Russel Ogden is a criminologist at Kwantlan University College in British Columbia Canada, who has been researching suicide and euthanasia methods.
The National Post reported:
"Our due diligence included obtaining two opinions from one of Canada's foremost criminal lawyers about the legal implications," read a statement issued by the school's director of marketing and communications, Peter Chevrier.
"Based on our due diligence, including the lawyer's opinions, we concluded that there were real and unacceptable legal risks associated with the proposed research."
Kwantlen's decision has upset and dumbfounded some Canadian academics and their representatives. Demanding that Mr. Ogden terminate his research, already approved and underway, "seems like a gross violation of academic freedom," says James Turk, executive director of the Ottawa-based Canadian Association of University Teachers, which represents 65,000 instructors.
Apparently, he adds, "Kwantlen obtained a legal opinion that because euthanasia is illegal in Canada, what Mr. Ogden is doing [witnessing suicides] could be illegal. But we don't think that it follows, necessarily. [Post-secondary] researchers examine illegal acts all the time."
Ogden has always claimed to be a researcher and not a euthanasia activist.
In September 2006, I attended the World Federation of Right to Die Societies bi-annual convention in Toronto with two under-cover supporters. Ogden was an active participant.
One of the under-cover attendees of the conference sat beside Ogden at the banquet. Ogden explained to this person his involvement with his research. The under-cover attendee had a very difficult time digesting food as Russel explained his experiences.
Recently, the video that was produced by Jon Ronson on the death activitist George Exoo, showed how Ogden was a central part of the underground death culture as he attended the meetings and asked Exoo questions about his intention to commit suicide if he was to be extradited to Ireland in connection with his death actitivities.
Ogden is not a dispassionate researcher but rather a euthanasia activist.
In my opinion, in the past, when Ogden has made presentations to Canadian parliamentary committees, those presentations need to be viewed as Ogden acting as a lobbyist rather than a researcher.
Kwantlan University College was right to be concerned about his activities.
The National Post article can be found at: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=630214