Sunday, January 26, 2020

Care Not Killing responds to latest call for assisted suicide and euthanasia inquiry

Last week the UK parliament debated a motion to hold an assisted death inquiry. Care Not Killing sent out this media release concerning the call for an inquiry.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Care Not Killing has responded to the latest call for an inquiry into assisted suicide and euthanasia made in today’s Sunday Express by saying it not necessary or wanted.

Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing, commented: “The inquiry being called for is not necessary, or wanted as MPs, MSPs, Peers, Judges and other elected officials have reviewed, voted on and reviewed the laws more than 30 times since 2003.

Dr. Gordon Macdonald
On every occasion, they have rejected ripping up long held universal protections, that prevents the terminally ill and disabled people being treated in law because of their physical condition.

“Indeed this was recognised by Chris Philip MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice who told the House of Commons last week: ‘A number of members have raised the question of a review or a call for evidence. The Government does not have any plans at the moment to initiate any review or any call for evidence because the view being that it is for Parliament to act in this space…it is the position of the Government that it is for Parliament to decide this great issue of conscience. It is not for the Government to lead in this area’.

“Members of Parliament and elected officials on the Isle of Man who debated this issue just last week acknowledged evidence from around the world shows that removing these protections puts vulnerable people at risk of abuse and of coming under pressure, real or perceived, to end their lives prematurely.

“This evidence includes a report from the US National Council on Disability, which made for chill reading. It concluded in were small number of US states that have legalised assisted suicide safeguards were ineffective and oversight of abuse and mistakes was absent

“They also noted the problems in Canada which changed their law in 2016 to allow terminally ill people to request assisted suicide and euthanasia. Since then an estimated 13,000 people have been euthanised or helped to take their own life.

“Parliamentarians saw how laws can quickly be changed by the Courts. In September, the Quebec Superior Court struck down the requirement that a person be terminally ill before they qualify for euthanasia in Canada. It is unclear how far this extension goes, however we have already seen a depressed but otherwise healthy 61-year-old man, given a lethal injection. Alan Nichols, a former school caretaker, who had struggled with mental health problems for many years was admitted to Chilliwack General Hospital and euthanised despite not being terminally ill.

“No wonder not a single doctors group or major disability rights organisation in the UK supports changing the law, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Geriatric Society and the Association for Palliative Medicine.

“The current laws prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia provide a safeguard against abuse and exploitation and do not need changing. They do not need changing.”

For media inquiries, please contact Alistair Thompson on 07970 162225.


Editors Notes

Care Not Killing is a UK-based alliance bringing together over 40 organisations - human rights and disability rights organisations, health care and palliative care groups, faith-based organisations groups - and thousands of concerned individuals.

We have three key aims:
  • to promote more and better palliative care;
  • to ensure that existing laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide are not weakened or repealed; 
  • to inform public opinion further against any weakening of the law. 
We seek to attract the broadest support among health care professionals, allied health services and others opposed to euthanasia by campaigning on the basis of powerful arguments underpinned by the latest, well-researched and credible evidence.

*As this story is dealing with suicide, please could we ask that you include details about organisations that offer help and support to vulnerable people who might be feeling suicidal such as the Samaritans, CALM or similar organizations.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Pressuring a Hospice to Kill

This article was published by National Review online on January 24, 2020

Wesley Smith
By Wesley J Smith

In Canada, the government threatens to withdraw all funding from a facility that refuses to euthanize dying patients.
*Sign the petition: Hospice Organizations Must NOT be Forced to do Euthanasia (Link).
Should hospice professionals be forced to assist the suicides of their patients who want to die? Not too long ago, the answer to that question would have been an emphatic “Of course not!” Hospice is not about making people dead. Rather, it seeks to help terminally ill patients live well through intensive medical, spiritual, psychological, and social treatments to alleviate the pain and emotional suffering that dying people and their families may experience.

Don’t tell that to the provincial government of British Columbia. After the Supreme Court of Canada conjured a right for anyone diagnosed with a serious medical condition that causes “irremediable suffering” to receive lethal-injection euthanasia, British Columbia decided to require all medical facilities that receive at least 50 percent of their funding from the government to participate in what north of the 49th parallel is known euphemistically as “medical assistance in dying” (MAiD). When Delta Hospice Society, in Delta, British Columbia, announced that it would adhere to the hospice movement’s founding philosophy by banning euthanasia in its facility, the province’s minister of health threatened to cut off all provincial funding. Delta has until February 3 to yield to the euthanasia imperative or face a catastrophic financial crisis.

Delta Hospice
The power of the purse can be very persuasive, but Delta has not surrendered. Instead, searching for a compromise, it has offered to cut from its annual budget, of $3 million (Canadian dollars), $750,000 of the $1.4 million that it currently receives from the province. That would reduce the portion of its budget that comes from public funding to a point below the 50 percent threshold, allowing Delta to continue serving dying patients while maintaining its philosophical integrity. As of this writing, the authorities have not responded to Delta’s offer.

And what if all efforts at obtaining relief fail? While Ireland didn’t say it, one presumes that Delta would close the hospice rather than yield to the government’s orders to kill. Notably, the minister of health seems fine with that prospect.

Of course, this controversy isn’t really about Delta. British Columbia is sending a clarion message to all health-care providers: resistance to the euthanasia imperative is futile. Ireland understands the stakes. “We believe the nation is looking at our situation and [that it] will have a profound impact on other hospices. If the government can coerce us into killing our patients, they can force any hospice into doing it.”

The Delta coercion has ramifications far beyond the hospice sector. Canada is in the process of expanding health categories that qualify for doctor-administered death. Quebec just opened the door to allowing those with mental illness that is deemed “incurable” to receive euthanasia. The country also seems on the verge of requiring that a person diagnosed with progressive dementia be able to sign a legally binding written directive that she be killed when she becomes incapacitated. Also being seriously debated is the legalization of pediatric euthanasia, perhaps without parental permission in the case of “mature children.” Meanwhile, euthanasia and organ-harvesting have already been conjoined in the country — a utilitarian plum to society, celebrated and promoted in the media. If Delta can be compelled to board the euthanasia train, so too can psychiatric institutions, pediatric hospitals, nursing homes, memory-support facilities, and organ-transplant centers.

And it isn’t just medical facilities that are feeling the heat. In Ontario, an ethics rule of the provincial medical association requires doctors to participate in euthanasia, by either doing the deed or finding a doctor who will. A court of appeals has ruled that the requirement is binding, even if it violates a doctor’s religious beliefs. If doctors don’t want to be complicit in euthanasia, the court sniffed, they should either find another career or restrict their practices to such fields as podiatry, in which they won’t be asked to administer death.

What can the United States learn from all this? First, single-payer health care — socialized medicine — allows the government to control the medical profession with an iron fist and harness the sector into advancing controversial social policies. Second, euthanasia is an aggressive social pathogen that brooks no dissent. Once a society widely accepts the underlying premise that killing is an acceptable answer to suffering, access to euthanasia eventually becomes a right that the government must guarantee at the expense of the freedom of conscience of medical practitioners. Finally, access to euthanasia comes to matter more than the ability to assure quality treatment, with the authorities willing to accept a brain drain from the health-care sector rather than allow conscientious objection.

Canada is our closest cultural cousin: We had better be careful, or the same thing could happen here. If we don’t want that, we should reject assisted suicide and focus our national energies on caring instead of killing.

On the face of it, the government’s heavy-handedness makes no logical sense. Everyone acknowledges that Delta provides a very valuable service to the community. And it’s not as if the small hospice, with a mere ten beds, has the power to materially impede access to euthanasia in British Columbia, a province of nearly 5 million people. Indeed, since euthanasia was legalized in 2016, only three Delta patients have asked to be killed — and they were able to obtain their desired end by simply returning home or transferring to a hospital directly next door to the hospice. So, what gives?

Angeline Ireland, president of Delta, perceives a direct connection to socialism. When I asked her in an email interview why she thought the government was trying to force the hospice’s participation, she replied, “I would only be speculating,” but “primarily, I think it is ideological and agenda driven. Our provincial government is currently run by socialists. The Left has never valued human life. In socialized medicine the state controls and is all powerful.” She also believes there is a connection to the costs of health care. “I also wonder how much of it is driven by economics. HPC [hospice palliative care] is far more expensive than euthanasia.”

Delta is a secular facility, so what are its bases for refusing to kill? The administrators merely want the freedom to operate the facility according to the precepts of hospice moral philosophy. “HPC and Euthanasia are diametrically opposed,” Ireland tells me. “Our health-care discipline has been practiced for 40 years in Canada and in that time has excelled in providing pain and symptom-management to people. A patient can be stabilized to live out their life the best way possible. We have seen that people offered Hospice Palliative Care tend not to want euthanasia.”

I asked how Delta’s patients would be affected if the province agreed to cut its support of the hospice by $750,000. She told me that “other programs,” such as “bereavement services” for survivors and “a layer of administration,” would have to be cut until new sources of private or philanthropic funding could be found. But she was adamant that dying patients would not be affected, as Delta will “focus exclusively on our hospice.”

And if the government refuses Delta’s compromise and terminates all financial support? Ireland identified a bitter irony. “Over the last 20 years, we have subsidized the government healthcare system by raising $30 million and giving 750,000 voluntary labor hours directly into community healthcare,” she notes. But she remains adamant: “We will not provide euthanasia. If the government withdraws all its funding, we will try to operate on a privately funded downsized version. We will look for other partners to help us carry on our work.”

Will Delta go to court in that circumstance? Yes. “We have not done anything wrong,” Ireland says. “We have not defaulted on our contract. There is nothing in our contract which obliges us to perform euthanasia or have it provided on our premises.” However, seeking justice is expensive. “We could be on the right side of the law and the right side of history, but it will take $400 an hour to hire a lawyer to seek our remedy. Most not-for-profit organizations don’t have the luxury of standing up against Big Government, who have at their disposal seemingly unlimited legal resources.”

Quebec will officially extend euthanasia to include psychiatric conditions.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Sidhartha Banerjee, for the Canadian Press reports that the Québec government has officially decided to extend euthanasia to people with mental illness. The article reports:
Health Minister Danielle McCann told a news conference Tuesday that people with mental health issues who aren’t responding to treatment would be able to ask for the procedure — but she stressed such cases would be exceptional.
Before euthanasia (MAID) was legalized in Canada, the Québec Health Minister predicted that there would be about 100 lethal injection deaths per year. In 2019 there were approximately 5000 euthanasia deaths in Canada and there have been 13,000 since legalization.

The Québec College of Physicians is suggesting that euthanasia for mental conditions will be rare. Banerjee reported:
“We don’t expect many of these patients will qualify, because one of the other criteria that remains is to suffer from a disease that is not curable, which is not necessarily the case of all mental health situations,” said Dr. Yves Robert, the college’s secretary. “It will really be an individual, case-by-case decision that will be done.”
The decision of the Québec Health Minister is based on the September Québec lower court decision that struck down the "terminal illness" requirement in the euthanasia law. Since the law permits euthanasia for physical or psychological suffering, by removing the "terminal illness" requirement people with psychological suffering, who are not terminally ill qualify for euthanasia.
*Article: Quebec court expands Canada's euthanasia law by striking the terminal illness requirement. Euthanasia for psychological reasons is next (Link).
Dr Mark Komrad
Psychiatric professor Dr. Mark Komrad, commented on the Québec decision by warning American psychiatrists of his concerns:

Every nation that legalized these procedures has gradually expanded the criteria, according to the dictates of cherished values like fairness, parity, and related values that make it very difficult to deny these procedures to those just beyond whatever line has been drawn. And so it creeps. We in the US, need to be prepared that this mission creep is our future with the growing metastases of assisted suicide laws in many states. In fact, it was both to signal to other nations, and to prepare here in the US for the slippery slope reaching our psychiatric patients, that we passed our APA position statement. 
*Video: Why psychiatrists should oppose euthanasia (Link). 
I just want to remind you of the official position of the American Psychiatric Association:
The American Psychiatric Association, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.
The only way to stop the expansion of assisted death in the United States and other countries is by not legalizing it in the first place.

The euthanasia floodgates have opened in Canada. Based on fairness and "equality" the control of euthanasia for psychiatric conditions will be porous at best. Doctors won't deny euthanasia to one person when another person was lethally injected for the same or similar condition.

Canada's euthanasia law is not designed to be controlled. The approval procedure is designed to protect physicians from any prospect of being prosecuted and it uses a self-reporting system, whereby a physician who approves the death, can be the physician who carries out the death, and then be the same physician who reports the death. This system offers no effective oversight of the law and no prospect for control.

The question is, how can we put the genie back in the bottle?

Popular articles opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide.

1. Sick Kids Hospital Toronto will euthanize children with or without parental consent - Oct 10, 2018.

2. Paediatric Palliative Care Symposium and child euthanasia - February 26, 2018.

3. Declaration of Hope – Jan 1, 2016.

4. Fatal Flaws film will change the way you view assisted death - June 8, 2018.

5. Margaret Dore: Assisted Suicide: A Recipe for Elder Abuse and the Illusion of Personal Choice - Feb 17, 2011.

6. Kitty Holman: 5 reasons why people devalue the elderly – May 25, 2010.

7. Guide to answering the Canadian MAID consultation questionnaire - Jan 15, 2020.

8. Healthy 24-year-old Belgian woman who was approved for euthanasia, will live. Nov 12, 2015.

9. Kate Kelly: Mild stroke led to mother’s forced death by dehydration – Sept 27, 2011.

10.  The Euthanasia Deception documentary. - Sept 30, 2016.

11. Healthy 24 year old Belgian woman was scheduled for euthanasia - June 24, 2015.

12. Boycott Me Before You - "disability death porn" - May 26, 2016.

13. Depressed Belgian woman dies by Euthanasia – Feb 6, 2013.

14. Legalizing euthanasia saves money. Jan 23, 2017.

15. Dr's Annette Hanson & Ronald Pies: 12 Myths about Assisted Suicide and Medical Aid in Dying. July 9, 2018.

16. Physically healthy 23-year-old Belgian woman is being considered for euthanasia - October 14, 2019.

17.  Euthanasia is out-of-control in the Netherlands – Sept 25, 2012.

18. Belgian twins euthanized out of fear of blindness. – Jan 14, 2013.

19. Netherlands euthanasia review committee: euthanasia done on a woman with dementia was done in "good faith" -  Jan 28, 2017.

20. Mother upset after doctor urged her to approve assisted death for her daughter with disabilities - July 26, 2017.

21. Assisted suicide law prompts insurance company to deny coverage to terminally ill woman - Oct 20, 2016. 

22. Judge upheld decision. Assisted suicide is prohibited in California. May 31, 2018.

23. Woman dies by euthanasia, may only have had a bladder infection - Nov 14, 2016.

24. Woman with Anorexia Nervosa dies by euthanasia in Belgium – Feb 10, 2013.

25. New Mexico assisted suicide bill is the most extreme bill - Dec 21, 2018.

26. 29-year-old healthy Dutch woman died by assisted death for psychiatric reasons. Jan 15, 2018. 

Become a member of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition ($25) membership.

More important articles:

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Isle of Man rejects assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Isle of Man rejected a motion to consider legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide (assisted death). After a five-hour debate the House of Keys rejected to call for further investigation into changing the assisted suicide laws.

Dr Gordon Macdonald, Chief Executive of Care Not Killing, commented in their media release:

“This is a sensible decision that will bring relief to those with terminal and chronic conditions on the Isle of Man and who fear changing the law on assisted suicide and euthanasia.

“Laws such as the Isle of Man’s Criminal Law Act which prohibit assisted suicide and euthanasia are essential to protect vulnerable people. The operation of the Suicide Act and murder legislation in other parts of the British Isles, covering assisted suicide and euthanasia has been reviewed dozens of times by MPs, MSPs, peers, other elected officials, judges even the former Director of Public Prosecution. Every time, they have rejected introducing a law that would discriminate against the terminally ill and disabled people by removing long held universal protections.

The current laws ensure all people are treated equally and deters vulnerable people at risk of abuse and of coming under pressure, real or perceived to end their lives prematurely, which is what the evidence from around the world shows.
Dr Gordon Macdonald
Dr Macdonald also commented on the Canadian experience with legalized assisted death:

“If further evidence was needed, then Canada provides this. In 2016, Canada changed their law to allow terminally ill people to request assisted suicide and euthanasia. In just four years the numbers of those dying in this way has gone from just over 1,000 to more than 5,000 per year. Then in September, the Quebec Superior Court struck down the requirement that a person be terminally ill before they qualify for euthanasia in Canada, opening up assisted suicide and euthanasia to those suffering with chronic conditions and mental health problems.

“Indeed in July a depressed, but otherwise healthy 61-year-old man, was euthanised in the province of British Columbia. Alan Nichols, a former school caretaker who lived alone and had struggled with depression, was killed by lethal injection in Chilliwack General Hospital.
Dr Macdonald concluded:
“No wonder not a single doctors group or major disability rights organisation supports changing the law, including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Physicians, the British Geriatric Society and the Association for Palliative Medicine. The current laws prohibiting assisted suicide and euthanasia do not need changing.”
It is terrible that Canada is experiencing the number of deaths and abuse of our laws, but at least others are recognizing our folly and deciding not to follow Canada's lead.

Assisted suicide lobby to appeal Massachusetts court decision stating there is no right to assisted suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The assisted suicide lobby will appeal the Massachusetts Superior Court decision from January 10 that decided there is no right to assisted suicide in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts court decision recognized the difficulty in accurate patient assessment to approve MAID, which is an irreversible decision. The court decision challenged the concept that MAID is a form of medical treatment and pointed out that even in Oregon the oversight of the law is questionable at best.

Finally, the Massachusetts court found that oversight and control of assisted suicide laws are lacking. The risk related to assisted suicide is great.

In its media release the assisted suicide lobby stated:

“We are disappointed with this ruling and we plan to appeal it,” said John Kappos, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, which worked with the Boston-based law firm Morgan Lewis and Compassion & Choices to file the suit on behalf of Dr. Kligler and Dr. Steinbach.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) reported that the Massachusetts court decision provided an excellent explanation of why assisted suicide should be prohibited. Based on this cogent analysis, the Court of Appeal should uphold the lower court decision.

The Massachusetts legislature may be debating an assisted suicide bill in 2020. Since the Massachusetts court of appeal is considering the assisted suicide issue, therefore it is inappropriate for the Massachusetts legislature to debate the issue until the appeal is completed.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Approximately 5000 Canadians died by euthanasia in 2019 and 13,000 since legalization

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The media is reporting that there have been more than 6700 MAID deaths in Canada since it was legalized. I estimate that there have been at least 13,000 euthanasia deaths and here is how I defend this estimate.

First, the 6700 statistic was based on the Fourth Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying released by Health Canada on April 25, 2019 which stated that there were 6700 assisted deaths up to October 31, 2018. The data in the report from Quebec and the three Territories was incomplete. The Quebec data in the Health Canada report was up until March 31, 2018. (Link to my commentary on the report)

The Health Canada report was sloppy by stating that the number assisted deaths represented 1.12% of all deaths. The Health Canada report divided the number of reported assisted deaths into the total deaths, but they did not remove the total Quebec deaths from March 31 - October 31 from the equation.

The accurate number of assisted deaths as of December 31, 2018, was 7949.

On March 21, 2019 I reported that there were 7949 assisted deaths in Canada as of December 31, 2018 representing 4235 assisted deaths in 2018, an increase of 50% over 2017, representing almost 1.5% all deaths in 2018. The data from my report was obtained from a presentation by Jocelyn Downie, an academic euthanasia activist, who spoke on March 15, 2019 to a Royal Society of Canada luncheon in Ottawa.

Similar to the Netherlands and Belgium, nearly all of the assisted deaths are euthanasia (lethal injection) rather than assisted suicide.

We don't have national assisted death statistics for 2019 but we do have accurate data from Ontario and Alberta

The Ontario Office of the Chief Coroner sends monthly updates on the number of assisted deaths. According to the data there were 1789 reported assisted deaths in 2019, 1499 in 2018, 841 in 2017. There was almost a 20% increase in Ontario assisted deaths in 2019. What is more striking about the data is the increase in the second half of 2019 where there were 1015 assisted deaths in the second half of 2019 up from 774 in the first six months of 2019, meaning that Ontario will likely have more than 2000 assisted deaths in 2020.

Alberta Health Services updates there assisted death data regularly. The Alberta data indicates that there were 377 assisted deaths in 2019 up from 307 in 2018, and 206 in 2017. The data indicates a 23% increase in Alberta assisted deaths in 2019.

Since both Ontario and Alberta had approximately a 20% increase in 2019, I would assume that there was a similar increases nationally. Therefore there approximately 5000 
(4235 + 20%) assisted deaths in Canada in 2019 and 13,000  assisted deaths since legalization. Even if the numbers were slightly lower than 5000 in 2019, today is January 20, so it is safe to say that there has been 13,000 assisted deaths since legalization.

But that is not the whole story.

Canada's data collection system does not account for under-reporting of assisted deaths, but Quebec's data collection system can account for under-reporting. Quebec employs a multi report system making it possible to uncover the number of times a physician didn't report the assisted death.

Based on an analysis by Amy Hasbrouck and Taylor Hyatt, the Quebec interim report indicated that between April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018 there were 142 unaccounted assisted deaths in the data representing 17% of all assisted deaths. The Quebec Interim report also indicated that 7 assisted deaths did not fit the criteria of the law, 22 assisted deaths did not follow procedural safeguards and in 67 assisted deaths, the physician did not provide the necessary information to determine if the patient fit the criteria of the law.

Based on the Quebec Interim report, if we extrapolate the data to all of Canada, it would suggest that there may have been more than 2000 (17%) unreported assisted deaths in Canada and approximately 60 assisted deaths that did not fit the criteria of the law.

This article is based on hard facts and conservative estimates. The fact is that Canada's assisted death law is quickly going out of control. The recent federal government consultation, that employs biased questions, is not concerned about Canadians whose lives are taken without due process.

MAID in Canada: A Thankless Fight

This article was published by Convivium on January 20, 2020

Peter Stockland
As Canadians weigh in on prospective changes to MAiD laws, Peter Stockland sits down with Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s Alex Schadenberg to discuss his serious concerns with the country’s trajectory.

By Peter Stockland

Alex Schadenberg has been leading the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in the thankless fight against doctor-administered death for more than 20 years.

In the nearly 10 years that I’ve known him in that capacity, I’ve never heard him so close to almost terminal frustration. Irrepressible by apparent genetic disposition, Schadenberg continues to urge on the battle. But the federal government’s latest “public consultation” on revisions to the 2016 Medical Assistance in Dying law has him sending out signals of serious retrenchment.

“My focus is becoming far more heavily on how we protect our own,” the EPC executive director says with a discernible tinge of weariness in his voice. “It’s important (to remind) the whole compassionate care community, those who recognize the nature of the human person, that just because you think euthanasia is wrong doesn’t mean that in your own time of darkness, you will not also succumb. We have to recognize that’s how humans are and how we react.”
Alex Schadenberg
Schadenberg’s reaction to recent events in the pushing forward of MAiD is a far cry from his unwavering certainty a decade ago that euthanasia and assisted dying not only could, but would, be stopped by battling on all fronts from the legislative and legal to media-shaped popular opinion.

Long invariably irenic, he sounds incensed describing the fight that has blown up in B.C. where the provincial government has ordered a hospice in the Vancouver suburb of Delta to begin permitting medical assistance in dying contrary to its founding principles. But there is a special scorn in his voice for Ottawa’s online “consultations” that were launched Jan. 13 and will end next Monday.

*Delta Hospice Must Not Be Forced to do Euthanasia (Link).
Federal Justice Minister David Lametti and two of his Liberal cabinet colleagues are shepherding the process in response, at least purportedly, to a 2019 Quebec lower court ruling that found Ottawa’s MAiD law to be unconstitutional. A one-judge decision in September held that the Criminal Code cannot require death to be “foreseeable” before poison can be injected into a patient’s veins. An equivalent stipulation in a bill passed by Quebec’s National Assembly was also struck down. The judgement will have the force of law in the province by March 11.
*Guide to answering the Canadian MAID Consultation Questionnaire (Link).
Schadenberg scoffs at the very idea of the federal government asking the public for direction when it failed to even do its constitutional duty and appeal the low court verdict through the Quebec appeal courts and ultimately to the Supreme Court of Canada. He also finds it darkly laughable that Justice Minister Lametti is reassuring Canadians the decision applies only in Quebec.
“They (the federal government) know there’s not a judge in the land who’s going to let a prosecutor go after a physician for performing euthanasia on someone whose natural death was not reasonably foreseeable. It’s been decided by the Quebec court already, and whether I like it or you like it, it is a national decision and the law has technically been changed anyway,” he says.
In Schadenberg’s eyes, the online appeal for public advice is a “dog and pony show…a set up…almost a sham” for the foregone conclusion of expanding MAiD far beyond the initial limits embedded in the already-flawed 2016 federal legislation. He picks apart several of the questions being put to Canadians, particularly one that asks whether MAiD should be available only when doctor and patient agree reasonable efforts to relieve suffering have been tried without success.
“Writing the question the way they did assumes I agree MAiD should be available. But of course I don’t agree with that. They’ve very carefully left me no way, though, to answer that I don’t agree. I don’t like people playing with me or using me like that.”
Hard as it might seem, he fears there’s worse coming. The consultation does not ask, for example, about extending MAiD to children, something many of its advocates began pushing for almost before the ink was dry on the 2016 legislation. That might seem cause for relief – except to someone who’s been face first in the euthanasia and assisted suicide issue for more than two decades.
“It makes me think they’re not done yet,” Schadenberg says. “As much talking as they’ve done about adding children, maybe they didn’t think now was the right time to do it. They left children off this list because they’ll be back looking at another list of changes in the future.”
As bleak – and gruesomely cynical – as all that sounds, the warrior in him refuses to say “die” and abandon the field. He finds hope in the prospect of applying pressure at the provincial level to limit at least the worst excesses of administering medical aid in dying. Even Ottawa’s woeful attempt at ersatz public consultation is worth indulging if only to remind those opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide that their defiance must remain stalwart in the darkest of times.
“Silence is not golden. I can’t just be quiet and hope it’s all going to turn out well in the end because I don’t think it will turn out well in the end if we stay quiet. So, please, participate. Who knows? This might be the best time of all to express your opposition.”

Luxembourg reports 71 euthanasia deaths in 10 years. The euthanasia lobby want more death.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

RTL News reported that Luxembourg has had 71 euthanasia deaths in the past 10 years, but the euthanasia lobby want more.

According to RTL news, a recent survey found that only 40% of the people in Luxembourg know that euthanasia is legal. The response by the euthanaia lobby is to promote more euthanasia.

The legalization of euthanasia in Luxembourg resulted in a constitutional crisis. Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg refused to sign the bill into law forcing the Duchy of Luxembourg to change its constitution by removing the power of the Grand Duke to sign legislation before it becomes the law of the land.

Grand Duke Henri
Grand Duke Henri argued that the legalization of euthanasia was unnecessary because the fear of suffering for people with terminal conditions can be effectively treated by palliative care. He further argued that it was unjust to legalize the practise of killing people and that his conscience could not permit him to sign such a bill into law.

Grand Duke Henri was a Hero
. Very few world leaders have had the strength to stand up for justice and oppose euthanasia. Even though the Grand Duke could not stop the legalisation of euthanasia, he forced the Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies to change the constitution before it could enact into law the direct and intentional killing of its most vulnerable citizens by euthanasia.