of Vancouver but will travel to Toronto on a regular basis.  This is a part-time (50%) position.

Donald Babey says: “I am absolutely thrilled that Wanda has agreed to take on this role.  The organization acknowledged that we needed an Executive Director to move forward, and we wanted to ensure that we found the right person.  I feel that having Wanda in this role is an extremely positive step forward for Dying With Dignity Canada.”

Wanda kicked off her new role by presenting to the all-party parliamentary committee on palliative and compassionate care on Wednesday, November 9th.

Her presentation, and our complete submission, is available by email. If you would like a copy, or if you should like to contact Wanda, please email wmorris@dyingwithdignity.ca.