Thursday, October 20, 2011


Press Release                                   For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BC Supreme Court Justice Lynne Smith ordered that the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and EPC - BC are granted standing to intervene in the euthanasia and assisted suicide case of Carter et al. v. Attorney General Canada which is presently scheduled for a four week trial to begin on November 14, 2011 in the BC Supreme Court. The case seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg states as follows:
“The decision granting our organization standing will enable us to represent our constituency of people with disabilities, seniors, healthcare practitioners and members of different cultural and religious backgrounds in order meet our mandate to preserve and enforce social, legal and medical safeguards prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide and promoting compassionate healthcare respectful of the lives, dignity and autonomy of vulnerable people.”
 Schadenberg notes that:
“This issue was debated last year in the Canadian Parliament and consistent with earlier Senate Committee reports, Parliament rejected Bill C-384 overwhelmingly a bill which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.”
Opposition Justice Critic Joe Comartin states:
 “The overwhelming defeat of Bill C384 reflects that there has not been a change in social consensus since the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the case of Rodriguez v. R in 1993.”
“One of the most significant concerns about legalization of assisted suicide and/or euthanasia relates to the inability to implement safeguards that could prevent the abuse of vulnerable people.”  
“To the extent that safeguards have been implemented in other jurisdictions around the world where assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal, these safeguards have proven illusory and have failed to protect against the abuse of vulnerable people.”
 EPC - BC Chair Dr. Will Johnston states:
 “This case is entirely consistent with the earlier Supreme Court of Canada decision in Rodriguez v. AG  BC where the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the criminal code prohibition against assisted suicide was constitutional and served as a valuable safeguard to protect vulnerable citizens from the risk of serious abuse.”
“EPC - BC has an important role to play in educating the public and the court about the significant risks to safety, security and equality of seniors and people with disabilities in the context of the present legal challenge and will be at the court on the day that the trial begins.”

EPC Counsel Hugh Scher notes:
“Concerns about safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors will be central to the arguments advanced by EPC before the court, as will concerns about medical ethics and the proposed change in the doctor-patient relationship.” 
For further information, please contact:
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: 519-851-1434
Dr. Will Johnston, EPC-BC Chair: 604-220-2042
Hugh Scher, EPC Counsel: 416-816-6115


Ironsides said...

Alex, I congratulate you guys for intervening in the case.

The Supreme-Court decision in the Sue-Rodriguez case does show that, contrary to critics, Canadian Laws are not outdated.

It results in people being brought to justice, where legal authorities are compliant with the Laws.

I really hope that EPC can win this case, because there also needs to be a renewed adherence to Canadian Laws by the provinces, too.

Ironsides said...

Dear Alex,

Before you guys go to trial, I just want to share a little more on points included in your post:

"...and promoting compassionate healthcare respectful of the lives, dignity and autonomy of vulnerable people." "

Home-care workers and nurse-assisstants (called PA's here) perform the same services. Overall, this hospital accomodates much of what the patients and their families want, regarding doctors' care. The long-term unit, and the acute-care floor who deal with chronic-care, see the same "patients" regularly. It is the department of nurses, where the strain in relations takes place.--And this holds true from personal experience at my apartment, between 1996-2000. Before that I always had people to live with.

Twice I was robbed by home-care workers, and only discovered it when I had to get groceries and pay my rent. I only needed help to get my legs on and off morning and night, dishes and trash taken care of, and my home-care workers had it pretty easy.

In an institutional-environment, nurses and PA's are a mix of good and bad. Due to being an insider, I mind my own business unless a patient or their family member talk complaints over with me. I automatically tell them their options, but if things are continuous, and I'm aware of it, I break all the rules they made here and have it out with the patient's offenders, and the head-nurses.

If I didn't have this constant retro-active threat of eviction, when problems get bad enough around here, I would probably try to see all the bi-lingual patients, to survey any complaints they have. Because I don't get involved with most recreation activities (too busy working with on-line activists and studying), I assume most of the patients are happy. The only trached patient I know who has been abused since he moved in a few years ago, has ALS.

He has written with extreme difficulty and pain, several letters to different influential people he knows. One of the worst situations all trached patients have to deal with, is having to be suctioned by a Respiratory-Technician or nurse, who have an attitude problem. I won't repeat what happened to me in 2008, when they could not intubate me for surgery, and inserted a trache (my second trache). One night-shift nurse took advantage of being the only person available, to suction during a 2-hour break of other ICU nurses and RT. I think it was retaliation for her friend, who lost his court-case against being fired in 2005, for taking a swing at me one night-shift.

This other patient's mother and him have demanded that 2 nurses are not allowed to treat him anymore, because of the continued physical and mental abuse.--However, schedules have always been co-ordinated to maintain, that the abusive nurses are the only nurses available, whenever it is scheduled that way.

These attitudes never existed before so much continuous attention is given to legalizing euthanasia/assissted-suicide.

Melody Marie said...

THANK YOU ALEX. A GREAT VICTORY. WELL DONE. -- the MAJORITY of Canadians support you -- Thanks for carrying this weight on behalf of us all.