Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide in Canada

Canadian province of Quebec has a grotesque practice that leads to what could be considered one-stop-shopping for death.
“Euthanasia in Quebec: seamless service at a friendly funeral parlour”
(Bioedge — May 30, 2023)
“In Quebec, the number of cases of euthanasia has risen from 63 in 2015-2016 to 3663 in 2012-2022.  Nowadays many patients find it difficult to find a place where they can receive the lethal injection.
“A funeral director in Quebec has come up with a novel solution.  Clients of the Haut-Richelieu funeral home use one of its rooms to die in and are then transported to the workshop for embalming and placement in a casket.  It is a seamless service….
“The doctors interviewed were not disconcerted by the novelty of the business. ‘With medical assistance in dying, it takes a company anyway to pick up the remains, said one doctor. So if for an additional fee they provide people with a living room for a few hours before medical assistance in dying, why not?   It’s a matter of personal choice’”

“Canada shouldn’t deny assisted suicide if social conditions made life intolerable: bioethicists”
(National Post — May 9, 2023)
Two University of Toronto bioethicists argue that, while decisions may be “deeply tragic,” it would be wrong to deny medical assistance in dying to people whose request is being driven most of all by poverty or other unjust conditions.

“More than we imagined? Unresolved tensions and the current state of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada
(MLI — April 20, 2023)
Canadian legislators appear determined to make Canada a world leader on access to Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) or as it is called in other countries: physician-assisted suicide, medically assisted death, or euthanasia.

“RCMP called to investigate multiple cases of veterans being offered medically assisted death”
(CBC Canada — November 24, 2022)
Four — perhaps even five — Canadian military veterans were given the option if medically-assisted death (MAID) by a now suspended Veterans Affairs Canada caseworker, the country’s veterans minister told a House of Commons committee late Thursday.

“How Canada became a world leader in euthanasia”
(Spiked — October 26, 2022)
When Canadian campaigners achieved their goal of legalizing euthanasia for the terminally ill, did anyone think they would stop there? …
What we’re seeing in Canada today is what happens when a country convinces itself that lethal injections are a normal part of healthcare.  It is what happens when death is treated as a solution to life’s problems.

“Scheduled to  Die: The Rise of Canada’s Assisted Suicide Program”
(Common Sense — October 11, 2022)
What do you do when you discover your son has made an appointment for his death?
On September 7, Margaret Marsilla called Joshua Tepper, the doctor who planned to kill her son.

“Canada is Euthanizing Its Sick and Poor. Welcome to the World of Government Health Care”
(Daily Signal –August 24, 2022)
According to the Associated Press, a 61-year-old man died of euthanasia after a one month waiting period.  He was said to be suffering from hearing loss.

Also, according to AP, another man was so unnerved by his hospital’s health care providers discussing euthanasia with him that he started to record conversations. During one reported conversation, the hospital’s director of ethics tried to guilt him into thinking about the cost of his hospital stay.  The director told him it would cost “north of $1,500 a day.”

Global News Canada reported that a Canadian military veteran, pursuing treatment for PTSD and a brain injury was told, completely unprovoked, that he could receive medical assistance in dying by a Veterans Affairs Canada agent.

Canada is already beginning to consider allowing so-called mature minors to end their lives by Medical Aid in Dying.

Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada 2021
(Publication date: July 2022)
In 2021, there were 10,064 Medical Aid in Dying Deaths [euthanasia or assisted suicide] in Canada (p. 19).
Since legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada in 2016, 31,664 people have died from Medical Aid in Dying (p. 19)

Canadian Children’s Activity Book Indoctrinates Kids into Euthanasia
(National Review — July 29, 2022)
Children are being indoctrinated into everything that subverts traditional values these days, and in Canada that includes bringing children along when a loved one is euthanized — which goes by the euphemism of MAID for medical assistance in dying….
The Medical Assistance in Dying Activity book is described as being for children ages 6-12.  In it, the child is taught how a person is killed by euthanasia….
And there are activities for the child.

“Coelho: Medical assistance in dying overused in Canada even before expansion”
(The London Free Press — London, Ontario, July 9, 2022)
“Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAiD) is the most permissive euthanasia and assisted suicide law in the world.
“The United Nations special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, the UN  independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, and the special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights have all warned our Canadian government that our MAiD law will lead to human rights violations….”

June 2, 2022
A proposed
law, if passed, would be an advance directive requesting a lethal prescription if the patient loses capacity.
Canadian Senator Wallin has introduced S.B. 248 that would permit doctors or nurse practitioners to administer deadly drugs to patients who had requested them up to five years in advance of losing capacity.
[See Waiver — specified conditions (3.22).]
According to the official summary [p. ii], if enacted, the bill would amend the Criminal Code to:
(a) permit an individual whose death is not reasonably foreseeable to enter into a written arrangement to receive medical assistance in dying on a specified day if they lose the capacity to consent to receiving medical assistance in dying prior to that day; and
(b) permit an individual who has been diagnosed with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability to make a written declaration to waive the requirement for final consent when receiving medical assistance in dying, are suffering from symptoms outlined in the written declaration and have met all other relevant safeguards outlined in the Criminal Code.

“Woman with chemical sensitivities chose medically-assisted death after failed bid to get better housing”
(CTV News — April 16, 2022)
“A 51-year-old Ontario woman with severe sensitivities to chemicals chose medically-assisted death after her desperate search for affordable housing free of cigarette smoke and chemical cleaners failed, advocates say.”
[Note:  The woman changed her mind when she received donations making it possible to get the necessary housing.]

“Canadian church hosts controversial assisted suicide ceremony for member with ALS”
(The Christian Post — April 2022)
Churchill Park United Church of Winnipeg hosted what it described as a “Crossing Over Ceremony” in which the typical sanctuary seating was removed and replaced with comfortable chairs, tables, flowers and a recliner where 86-year-old Betty Sanguin sat during the event as people came in and went throughout the day to say their goodbyes. The chemical injection to hasten death began at 1 p.m.  And hour later, Sanguin was dead.

When Canada passed a law permitting both euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016, it was to permit such deaths for those who had a “serious and incurable disease, illness or disability that included enduring an intolerable suffering.”

Last year, the Canadian Parliament expanded the law to include those with non-life-threatening disabilities.  Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler, Jr. denounced the revision.  According to Mohler, “Once you buy into the logic of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia, you find yourself in almost every case just extending the logic further and further.

“Canada Pioneers One-Stop Euthanasia/Mortuary Centers”
(National Review — October 31, 2021)
“Talk about efficiency.  Some enterprising Canadian funeral homes are offering their, er, customers the option of one stop death and mortuary services, renting out a room in which to be killed and then quickly prepared for final disposition….
“Euthanasia changes society at fundamental levels — and not for the better.”

“Canadian funeral homes break into the MAiD market”
(BioEdge — October 30, 2021)
A funeral director in Ontario, Paul Needham, told CBC “They [families] wanted the procedure, but had no place to go”….
Some players in the industry have responded by setting aside rooms where loved ones can gather around a bed while a doctor gives a lethal injection….”I suggest they can make it how they want it: bring some of your favorite music, bring flowers, bring food, or if you like, bring a bottle of wine…”

New assisted dying law threatens vulnerable citizens
(The Hamilton Spectator — August17, 2021)
Medical assistance in dying (MAID), introduced in 2016 to relieve suffering near end of life, already accounts for two percent of all deaths in Canada, approaching four percent in some regions.  This number will increase with recent passage of Bill C-7, which removes previous safeguards and dramatically expands eligibility for MAID.  Ottawa has extended MAID to nondying individuals with disabilities, and will also provide MAID for mental illness within two years.

Second Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada 2020
(Publication date: June 2021)
Canada permits MAID (both euthanasia by lethal injection and assisted suicide).
In 2020, there were 7,595 cases of MAID, accounting for 2.5% of all deaths. (p.5)
The most commonly cited reason for requesting MAID was the  loss of ability to engage in meaningful activities (84.9%) followed by a loss of ability to perform activities of daily living (81.7%). (P. 6)

“Canada is plunging toward a human rights disaster for disabled people”
(Washington Post — February 19, 2021)
Legalizing assisted death for disabled people only fortifies the underlying problem. Canada has long mistreated its disabled citizens.  This bill is a workaround for that problem, not a solution.
More on Disability Perspective

“Wider access to assisted dying in Canada will be catastrophic for the disabled”
(National Post — February 13, 2021)
Nobody is more sensitive to the inevitable consequence than David Shannon, who became quadriplegic following a spinal cord injury in a rugby scrum at age 18….”I’ve loved and been loved.  My proudest accomplishment is that I lived.”
More on Disability Perspective

“Stop telling people with disabilities they might be better off dead”
(Toronto Star — December 21, 2020)
People with disabilities are constantly bombarded with the subtle and not-so-subtle message that it’s better to be dead than disabled.  We know from experience that this has an impact on the way people are treated in public, in private and in health care.
More on Disability Perspective

“Facing another retirement home lockdown, 90-year-old chooses medically  assisted death”
(CTV News – November 19, 2020)
Across Canada. long-term care homes and retirement homes are seeing rising cases of COVID-19….Taking another toll among those who don’t have COVID-19. Residents eat meals in their rooms, have activities and social gatherings cancelled…. These measures, aimed at saving lives, can sometimes be detrimental enough to the overall health of residents that they find themselves looking into other options.
More on Coronavirus
More on Loneliness

Canadian Official Report on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD)
[Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide] Statistics for 2019 — Published July 2020
Official statistics indicate that 5,631 Canadians died of MAiD in 2019. [See pg. 18]
Of those, the nature of suffering reported for 13.7% of patients was isolation or loneliness. [See pg. 32]
More on Loneliness

“Hundreds of Sick Canadians Euthanized over Loneliness”
(National Review — July 28, 2020)
That’s about 771 people, or 64 a month, or two per day.
More on Loneliness

“In every other field, from airplanes to new medicines, the onus is on the advocate to provide clear, scientific evidence that the idea is safe”
(The Province — July 9, 2020)
There is something troubling, even dangerous, about the way medical assistance in dying (MAiD) is evolving in Canada, and that is the absence of evidence.

“Involve the kids in euthanasia, advises Canadian doctor”
(BioEdge — February 29, 2020)
Bedside gatherings at Canadian euthanasia are normally an adults only affair.  But one doctor suggests that young children would benefit from being involved.  She gives some tips saying, “If the adults surrounding them normalize MAID [Medical Aid in Dying], so will the children.” [emphasis added]  She suggests this for children as young as 4.

“Forcing a Hospice to Euthanize in Canada”
(National Review — December 17, 2019)
The ongoing assault on medical conscience in Canada demonstrates how the culture of death brooks no dissent.  The same thing will happen here if we let the wolf in the door.

“Organ donation and euthanasia make a good team in Ontario”
(BioEdge — October 20, 2019)
There is a startling statistic tucked away in Ontario’s September quarter euthanasia statistics.  A total of 519 people were euthanised from July 1 to September 30….Of the total  euthanised, it appears, from governments sketchy summary, 30 donated organs.  In other words, somehow the euthanising doctor and the transplant surgeons coordinated efforts…
More on Organ Donation

“Quebec court strikes down restriction to medically assisted dying law, calls it unconstitutional”
(The Globe and Mail, Health Reporter — September 11, 2019)
The portion of the federal assisted dying law [which permits both assisted suicide and death by lethal injection] was a clause that required patients’ natural deaths be “reasonably foreseeable.”

“Canada Conjoins Euthanasia and Organ Harvesting”
(American Spectator — June 8, 2019)
“In the three years since lethal injection euthanasia became legal in Canada, at least thirty people were organ harvested after being euthanized….”
A major ethics “Guidance” about the procedure was just published in the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association.
More on Organ Donation and Organ Transplantation

“Ontario’s highest court rules doctors must give referrals for services  they oppose”
(CBC — May 15, 2019)
Doctors in Ontario are obligated to give referrals for medical services that clash with their moral or religious beliefs, the province’s highest court has ruled.
[Under this ruling doctors would need to refer for euthanasia by lethal injection and assisted suicide by provision of a lethal drug overdose, both of which  are legal in Canada.]

“At least 1.12% of deaths in Canada are due to euthanasia”
(BioEdge — April 27, 2019)
According to the Fourth Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying, there were at least 2,414 “medically assisted deaths” in Canada between January 1 and October 31, 2018….It is interesting to note that only 6 of all reported MAID deaths were attributable to assisted suicide.  Nearly all patients wanted their doctors to administer a lethal injection.

“Canadian Doctors Get Ready for Child Euthanasia”
(National Review — November 6, 2018)
When these horrors are brought up in euthanasia debates in the United States, assisted-suicide advocates wave off the concern as mere slippery-slope advocacy and sniff that whatever policies Belgium and Netherlands have adopted, those countries are very different culturally from the United States.  Now that blithe assurance is poised to become inoperable, as Canada appears on the verge of allowing children to be  euthanized.
[Note: Canada permits both euthanasia by lethal injection and doctor-prescribed suicide.]

“Vancouver Island records highest rate of assisted death in Canada”
(Vancouver Sun — October 16, 2018)
The total accounted for 3.6 percent of expected deaths on the Island in the two years after medically assisted dying became legal on June 17, 2016…
By contrast, it took more than 15 years for the rate of medically assisted deaths in the Netherlands to reach 3.9 percent of all deaths.
[Note: Canada permits both euthanasia by lethal injection and doctor-prescribed suicide.]

“Child Euthanasia without Parent Approval Pushed for Canada”
(The Corner — October 2, 2018)
Can  you imagine visiting your sick child, only to learn that hospital doctors killed her because she asked to die and wanted you kept in the dark?  The rage and agony would be unimaginable.

“Robert Latimer, Who Murdered His Disabled Daughter, Wants Pardon”
(National Review — July 23, 2018)
In 1993, while most of his family was away at church, Robert Latimer took his twelve-year-old daughter Tracy, disabled by cerebral palsy, out to the barn.  He put her in his truck, turned on the engine, closed the door, and waited for his daughter to asphyxiate.
He was convicted of second-degree murder….If Latimer receives a new trial or Prime Minister Trudeau agrees to a pardon, it will send the insidious message that dead is better than disabled.

Canada: “Medically assisted deaths in last half of 2017 up almost 30 Percent”
(CTV News — June 21, 2018)
Almost 4,000 people have chosen medical assistance to end their lives since the practice became legal in Canada two years ago….There were no cases of self-administered assisted deaths during the period.

“Third Interim Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada”
(June 2018)
Data in the report covers the period from July 1 to December 31, 2017.

“Lack of palliative care pushing Quebecers toward medically assisted death, College of Physicians says”
(CBC Canada — May 31, 2018)|
Lack of palliative care services in parts of Quebec may be forcing patients to choose medical aid in dying as a way to end their lives with dignity, says Quebec’s College of Physicians.

“Two years of euthanasia in Quebec: the facts”
(Mercatornet– December 12, 2017)
[T]hese two years of euthanasia in Quebec have turned the exceptional measure into a promotable solution: safeguards became barriers to access, and the strict criteria — intended to protect vulnerable people — became cruel and discriminatory.

Canadian report indicates that the vast majority of deaths under the country’s “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID) law are from euthanasia, not assisted suicide.
(April 26, 2017)
Of 507 reported deaths, 504 were clinician-administered (euthanasia)  [from lethal injection].  Only 3 reported deaths were self-administered (assisted suicide).
[Page 3, Table 2]

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UNICEF Canada lobbies lawmakers to make “physician-assisted dying” (which includes doctor-prescribed suicide and euthanasia by lethal injection) available to children.
In its May 11, 2016 brief, UNICEF states,”In our view, this would be consistent with a cautious and balanced child rights-based approach to the question of medically-assisted death, having regard to the lessons learned in the Netherlands and Belgium.”  It further notes that “in 2014, Belgium amended its legislation and became the first country in the world to remove any age restrictions on physician-assisted death.”

New Canadian legislation (Bill C-14) introduced to implement 2015 Supreme Court Decision permitting medically assisted death. 
Text of Bill C-14

“Nurse practitioners would provide assisted death under new legislation”
(Global News — April 14, 2016)
Under the proposed legislation, physicians and nurse practitioners would be protected from Criminal Code prosecution for helping patients to end their lives, either through the prescribing of lethal drugs for self-administration or for euthanasia, in which the practitioner injects the fatal medications.
Other health-care practitioners peripherally involved in assisted death, such as pharmacists, physician assistants, registered nurses and social workers, would also be protected from prosecution.

A bit of irony — or tragedy — in Canada?
(January 2016)
Although Canada’s new health minister has acknowledged that there is evidence that only 15 percent of Canadians have access to high quality pain control, parliament has been told that special traveling teams should be available to deliver physician-assisted death to the country’s remote regions to guarantee that patients can have their lives ended.

Canadian Supreme Court strikes down law prohibiting assisted suicide
(February 6, 2015)
The Court agreed with a lower court ruling, concluding that the law “deprives a competent adult of such assistance where (1) the person affected clearly consents to the termination of life; and (2) the person has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”
The decision does not indicate that doctor-prescribed suicide and doctor-administered death would be limited to those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The Court has suspended implementation of its decision for one year.
Text of Court ruling

“Two years of euthanasia in Quebec: the facts”
(Mercatornet– December 12, 2017)
[T]hese two years of euthanasia in Quebec have turned the exceptional measure into a promotable solution: safeguards became barriers to access, and the strict criteria — intended to protect vulnerable people — became cruel and discriminatory.

“Island woman granted second chance at life after jumping from ferry”
(CTV Vancouver Island — December 7, 2017)
Mya DeRyan had a plan.  She would jump from a ferry to Nanaimo into the frigid October water to end more than a year of suffering from what she was told was a terminal illness.
More on Misdiagnosis

“Most caregivers favour assisted dying for Alzheimer’s patients: survey”
(Montreal Gazette — September 21, 2017)
A survey found that 91 percent of respondents support the idea of assisted dying for individuals suffering from dementia…72 percent said they were for assisted dying even for Alzheimer’s patients who did not sign a written directive before their illness.

Jean-Francois Lamarche, president of the Alzheimer’s federation, said his group will remain neutral on the question of whether to expand assisted dying to people with dementia.
More on Alzheimer’s

“Woman, 77, with osteoarthritis approved for euthanasia in Canada after confusion over wording of assisted dying law”
(Daily Mail — June 27, 2017)
Under Canadian law, a patient is eligible for euthanasia or assisted suicide if they are enduring severe suffering and their death is “reasonably foreseeable.”  The woman, known as AB, was experiencing enduring pain from her arthritis but the question remained as to whether her death was reasonably foreseeable.
A judge ruled that, because she was almost 80-years-old, her death is reasonably foreseeable and therefore she was approved for medically assisted death.

“Opinion: Treatment, not assisted death, for mentally ill people”
(Montreal Gazette — May 8, 2017)
There is now a call to make medically assisted death available to those with mental illness, seeing this as a socially progressive step forward.  But isn’t a more progressive and patient-centered agenda one in which we first demand that our governments be held accountable for withholding funding or effective treatments that actually help patients live good and meaningful lives?

“Cost analysis of medical assistance in dying in Canada”
(Canadian Medical Association Journal — January 23, 2017)
Medical assistance in dying could reduce annual health care spending across Canada by between $34.7 million and $138.8 million…
[Note: It’s hardly surprising that ending patients’ lives, rather than providing them with health care, saves money.]

“Canadian assisted death bill would exclude Americans”
(USA Today — April 14, 2016)
Canada unveiled an assisted death bill Thursday designed to ease the ed of life for terminally ill patients while slamming the door on “suicide tourism” to ensure Americans and others won’t flock there to die.

“Quebec doctors group says some suicide victims were being allowed to die”
(News Talk 1010 — March 18, 2016)
It has surfaced that in some hospitals, some doctors have opted not to resuscitate some people who had tried to commit suicide…some doctors were interpreting these suicide attempts as an implicit refusal of treatment — even though a treatment spread out over a few days could have saved them with no, or almost no, after-effects.

“‘Certain death:’ Ill man set to ask court to die by single lethal injection”
(680 News — March 16, 2016)
The “Quebec protocol” calls for a three-step process that starts with sedation, followed by putting the patient into an artificial coma, then administering a powerful muscle relaxant that causes breathing and the heart to stop…
Under the protocol the dispensing pharmacist is required to prepare two identical sealed kits — in case there’s an issue with the first one — containing the deadly drugs along with the needed injection materials for use by the doctors.
[Post script: The court approved the death on March 17 and the man died of the lethal injection the following day.]

“Right-to-die hits another snag with nurses”
(Vancouver Sun — March 3, 2016)
A B.C. doctor leading the efforts to provide physician-assisted dying says she’s being thwarted in her efforts to recruit nurses to help administer intravenous drugs.

“Inside Canada’s secret world of medical error: “There is a lot of lying, there’s a lot of cover-up”
(National Post — January 16, 2015, updated March 2)
Most instances of the system hurting rather than healing patients are not even reported by staff internally, a National Post investigation has documented.
Research suggests that about 70,000 patients a year experience preventable, serious injury as a result of treatments.
By contrast, preventable injury and deaths in many other arenas — from homicides to industrial accidents and road crashes — are routinely divulged by police or other authorities.

“Doctors help terminally ill Calgary woman end her life after court ruling”
(Calgary Herald — March 1, 2016)
A terminally ill Calgary woman who suffered from ALS died in Vancouver with the help of two physicians.  Her death came after a court ruling the previous day, permitting her “physician-assisted death.”

“High-profile right-to-die case in B.C. faces new probe”
(Vancouver Sun — March 1, 2016)
The action comes after Margot Bentley’s family stopped paying $4,000 a month to the nursing home where she lives to protest the home’s refusal to stop spoon-feeding her.

“Traveling physicians could provide assisted death in remote areas, committee told”
(Ottawa Citizen — January 26, 2016)
Special traveling teams of doctors could deliver physician-assisted death to the country’s remote regions, guaranteeing northerners and others in isolation access to the right to die, parliamentarians were told.

“Hammering out the details in Canada’s new regime”
(BioEdge — December 20, 2015)
This week the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying released a report with points which should be incorporated into legislation throughout Canada.  Some of the more contentious recommendations are:

  • “Physician-assisted dying” (PAD) includes both euthanasia and assisted suicide.
  • Although the “P” in “PAD” refers to physicians, a registered nurse or a physician assistant should also be able to write a prescription for a lethal drug or give a lethal injection.
  • There should be no age limits for PAD.  This means a 12-year-old could request euthanasia.  Or a 7-year-old.
  • The terms “grievous and irremediable” should not be defined in legislation or regulations.  The patient will define what constitutes intolerable suffering.

“Physician-assisted dying should be publicly funded: Expert advisory group”
(Toronto Sun — December 14, 2015)
While the group’s recommendations are not binding, they are expected to be influential as Canada prepares to act on a Supreme Court ruling that legalized physician-assisted dying across the country.
[NOTE: “physician-assisted dying” includes both doctor-prescribed suicide and doctor-administered euthanasia by lethal injection.]

“Terminally ill children as young as 12 should have euthanasia choice, expert panel urges”
(National Post — Canada — December 14, 2015)
Terminally ill children as young as 12 should be given the option of physician-assisted death, an expert panel advising the provinces says in a report expected to shift the euthanasia debate into a whole new realm.
The nine-member committee argues there should be no “arbitrary age limits” for assisted death…Its final report lists 43 recommendations, from criteria to qualify for a lethal injection or doctor-prescribed drug overdose, to the obligation of doctors.

“The slippery slope of assisted dying”
(National Post — Canada — September 8, 2015)
Up to now in Canada, euthanasia and assisted suicide have been ideas to be debated according to general principles.  That phase is over, at least in Quebec, where Bill 52 legalizes euthanasia (euphemized as “medical aid in dying.”)  With the program set to get under way in December, it is now about the nuts and bolts of the deed.
In preparation, the province’s college of physicians has issued kits to be made available to health professionals who will do the killing by lethal injection.

“Quebec doctors to get standard euthanasia kits as province prepares to legalize ‘medical aid in dying'”
(National Post — Canada — August 28, 2015)
What will be inside Quebec’s euthanasia kits?

  • A sedative to calm the patient
  • A drug to induce a deep coma
  • A drug to induce cardiorespiratory arrest (two sets of each drug to provide a backup in case of complications)
  • Syringes
  • Needles in different calibre sizes
  • IV tubing
  • IV solutions

“Euthanasia Comes to Canada”
(Source: Weekly Standard — February 23, 2015 edition)
This month, the Canadian Supreme Court trampled democratic deliberation by unanimously conjuring a constitutional right to “termination of life” for anyone who has an “irremediable medical condition” and wants to die.  Note the scope of the judicial fiat is not limited to the terminally ill: The ruling grants competent adults a right to die is they have an “illness, disease, or disability that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual “including psychological pain….Hence the court created a right in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to Dutch-style active euthanasia.

“Landmark Supreme Court ruling favouring ‘death with dignity’ could become election issue”
(Vancouver Sun — February 6, 2015)
According to the Court, the previous laws [against doctor-prescribed and doctor-administered death] are “of no force or effect to they extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person.”
A doctor-assisted death should be available to anyone who “clearly consents to the termination of life and has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease of disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her conditions.”  That suffering can be either “physical or psychological,” stated the ruling.

“Canada to allow doctor-assisted suicide”
(BBC — February 6, 2015)
Canada’s Supreme Court has ruled that doctors may help patients who have severe and incurable medical conditions to die, overturning a 1993 ban.

“Quebec’s end-of-life-care law may violate Criminal Code: Ottawa”
(CBC — June 6, 2014)
Federal government may challenge Quebec’s law allowing physician assisted suicide in court….Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s office said the government believes Quebec has overstepped its bounds with the legislation and believes it violates the Criminal Code — which is Ottawa’s jurisdiction.

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On June 5, 2014, by a vote of 94 – 22, the Quebec National Assembly passed Bill 52, permitting doctors to administer a lethal injection to end a patient’s life.  (June 5, 2014)
From Sec. 30:  “If a physician determines, subsequent to the application of section 29, that medical aid in dying may be administered to a patient requesting it, the physician must administer such aid personally and take care of and stay with the patient until death comes.”

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February 3, 2014
In Bentley v Maplewood, the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that Margot Bentley’s spoon feeding is to be continued.  Her family had sought to prevent her from eating an drinking.

January 14, 2014
“Canada Supreme Court to revisit decision banning assisted suicide”

(Reuters — January 16, 2014)
The Supreme Court of Canada agreed on Thursday to take another look at a decision it made in 1993 upholding a ban on assisted suicide, setting up a new battle over the right to die.

November 21, 2013
“No ‘Spoon Feeding!’ Case to BC Supremes”
(National Review Online — November 21, 2013)
At stake is whether a nursing home can be forced to starve a patient to death by withholding spoon feeding. The patient is voluntarily swallowing. No one is forcing food or water down her throat. Spoon Feeding!’ Case to BC Supremes”

October 18, 2013:
The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal that would have permitted doctors to end life support for a severely brain-damaged man without the consent of his family or a substitute decision maker.
Judgment in Cuthberton v. Rasouli

October 10, 2013:
British Columbia’s Court of Appeal reversed a lower court ruling that said Canada’s assisted-suicide ban violated the charter rights of gravely ill Canadians.
Full text of decision in Carter v. Canada (2013 BCCA 435)

June 15, 2012:
British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Lynn Smith ruled against the law forbidding physician-assisted in Canada.  In her decision, she upheld a challenge by three plaintiffs stating that the law’s provisions “unjustifiably infringe the equality rights” of one plaintiff and the “the rights to life, liberty and security” of the other two plaintiffs.
An appeal of the decision is expected.
Full text of decision in Carter v. Canada (2012 BCSC 886)

July 13, 2012:
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson issued a statement, announcing that the federal government will appeal the ruling.  According to Nicholson, “The laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly or people with disabilities. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the state interest in protecting human life and upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation in Rodriguez (1993).”


“First Quebec euthanasia case confirmed, two others reported”
(National Post — January 15, 2016)
Quebec health-care authorities have confirmed the first case of legal euthanasia since the province’s groundbreaking law came into force last month, and death-with-dignity advocates report two other cases….The unidentified patient. whose condition was not disclosed, received a lethal injection in a Quebec City hospital.

“Provide better access to palliative care”
(The Star — January 4, 2016)
Canada’s new health minister, Jane Philpott, acknowledges there is evidence that only 15 percent of Canadians have access to high quality palliative care when they need it.

“The slippery slope of assisted dying”
(National Post — Canada — September 8, 2015)
Up to now in Canada, euthanasia and assisted suicide have been ideas to be debated according to general principles.  That phase is over, at least in Quebec, where Bill 52 legalizes euthanasia (euphemized as “medical aid in dying.”)  With the program set to get under way in December, it is now about the nuts and bolts of the deed.
In preparation, the province’s college of physicians has issued kits to be made available to health professionals who will do the killing by lethal injection.

“An end to cancer pain?”
(University of Toronto — April 23, 2015)
A new study led by University of Toronto researcher Dr. David Lam has discovered the trigger behind the most severe forms of cancer pain.  Released in the journal Pain this month, the study points to TMPRSS2 as the culprit: a gene that is also responsible for some of the most aggressive forms of androgen-fuelled cancers.

“Andrew Coyne: With assisted suicide, what begins in compassion seems to end in eugenics”
(Source:  National Post — December 8, 2014)
Much of the discussion of physician-assisted-death in Canada has centered around adult patients capable of making known how they want to end their lives. But Udo Schuklenk, a Queen’s University philosophy professor, argues that in rare cases of severely impaired, deeply suffering newborns, actively causing death is morally acceptable, if still illegal in this country.

“End-of-life debate turns to newborns: ‘Postnatal abortion’ morally acceptable in some cases, ethicist says”
(National Post — December 7, 2014)
Doctors would be justified to end the lives of some terminally impaired newborn babies, says a prominent Canadian bioethicist in a report that pushes the country’s euthanasia debate into new territory….Udo Schuklenk, a queen’s University philosophy professor, argues that in rare cases of severely impaired, deeply suffering newborns, actively causing death is morally acceptable, if still illegal in this country.

“N.S. man pleads for euthanasia laws to end sister’s suffering”
(Atlantic CTV News — June 25, 2014)
A Bedford, N.S. man would like the province to adopt euthanasia laws so he can end the life of his sister who is living with Alzheimer’s.

“Quebec’s end-of-life-care law may violate Criminal Code: Ottawa”
(CBC — June 6, 2014)
Federal government may challenge Quebec’s law allowing physician assisted suicide in court….Justice Minister Peter MacKay’s office said the government believes Quebec has overstepped its bounds with the legislation and believes it violates the Criminal Code — which is Ottawa’s jurisdiction.

“Quebec’s legislature unites behind a euthanasia bill that divides many with debilitating illnesses”
(National Post — May 30, 2014)
Quebec claims jurisdiction over euthanasia on the grounds that it is a medical act, and health is a provincial jurisdiction. However, the federal Criminal Code states, “no person is entitled to consent to have death inflicted on him.”

“Opponents rally against end-of-life bill”
(CBC Canada — May 24, 2014)
The law would allow some forms of medically assisted death in cases including “incurable serious illness,” advanced states of “irreversible decline in capability,” and “constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain which cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.”
A spokesman for the federal justice minister told CBC News that it will be up to the courts to decide if Quebec is acting within the Constitution.

“John Alan Lee pushes limits of Canada’s assisted suicide debate”
(CBC News — May 5. 2014)
A Toronto man’s decision to end his life, simply because he felt it was time to die, has raised questions and concerns among family, friends and experts, some of whom say it could take the assisted suicide debate down a “slippery slope.”
He said he couldn’t enjoy some of his favourite activities anymore; his garden had become overgrown and tangled. His canoe was sitting around unused.

“Family appeals court ruling that refused to let Margot Bentley die”
(Vancouver Sun — April 22, 2014)
The family of Margot Bentley, a former nurse with Alzheimer’s, is appealing the B.C. Supreme Court ruling that allowed her Abbotsford nursing home to continue spoon-feeding her.

“Quebec’s end-of-life bill faces more hurdles”
(Global News — February 23, 2014)
The Philippe Couillard-led Quebec Liberals last week effectively stopped Bill 52 from passing when they decided against staying late to vote on the bill before members of the National Assembly headed out on a two-week break, arguing there was not enough time to afford the bill the amount of debate it warrants.

“Quebec Liberals block passage of end-of-life bill”
(CBC News — February 20, 2014)
The Phillippe Couillard-led Quebec Liberals have blocked the passage of Quebec’s end-of-life legislation, Bill 52, said parliamentary house leader Stephane Bedard…If an election is called, the passage of the end-of-life bill would be paralyzed until an eventual revival by the next government.

“Assisted suicide — what could possibly go wrong?”
(Globe and Mail — Canada — February 20, 2014)
A service launched by a right-to-die group [in the Netherlands] has 30 mobile teams that make house calls to people who want to die but whose family doctors may be unwilling to participate. One of the people its staff put to death was a 63-year-old man who had no friends ot family and couldn’t face the prospect of retirement.  Another was a 54-year-old woman with a pathological fear of germs.

“As Quebec set to legalize euthanasia, doctors already looking to expand who qualifies for lethal injections”
(National Post — Canada — February 13, 2014)
Quebec’s National Assembly is set to begin final adoption next week of a law that will legalize euthanasia in the province.
According to Yyes Robert, secretary of the province’s College of Physicians, “This bill, as it is right now, it’s probably a landmark but surely not the end of the reflection.  It’s only a step.”
[Note: The Quebec proposal, Bill 52, is modeled on Belgium’s euthanasia law.]

“Court rules 82-year-old Abbotsford Alzheimer’s patient must be fed in spite of ‘living will'”
(Vancouver Sun — February 3, 2014)
The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Monday that the care and feeding of Margot Bentley must continue.  Central to the ruling was determining that Bentley was capable of making the decision to accept food or drink.
In his ruling, Justice Greyell wrote, “I find it significant that Mrs. Bentley indicates preferences for certain flavours and eats different amounts at different times.”
Her family had insisted that she was not capable and that when the care home staff pressed spoonfuls of food against her lips, she was only acting reflexively when she opened her mouth.
Text of ruling in Bentley v Maplewood

“Belgian rapist’s plea for euthanasia stirs debates on mental health and right to die”
(Globe and Mail — January 1, 2014)
[I]t is also of interest for Canada, where the corrections system struggles similarly with how to best deal with mentally ill inmates.  What’s more, Quebec’s legislature is currently debating a right-to-die bill modeled after the Belgian and Dutch voluntary euthanasia laws.

“No ‘Spoon Feeding!’ Case to BC Supremes”
(National Review Online — November 21, 2013)
At stake is whether a nursing home can be forced to starve a patient to death by withholding spoon feeding. The patient is voluntarily swallowing. No one is forcing food or water down her throat.

“‘Family should decide on life support,’ Canadian Supreme Court rules in Hassan Rasouli case”
(Courier-Mail — October 19, 2013)
Families and not doctors should decide when life support is turned off, says Canada’s Supreme Court.

“B.C. Court of Appeal upholds ban on assisted suicide”
(CTV News — October 10, 2013)
The British Columbia Court of Appeal has upheld Canada’s ban on physician-assisted suicide in a split 2-1 decision.
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose reiterated Ottawa’s stance on euthanasia last week, saying: “We do not support assisted suicide — that is our government’s clear position.”

“Nursing Home Won’t Starve Mother — Family Sues”
(National Review — August 8, 2013)
In Canada, a family wants a nursing home to stop spoon feeding their mother because she would not want to be kept alive with Alzheimer’s.

“Patient’s family sues B.C. as nursing home keeps her alive against her wishes”
(Vancouver Sun — August 7, 2013)
The actions of Abbotsford nursing home staff who are spoon-feeding an 82-year-old Alzheimer’s patient — contrary to the wishes she expressed in her living will –constitute battery, a lawsuit by her daughter and husband alleges.
Margot Bentley’s daughter, Katherine Hammond, said she doesn’t visit her mom much anymore.

“Family of B.C. woman ravaged by Alzheimer’s fights to fulfill her right to die with dignity”
(National Post — July 10, 2013)
In 1991, Margot Bentley drafted a detailed “living will.” She wrote that health care workers were to dispense “no nourishment or liquids” if it was clear she had no chance of recovery.”
According to her daughter, Bentley’s regular spoon-feeding should stop.

“Quebec is trying to legalize euthanasia by calling it something else”
(Source: Globe and Mail — June 19, 2013)
So, you call your pet duck, which lives with you, a dog, because the law prohibits keeping a duck in your apartment, but allows dogs.  A court will convict you for breaking the law.
Now, you are the Quebec provincial government and you table a bill in which you call euthanasia, which is prohibited as murder, “medical aid in dying” and claim it is medical treatment….

“Quebec Euthanasia: Journalism Malpractice 3”
(National Review — June 13,2013)
Paraplegics could most certainly qualify: It could be deemed an “incurable illness” that has led to “irreversible decline in capability” and which causes “unbearable physical or psychological pain” that cannot be relieved “in a manner the person deems tolerable.”

“Govt Funded Euthanasia Coming to Quebec?”
(National Review — June 12, 2013)
It would require that all “institutions,” e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities “provide” terminal sedation or euthanasia which are included in the bill’s definition of the term, “end of life care.”

“Whose Life Is It Anyway?”
(National Review — June 3, 2013)
Futile Care Theory is as much about money as it is about benefiting the patient.  It is also about honoring the subjective views of doctors and care givers — even at the expense of rejecting a patient’s specific request for efficacious treatment, that is, treatment that would or could achieve the desire medical result of extending the patient’s life.

“Some Quebec doctors resisting drive for euthanasia”
(BioEdge — February 22, 2013)
Some Quebec doctors are beginning to fight back against a drive for legalised euthanasia. Earlier this week, Physicians Alliance for the Total Refusal of Euthanasia (PATRE) organised a conference to influence an upcoming debate in the province’s parliament. Most of PATRE’s 317 member doctors hail from Quebec.

“Quebec’s Doctors to Become Killers?”
(National Review — February 7, 2013)
Quebec is about to make a major push to legalize euthanasia based on the recommendations of a commission. The commission’s recommendations include: “We propose that this option take the form of ‘medical aid in dying’. This assistance involves an act performed by a physician in a medical setting following a free and informed request made by the patient himself.”

“A Life Interrupted: Hassan Rasouli’s journey from an earache to a high-stakes battle over end-of-life decisions
(Informer — Toronto, CA — November 27. 2012
….The Rasoulis were stunned. Hassan had been a health, vigorous man.  He had walked into non-emergency surgery under his own volition and caught a bug from the hospital, and now the same hospital was saying they wanted to let him die?

“Family to take end-of-life fight to Supreme Court of Canada”
(CTV TV — November 19, 2012)
The family first began to see signs of improvement in January 2011, saying Rasouli was tracking their movements with his eyes, and even got to the point where he could give a thumbs-up. In their submission to the SCOC, doctors at Sunnybrook said protracted end-of-life care is a massive drain on the entire medical system, arguing that physicians should have the right to decide when life support is halted.

“Death’s midwife helps terminally ill Canadians end their lives”
(The Star – Toronto — October 21, 2012)
Reaching beneath a desk in her home office, Ruth von Fuchs pulls out a white plastic box containing a collection of tubes, valves and microwave turkey roasting bags.
This is her death kit.

“Quebec to legalize doctor-assisted suicide”
(CJAD Radio — October 4, 2012)
Quebec’s new government plans to table legislation legalizing doctor-assisted suicide by this spring. According to social services junior minister Veronique Hivon, patients should only have access to the service if they are adult Quebec residents with a serious and incurable illness, and have given their express written consent.

Quebec has no power over the criminal code, which forbids doctor-assisted suicide.  However, Hivon is arguing that Quebec will be able to pass this law without Ottowa. “Quebec has jurisdiction over health and also over professional qualifications,” she says. “So this gives us the confidence to introduce this medical aid in dying in our bill.”

“Report: Canadian health care spending unsustainable”
(Daily Caller — July 24, 2012)
Single-payer health care, once lauded by President Barack Obama for its ability to keep health care expenditures down by rationing care, has become prohibitively expensive and inefficient in Canada, according to a new study.

“It’s expensive to support the disabled — suicide kits are $39.95”
(Winnepeg Free Press — July 21, 2012)
Arthur Schafer’s portrayal of comments on the merits of physician-assisted suicide need challenging.  Schafer, like many supporters of physician-assisted suicide (also known as “doctor-prescribed death”), does not seem to have considered the wider issues facing Canadians with disabilities, including the ongoing social prejudice and discouraging lack of living supports that we encounter on a daily basis.

“Assisted-suicide ruling to be appealed by Ottawa”
(CBC News — July 13, 2012)
The federal government will appeal last month’s ruling by the British Columbia Supreme Court that partially struck down Canada’s ban on assisted suicide, Justice Minister Bob Nicholson says.
In a statement, Nicholson said, “The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the state interest in protecting human life and upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation in Rodriguez (1993).  In April 2010, a large majority of parliamentarians voted not to change these laws…

“Down a dangerous path”
(The Progress — June 28, 2012)
One person’s right can become another person’s obligation. When patients have the right to choose euthanasia, this sends an implicit message that some lives aren’t worth living. Frail elderly, handicapped, and cancer patients can easily perceive that society doesn’t want them around, when they can instead choose to “die with dignity.” It is a short step from believing that they can choose dying to believing that they should choose dying.

“Choosing when and how to die: Are we ready to perform therapeutic homicide?”
(Canadian Medical Association Journal — June 25, 2012)
Removing the legal barrier to ending another’s life may ensure the self-dignity of those who wish to die, but may distress and remove the self-dignity of more people who wish to live.

“Not Dead Yet Responds to Quebec Commission Report on ‘Dying with Dignity'”
(Not Dead Yet blog — March 26, 2012)
The highlight of the report is 24 recommendations that include “medically-assisted death” as an “option for care.”  The report indicates that individuals with such conditions as ALS, Multiple Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy, where people can live many satisfying and productive years, even after “advanced deterioration of their capacities” would be eligible for euthanasia.

“B.C. right-to-die group launches court challenge”
(CTV BC Canada– August 1, 2011)
Much has changed in the 18 years since Canada’s high court refused Sue Rodriguez the legal right to assisted suicide. For that reason, the Farewell Foundation For The Right to Die will be renewing the court battle around “self-chosen death.”

Canadian government sued over assisted-suicide law
(Courthouse News, Vancouver, BC — April 29, 2011)
For the second time in a month people have sued the Canadian government, seeking to overturn the criminal prohibition on doctor-assisted suicide. A married couple say they fear prosecution for helping the wife’s mother end her life in Switzerland and a doctor says he would be willing to provide the service.

In Canada, Francine LaLonde has often introduced assisted suicide bills.  Her 2009-2010 bill, C-384, if passed, would have amended the Criminal Code to permit a doctor to assist a patient’s suicide if the patient was EITHER (A) in severe physical or mental pain, or (B) is terminally ill.  The bill failed.

2005 Bill to permit assisted suicide fails.
On June 15, 2005, Francine Lalonde, a lawmaker from La Pointe-de-l’Ile, introduced Bill C-407.  The measure would have permitted a medical practitioner or someone assisted by a medical practitioner to aid another person to die if that person has a terminal illness or is experiencing severe physical or mental pain and “appears to be lucid” when he/she requests death.  The measure failed to gain support.
Text of C-407

Rodriguez v. British Columbia
Regina v. Latimer
(Appeal, 1997)
Regina v. Latimer (Appeal decision, 2001)

Justice Minister declares he will not support C-407 (10/13/05)
The following message was sent from Paul Macklin, M.P to Liberal Assistants: – Liberal Members/Députés on October 13, 2005:

Dear Colleagues,

There has been increased reporting by media lately on the subject matter of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide – due in part to Francine Lalonde’s Private member’s Bill, C-407, and in part to some cases before the courts.

To provide you with the latest information, please find attached our position paper on Bill C-407.  Please be advised that Bill C-407 is tentatively scheduled for its first hour of debate on October 31st.

If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Minister’s office at 992-4621.


Hon. Paul Macklin, P.C., M.P.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Position Paper
BILL C-407
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (right to die with dignity)
Francine Lalonde (Bloc Québécois)


Minister’s Position: The Minister of Justice will not be supporting the bill.

Factual Summary of the Bill:

Bill C-407 proposes to amend the Criminal Code to permit assistance in dying under certain conditions.

Key features of the bill:


The bill seeks to permit assisted suicide and euthanasia, in both cases provided the conditions described below are met.

The bill would not only apply to terminally-ill patients, but also to persons who suffer from severe physical or mental pain with no prospect of relief (neither physical nor mental pain is defined).

The aider could be either a medical practitioner or someone who is assisted by a medical practitioner.

The Bill’s prescribed conditions included in the bill somewhat temper its potential scope as the require that the person wishing assistance in dying: must be 18 years of age andor older; over, be either terminally ill or suffering from severe physical or mental pain with no prospect of relief,; make two requests, ast least 10 days apart, while “appearing to be lucid,” to a doctor or aider,; and must also designate someone who will act on his or her behalf vis-à-vis the doctor or aider should he or she become mentally incapacitated. Under the Bill, tThe “aider”: must be either a medical practitioner or someone who is assisted by a medical practitioner,; must have received confirmation of the diagnosis from another doctor, or from two doctors if the aider is not a doctor,; must be a member of, or assisted by, a provincial health services team,; must act in the manner requested by the person wishing to die,; and must provide the coroner with the confirmation of diagnosis.



It is expected that this bill will raise considerable public attention and controversy as it touches upon such profound issues as life and death, which for many involves religious beliefs.

The Bill has far-reaching implications in the manner in which it alters the current state of the law and in the way it will impact on medical ethics and practice. The Bill also appears to exceed the parameters of current public views. While many Canadians may not disapprove of permitting those who suffer from severe physical pain with no prospect of relief to access assistance in dying, few would tolerate the idea of allowing those who suffer from severe mental pain with no prospect of relief to have the same access to assisted death. As “mental pain” is not defined in the Bill, such common conditions as chronic depression could potentially qualify as “mental pain”. This particular aspect of the proposal, combined with such vague terms as “while appearing to be lucid” as the requisite criterion for providing consent, raise concerns with respect to s. 7 and s. 15 of the Charter. The recognized medical and legal standard for providing a free and informed consent is not reflected in Bill C-407.

In order to guard against the potential to move towards what is often described as the “slippery slope” in facilitating the unwanted death of elderly, physically or mentally vulnerable persons, a very stringent regime would have to be introduced, and Bill C-407 falls short of accomplishing this. For example, Bill C-407 lacks an appropriate oversight mechanism to guard against abuses. The Bill does not require detailed reporting or establish a committee to review reports as is found in comparable legislation implemented in Oregon, the Netherlands and Belgium, nor does the Bill does address how to deal with cases of abuse, e.g. by creating a specific offence.

The Bill also addresses matters that fall within provincial/territorial responsibilities for the delivery of health care services and the medical profession, and provincial legislation that deals with substitute decision makers. Extensive consultations with interested groups, including the medical profession, and Canadians in general should be undertaken by Parliament before it considers a specific legislative proposal, although Parliament did examine these issues in detail in 1994 and 1995 in the context of the study conducted by the Special Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. It should be noted that the majority recommended that theCriminal Code offence of assisted suicide should remain intact.