The Culture of Death is on the move, and we want our members and supporters to be aware of several worrying advances in the euthanasia debate in Canada, and also some very encouraging victories. LifeCanada is responding appropriately and we have a way for you to help us, but first our update.

1.      Catholic and other religious institutions are coming under attack.

Dr. Ellen Weibe, a long-time abortion provider and proponent of the abortion pill RU486, has become a major provider of euthanasia. This year she entered and euthanized a patient without the knowledge or consent of the Jewish care facility where the patient resided. Her brazen disregard for the policies, principles and religious nature of the care home ignited a discussion that was taken up, not surprisingly in her favour, by CBC’s The Current

The Current’s host Anna Marie Tremonte discussed whether Catholic and other religious hospitals should be forced to provide access to euthanasia and assisted suicide, with Lisa Saffarek, the daughter of Horst Saffarek, an elderly man who had been transferred from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox to a hospital in Nanaimo in order to access “Medical Aid in Dying or MAID” in January. Both women agreed that the hospital transfer was the worst part of his death, not his desire to be euthanized.

The Archbishop of Vancouver responded to the affront of Dr. Weibe who entered the Jewish nursing home with the following statement on his Facebook page:

The assisted death that took place at a Vancouver Jewish care home, contrary to the values of the institution, is very disturbing. Faith-based institutions, whether schools or health-care facilities, represent communities which have the right to determine the values that govern their mission.  
In addition, it’s incorrect to suggest, as promoters of assisted suicide are doing, that every publicly funded facility has an obligation to provide MAiD. No care facility offers all medical procedures and services, and a residence or hospital has the right to reject procedures which contradict or go against its code of ethics.

The Current did not try to hide their bias that Catholic institutions be forced to offer "MAid". You can listen to the radio show here.

In response to these issues, the Vancouver Sun ran a poll insinuating much of the same. They asked, “Should faith-based hospitals that receive government funding be required to provide assisted dying?”  

A more balanced approach to this issue was offered by Paul Schratz, editor of the BC Catholic, in this article. He, like the Archbishop, points out that

Religious health care facilities bring a different contribution to health care, but not an inferior one. Catholics were caring for the sick and dying before Canada was even a country. St. Paul’s Hospital was admitting AIDS patients when other hospitals were turning them away. And today Providence hosts the innovative B.C. Centre on Substance Use in leading the campaign on the opioid crisis.     

Another example of the pressure being felt by religious institutions is St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, started by the Grey Nuns. The Hospital Board had to accept 10 new Board members and cast a second vote on whether to allow MAiD. The second vote maintained the original position and principles of the Grey Nuns, but CEO Daniel Lussier has come under intense fire for his move to preserve the Hospital’s Catholic positionHe said in a CBC interview, "That was one of our No. 1 jobs, to ensure the values and principles, along with the boards we appoint, can help guide these organizations,… to ensure that there is no confusion about what St. Boniface Hospital's position would be on MAiD."

Two Board members publicly resigned over the incident ardently claiming that they supported “MAiD” and felt that hospital transfers would cause undue burdens to their patients, ignoring the burden on doctors who would be forced to kill them.

LifeCanada is very concerned about the state of physician’s conscience rights and those of religious institutions. We echo the sentiments of Archbishop Miller who has stated that institutions should be able to determine their own mission. 

2.       Good News: Manitoba passes conscience protection for Physicians

Manitoba’s Bill 34:  “The Medical Assistance in Dying (Protection for Health Professionals and Others) Act” passed on November 9, 2017 the last session of the 2017 calendar year.  The Bill allows a medical practitioners to refuse to provide medical assistance in dying on the basis of their personal convictions. 

The Bill allows for individuals to refuse to aid in the provision of “MAID” and prohibits a professional regulatory body to make a regulation that would require a member to provide medical assistance in dying.

The Bill also protects doctors from complaints in this regard stating that no disciplinary proceedings can result.  

Again, this issue was discussed on CBC not in an unbiased manner with The Current’s Piya Chattopadhyay. You can listen here.

Health care workers in other provinces are not so lucky – several provinces will be enforcing effective referrals – forcing physicians to help their patients find others who will administer “MAID,” even when they know euthanasia and assisted suicide are simply bad medicine.

3.       More good news: National Palliative Care Strategy Passed

LifeCanada’s executive director, Natalie Sonnen, had the honour of presenting to the committee studying the Palliative Care Strategy. You can read the text of her statement here.  She shared the work being done by LifeCanada through the Dying Healed Program.

MP Marilyn Gladu’s Bill C-277  received royal assent after being passed unanimously by the Senate on third reading the previous day.  The new national palliative care strategy will provide Canadians with access to palliative care through hospitals, home care, long-term care facilities and residential hospices. Currently, an estimated 70 per cent of Canadians have no access to palliative care.

The passage of Bill C-277 means that consultations between Ottawa and the provinces must begin. The health minister must report back to Parliament within one year. Six billion over 10 years was set aside in the Federal Budget to go towards making home and palliative care accessible to Canadians.   More on this good news can be found here.

4.     Other related issues

Organ donation is being linked with euthanasia and assisted suicide. Again, the publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is at the fore with no small amount of insinuation and bias, stating that “People who have chosen to die with medical assistance are often the best candidates for donation.”  However the issue becomes thorny by their own admission:

"The concern is whether people will feel pressured to die so they can donate their organs — or feel pressured to donate their organs so they can [die] get MAID. 
Other questions include: Should medical staff opposed to assisted dying be compelled to retrieve the organs or assist in the transplant? Should recipients be told how the organs became available?
What happens in the case of directed organ donation — where the donor asks for [death] MAID to give an organ to someone who needs a transplant?"

See more on this issue here.

5.       What can you do to help?

Show support for our religious institutions and their right to offer the services that they want that are in accord either their foundational principles.  Do not let the secular media and proponents of the death culture bully our religious institutions into circumventing their deeply held beliefs that inform their mission of service in the cause of life.

There are a number of polls that people should be aware of.

1.        The Coalition for Healthcare and Conscience is a group of health practitioners who need support in protecting their consciences and the integrity of their institutions. Please sign their petition here:

2.       Tell the CBC, who receives 1 Billion in tax funding annually to stop their one-sided, biased euthanasia programs.

3.       REAL WOMEN of Canada has a petition that in part addresses the protection of conscience rights for healthcare practitioners, and also the mounting discrimination against Christians being felt across Canada.

Further reading:
The Alarming Trend Of Bullying Hospitals And Hospices Into Assisted Suicide

You can write and express your concerns respectfully to the Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor here:

  • By Mail:
    Health Canada
    Address Locator 0900C2
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0K9

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 613-957-2991
  • Toll free: 1-866-225-0709
  • Facsimile: 613-941-5366

and to the Right Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 

[email protected] 

Stay tuned for more updates on these isses.

photo credit: dumplife (Mihai Romanciuc) _MG_6997.JPG via photopin (license)