PRESS RELEASES

For Immediate Release

Québec’s Bill 52 will likely go to a vote on Thursday, Feb 20, 2014.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and its Québec counterparts would like you to know:

• Bill 52 gives Québec doctors the right to lethally inject their patients when they are physically or psychological suffering.

• Bill 52 does not limit euthanasia to terminally ill people. The bill states that a person must be “at the end of life” but the bill does not define end of life. Bill 52 allows euthanasia for psychological suffering, which cannot be defined.

• Bill 52 targets people with disabilities. Bill 52 states that a person must be in “an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability.” Many people with disabilities fit these criteria. Since the bill does not define “end of life” euthanasia will be extended to people with disabilities.

• Euthanasia is defined as homicide in the federal Criminal Code. Bill 52 defines killing by lethal injection as “health care” in order to avoid the Criminal Code prohibition from causing death.

Bill 52 is unconstitutional and needs to be challenged in the court.

Bill 52 is imprecise and open to abuse.

Bill 52 is lethal.

Link to other articles:

• Québec’s euthanasia Bill 52 is lethal.

• Expert’s condemn Québec’s Bill 52.

For more information contact:

Nicolas Steenhout (Montreal) Director General, Living With Dignity – info@vivredignte.com

Hugh Scher (Toronto) EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115 – hugh@sdlaw.ca

Amy Hasbrouck (Montreal) Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet (450) 921-3057 – info@tv-ndy.ca

Dr Will Johnston (Vancouver) EPC-BC Chair (604) 220-2042 – willjohnston@shaw.ca

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (London) (519) 439-3348

For Immediate Release

BC Court decision in the Bentley “feeding” case on February 3, 2014

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is a national non-profit organization that is concerned with protecting people from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

BC court rules fluids and food are basic personal care.

A BC court is releasing (today) its decision in the Bentley case which will determine whether normal feeding (as opposed to tube feeding) is a form of medical treatment that can be withdrawn, causing death by dehydration/starvation.The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervened in the Bentley case. We argued that normal feeding has always been considered basic care and we proved that normal feeding is defined as basic care and not medical treatment, throughout the world.

Margaret Bentley is living at the Maplewood Care Facility in Abbotsford BC. The Bentley family petitioned the court to define normal feeding as medical treatment in order to stop feeding her. Bentley is living with dementia and her family claims that a statement in her living will indicated that she would want nourishment or liquids withdrawn in this circumstance.The Bentley case is complicated by the existence of a second “Living Will” document.

The Maplewood Care Facility, Fraser Health and the BC Ministry of Health argued that BC legislation indicates that normal feeding is defined as basic care and not medical treatment and denying her basic care, contravenes Section 215 of the Criminal Code which concerns the Duty of persons to provide the necessaries of life.

EPC expects that the court will recognize the duty of persons to provide the basic necessaries of life and allow normal feeding to continue.

If the court orders the withdrawal of normal feeding, Bentley would die from dehydration/ starvation and the lives of other people who require assisted feeding would be put at risk.

For more information contact:
Hugh Scher, (Toronto) EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115 – hugh@sdlaw.ca
Dr Will Johnston, (Vancouver) EPC-BC Chair: (604) 220-2042 – willjohnston@shaw.ca
Alex Schadenberg, (London) EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434 – info@epcc.ca

For Immediate Release

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition to seek intervenor standing in euthanasia court case

TORONTO, Jan. 16, 2014 /CNW/ – The Supreme Court of Canada has decided to hear the Carter case, which seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervened in the Carter case at the lower court and at the BC Court of Appeal.

EPC will seek to intervene in Carter at the Supreme Court of Canada.

EPC legal counsel Hugh Scher states:

EPC is concerned about the safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors, which is central to the protections set out under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code.

EPC-BC chair Dr. Will Johnston states:

The Supreme Court of Canada will consider this important public safety issue. The Court rejected assisted suicide in 1993 and prevented Canada from taking a wrong turn. In the 20 years since, human nature has not changed, our poor record of predicting the dying process has not changed, and vulnerable people are still at risk in our health care system. Euthanasia activists continue to confuse the public about turning off ventilators, which has little to do with the issue and our ability to control symptoms continues to improve.

Let us hope that by clarifying the issues, the Supreme Court once again confirms the rejection of suicide and direct killing of the sick, and that we stay the course in providing great symptom control to all who need it.

Disability rights advocate Amy Hasbrouck of Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet states:

People with disabilities, chronic illness and seniors are negatively affected by assisted suicide and euthanasia because it leads to the impression that our lives are lacking in meaning and value as compared to other Canadians.

EPC Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg states:

In jurisdictions where these practices have been legalized, there have been significant abuses of vulnerable people. For example, a study in Belgium found that 32% of the people killed under the Belgian euthanasia law were killed without request, a breach of a fundamental condition of that law. Not one of these doctors has been prosecuted.

SOURCE Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For further information:

Dr Will Johnston, (Vancouver) EPC-BC Chair: (604) 220-2042, willjohnston@shaw.ca
Hugh Scher, (Toronto) EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115, hugh@sdlaw.ca
Alex Schadenberg, (London) EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434, info@epcc.ca
Amy Hasbrouck, (Montreal) Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet: (450) 921-3057, tigrlily61@gmail.com

For Immediate Release

International leaders gather at Euthanasia Symposium in Toronto

TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW/ – The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is having a media conference on Friday November 8 (10 am) at the Renaissance Marriott hotel (Aurora Room) (1 Blue Jays Way Toronto) amidst a gathering of international leaders on the topic of euthanasia.

EPC will announce its direction in relation to:

1)     The Carter case in BC, a case that seeks to legalize assisted suicide in Canada, that was struck down by the BC Court of Appeal and will likely be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
2)     Bill 52 in Quebec, that seeks to legalize euthanasia in Quebec.

Joanne Matters, (EPC President) will MC the media conference that will feature:

  • Hugh Scher, EPC legal counsel and former chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Human Rights Committee.
  • Nic Steenhout, the Executive Director of Vivre dans la Dignité (Quebec).
  • Amy Hasbrouck, the Director of  Tourjours Vivant- Not Dead Yet (Quebec).
  • Dr. Will Johnston, the Chair of EPC – BC
  • Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of EPC.

Other International leaders will also be made available to answer questions.

The Symposium is on Friday November 8 (7 pm – 9 pm) and November 9 (9 am – 5 pm).

The Symposium features leaders from Canada and around the world including: Australia, UK, France, Netherlands, and the United States.

SOURCE Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

 For further information: Alex Schadenberg at: 519-851-1434 (cell).

For Immediate Release

Supreme Court To Release Landmark Ruling On Whether Doctors Can Unilaterally Terminate Life Support Without Patient Consent – Rasouli V. Cuthbertson.

TORONTO, Oct. 17, 2013 /CNW/ – The Supreme Court is set to release, tomorrow, its decision in a landmark case that will determine if doctors must obtain consent before removing life support from a patient.

In this case, doctors refused to obtain consent before deciding to terminate life support and they refused to apply to the Consent and Capacity Board, the body charged with oversight, in Ontario of such matters.

The family was forced to apply for a Court injunction to stop the withdrawal of life support to Mr. Rasouli.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervened in this case to support the need for oversight of doctors in addressing life and death decisions.

In this case, Mr. Rasouli was also misdiagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. In fact, he was conscious and able to communicate as his family had suggested throughout.

“The case raises fundamental questions about the need for oversight with respect to critical treatment decisions at the end of life”, says Hugh Scher, the Toronto lawyer that represented EPC at the hearing before the Supreme Court of Canada.

“There is a real concern about the impact of economic considerations, accuracy of diagnosis and the critical role of patient autonomy in the making of treatment decisions”, says Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of EPC

“We hope the Supreme Court upholds the oversight responsibility of the Consent and Capacity Board and ensures that patient values, beliefs and best interests are given prominence, in conjunction with the clinical considerations of doctors”, says Scher.

The Supreme Court will likely lay down a set of guiding principles relative to such end of life situations and provide direction in the process of making critical medical treatment decisions.

SOURCE Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For further information: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition spokespersons:
Hugh Scher, (Toronto) EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115 / hugh@sdlaw.ca
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434 / info@epcc.ca

For Immediate Release

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition applauds ruling of BC Appeal Court on assisted suicide

TORONTO, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW/ – The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervened in the BC assisted suicide case in order to uphold the principles of Parliamentary sovereignty and basic human rights. EPC is pleased that the Court has followed the lead of Canadian Parliament, the Supreme Court of Canada, and of the majority of Parliaments and Supreme Courts around the world in finding that the prohibitions against assisted suicide represent an important protection against abuse of vulnerable people.

EPC legal counsel Hugh Scher states:
EPC is concerned about the safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors, which is central to the protections set out under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code.

EPC-BC chair Dr. William Johnston states:
The debate is over whether what the suicidal person proposes – to kill themselves – is a goal which should be shared and facilitated by the state. I suggest there are alternate goals like the treatment of depression and other symptoms, to which the state should apply itself. When someone has lost hope for the future, finds no meaning in their life, and sees only one solution – death – we recognize a suicidal depression. That bleak tunnel vision should evoke suicide prevention, not euthanasia.

Disability rights advocate Amy Hasbrouck of Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet states:
People with disabilities, chronic illness and seniors are negatively affected by assisted suicide and euthanasia because it leads to the impression that our lives are lacking in meaning and value as compared to other Canadians.

EPC Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg states:
The evidence is clear that in jurisdictions where these practices have been legalized, there have been significant abuses of vulnerable people. For example, studies in Belgium demonstrate that 32% of people killed under the Belgian law were killed without consent and without their own request, in breach of a fundamental condition of that law. Not one of these doctors has been prosecuted.

EPC will seek to intervene should this matter be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada with a view to protecting the dignity and equality of all Canadians, particularly those who are most vulnerable to the risks of abuse from assisted suicide.

SOURCE Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For further information:

Dr. William Johnston, (Vancouver) EPC-BC Chair: (604) 220-2042 - willjohnston@shaw.ca
Hugh Scher, (Toronto) EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115 - hugh@sdlaw.ca
Amy Hasbrouck, (Montreal) Toujours Vivant – Not Dead Yet: (450) 921-3057 - info@tv-ndy.ca
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434 - info@epcc.ca

For Immediate Release

EPC hopes the BC Court of Appeal reversed the errors in assisted suicide court case

TORONTO, Oct. 9, 2013 /CNW/ – The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), an intervener in the BC Court of Appeal assisted suicide case, hopes that the BC Court of Appeal has followed the lead of the Irish Supreme Court who upheld the right of the state to protect its citizens from assisted suicide and reverse the errors in the court decision concerning assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada.

EPC legal counsel Hugh Scher stated:
“EPC is concerned about the safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors, which is central to the protections set out under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code.”

Toujour-Vivant – Not Dead Yet leader, Amy Hasbrouck stated:
“People with disabilities, chronic illnesses and seniors are negatively affected by assisted suicide, euthanasia and other end-of-life practices.”

EPC-BC chair Dr. Will Johnston expressed his concern that legal assisted suicide has already being extended to people who are not terminally ill in jurisdictions where it is practiced.

Johnston also stated: “Elder abuse, is already difficult to detect, would be no easier to combat when a suicide offer is always dangling before a vulnerable older person. Giving legal immunity to those who would provide suicide does not make our loved ones safer.”

EPC Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg, stated: “the Carter decision erred in several significant areas … the judge came to her decision by falsely assuming that there is a ‘right to suicide’ in Canada.”

“the Carter decision also misinterpreted data from other jurisdictions that have legalized assisted death by stating that there is no significant risk to vulnerable patient groups. A study from Belgium found that 32% of all assisted deaths were done without request and incompetent people who are over the age of 80 were vulnerable to dying by an assisted death without request.”

SOURCE Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada (EPC)

For further information:

Dr. Will Johnston, (Vancouver) EPC-BC Chair: (604) 220-2042, willjohnston@shaw.ca
Hugh Scher, (Toronto) EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115, hugh@sdlaw.ca
Amy Hasbrouck, (Montreal) Tourjours Vivant – Not Dead Yet: (450) 921-3057, info@tv-ndy.ca
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434, info@epcc.ca

For Immediate Release

La Coalition pour la prévention de l’euthanasie (EPC) réagit au plan du gouvernement du Québec visant à légaliser l’euthanasie

TORONTO, le 12 juin 2013 /CNW/ – Le gouvernement du Québec semble vouloir légaliser l’euthanasie en passant par la petite porte.

La Coalition pour la prévention de l’euthanasie (EPC) est une coalition nationale de groupes et d’individus qui s’opposent à l’idée de tuer par euthanasie, et qui appuient toute mesure visant à améliorer les soins de santé et la protection de tous les citoyens.

Me Hugh Scher, avocat en droit constitutionnel et conseiller juridique d’EPC, est extrêmement préoccupé par l’intention du gouvernement du Québec d’ignorer le Code pénal en ne poursuivant pas les médecins qui commettront des euthanasies. “L’euthanasie est un acte direct et intentionnel qui provoque la mort d’une autre personne. L’euthanasie est une forme d’homicide. L’euthanasie n’a rien à voir avec les services de santé et le meurtre n’a rien de bienveillant “.

Amy Hasbrouck, directrice de l’organisme Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet au Québec, estime pour sa part qu’«entre autres, les personnes handicapées, les personnes âgées dépendantes des autres et les personnes vivant avec une dépression chronique, sont médicalement vulnérables. Interdir l’euthanasie est un moyen efficace de prévenir les abus à leur égard ».

Le directeur exécutif de l’EPC, Alex Schadenberg, insiste par ailleurs : « Lorsque l’euthanasie est légale, des abus surviennent immanquablement. En Belgique, où l’euthanasie a été légalisée en 2002, une étude récente a révélé que 32% de tous les décès assistés ont été provoqués sans le consentement des patients. Or, les balises proposées par le projet de loi du gouvernement du Québec reflètent celles qui sont contenues dans la législation belge. »

EPC exige que le gouvernement du Québec retire son projet de loi visant à légaliser l’euthanasie et qu’il s’engage à améliorer les soins de fin de vie et les soins offerts aux autres citoyens vulnérables. Le gouvernement du Québec doit continuer  à travailler à la prévention de la maltraitance des personnes âgées et de la maltraitance des personnes handicapées.

SOURCE : Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Ontario

Renseignements :Hugh Scher, Toronto, (français & anglais): 416-816-6115 ou hugh@sdlaw.ca

Alex Schadenberg, London, (anglais): 519-851-1434 ou  info@epcc.ca

Amy Hasbrouck, Montreal, (français & anglais): 450-921-3057 ou tigrlily61@gmail.com

For Immediate Release

Response by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) to the Quebec government plan to legalize euthanasia through the back-door

TORONTO, June 12, 2013 /CNW/ – The Quebec government seems intent on decriminalizing euthanasia through the back door. If Quebec goes through with this, it will affect all of Canada.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is a national coalition of groups and individuals who oppose killing through euthanasia while supporting measures that improve the care and protection of everyone.

Euthanasia is not a progressive idea, but rather the abandonment of people at the most vulnerable time of their life.

Constitutional Lawyer and EPC Legal Counsel, Hugh Scher stated: “Euthanasia is regulated in the Criminal Code as a form of homicide. Euthanasia is a direct and intentional act to cause the death of another person. Euthanasia is not healthcare.”

Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of EPC recognizes that:

“When euthanasia is legal abuse will happen. In Belgium, where euthanasia was legalized in 2002, a recent study found that 32% of all assisted deaths were done without consent. Quebec’s proposed list of “safeguards” mirror those within the Belgian legislation.”

Amy Hasbrouck, the leader of the disability rights group Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet stated that: “People with disabilities, elderly people who are dependent on others, people living with chronic depression, among others, are medically vulnerable. Prohibiting euthanasia is an effective way to prevent the abuse of people with disabilities and elder abuse.”

The Quebec government needs to withdraw its plan to legalize euthanasia through the back-door and to renew its commitment to improving end-of-life care and the care of other vulnerable citizens and to commit to prevention of elder abuse and the abuse of people with disabilities.

SOURCE: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Ontario

For further information:Hugh Scher, Constitutional Lawyer & EPC legal counsel, Toronto, (French & English): 416-816-6115

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, London, (English): 519-851-1434 or  info@epcc.ca

Amy Hasbrouck, Montreal, (French & English): 450-921-3057

For Immediate Release

EPC wants BC Court of Appeal to reverse errors in assisted court decision

TORONTO, March 17, 2013 /CNW/ – The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), an intervener in the assisted suicide case at the BC Court of Appeal, is asking the BC Court of Appeal to reverse the errors in the Carter decision concerning assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Norman Kunc, a long-time disability rights activist will be speaking out against assisted suicide at the Monday morning courthouse demonstration.

Kunc who has cerebral palsy will share his story and his perspective on behalf of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and explain why 2012′s Carter case will harm citizens with disabilities.

EPC Vice President, Dr Margaret Cottle, who specializes in palliative care stated: “Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide would give doctors the power over life and death. I am concerned about patient safety.”

“Elder abuse is already difficult to detect and would be no easier to combat when a suicide offer is part of the culture of care for a vulnerable older person. Giving legal immunity to those who would provide suicide does not make our loved ones safer.”

EPC legal counsel, Hugh Scher stated: “EPC is concerned about the safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors which is central to the protections set out under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code.”

EPC Executive Director, Alex Schadenberg, stated: “the Carter decision erred in several significant areas … the judge came to her decision by falsely assuming that there is a ‘right to suicide’ in Canada.”

Schadenberg further explained: “the Carter decision misinterpreted the data from other jurisdictions that legalized assisted death when it suggested that there is no significant risk to vulnerable patient groups. A recent study found that 32% of all assisted deaths in Belgium were done without request. The study revealed that incompetent people who are over the age of 80 are vulnerable to dying by an assisted death without request.”

SOURCE: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Ontario

For further information:Norm Kunc, disability leader: (604) 366-6263, ndkunc@gmail.com
Dr Margaret Cottle, EPC Vice President (604) 813-8665, mmcottle@mac.com
Hugh Scher, EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115, hugh@sdlaw.ca
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434, info@epcc.ca

For Immediate Release

EPC urges the Government to appeal the court order that maintains a constitutional exemption for Gloria Taylor to die by euthanasia.

TORONTO, Aug. 10, 2012 /CNW/ – The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is troubled that the constitutional exemption granted to Gloria Taylor, to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide, was not stayed by the BC Court.

Alex Schadenberg, EPC executive director states:
EPC is concerned that this court order may prompt other people with similar conditions to apply for a constitutional exemption to die by euthanasia before the Supreme Court and Parliament have ruled on the matter.

Hugh Scher, EPC legal counsel comments:
The existing laws prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide remain in effect.

Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada have endorsed the constitutionality of the law.

In April 2010, Canada’s parliament overwhelming defeated a bill that would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In 1993, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada’s assisted suicide legislation was constitutional.

Dr. Will Johnston, EPC – BC Chair states:
Most elder abuse is hidden from view – and if we can’t detect the abuse now, how are we going to do it when the stakes are raised? I have seen how easily influenced older people can be, and how inadequate are our national strategies against suicide.

Alex Schadenberg concludes:
It is not appropriate for any single judge to over-ride parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law.

SOURCE: Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

For further information: Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434, info@epcc.ca 

Dr. Will Johnston, EPC-BC Chair: (604) 220-2042, willjohnston@shaw.ca

Hugh Scher, EPC – Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115, hugh@sdlaw.ca

For Immediate Release

BC Supreme Court Decision to Legalize Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia, a Recipe for Elder Abuse that Threathens the Safety, Security and Equality of Canadians
Friday, June 15, 2012

The BC Supreme Court released its decision in Carter v. AG Canada today. The decision carves exceptions into the laws allowing Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in Canada.

The Federal Parliament of Canada recently considered legalization of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in a bill that came before the House in 2010. Bill C-384 was overwhelmingly defeated based upon concerns related to the prospect of the abuse of seniors, people with disabilities, the lack of an effective national suicide prevention strategy, and the lack of access to good palliative care in Canada.
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Executive Director Alex Schadenberg states:

Parliament’s overwhelming defeat of Bill C-384 months ago reflects that there has not been a change in social consensus since the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the case of Rodriguez v. AG BC in 1993.

Today’s court decision is fundamentally at odds with the will of Parliament as expressed just months ago and is fundamentally anti-democratic.

EPC counsel Hugh Scher notes:

EPC is concerned about the safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors which is central to the protections set out under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and our Criminal Code.

EPC-BC chair Dr. Will Johnston states:

Most elder abuse is hidden from view – and if we can’t detect the abuse now, how are we going to do it when the stakes are raised? I have seen how easily influenced older people can be, and how inadequate are our national strategies against suicide. The present decision, which should be immediately appealed and corrected, is a huge step backwards, a blow to public safety, and would force changes in public policy which would do more harm than good.

Dr. Johnston notes that:

Today’s decision would point Canada towards the Oregon assisted suicide regime, which has become notorious for its erosion of medical standards and abuse of psychiatry to rubber-stamp suicide requests. The wish to avoid Oregon’s mistakes has been reflected in over 100 rejections of assisted suicide by legislatures in North America and by medical associations around the world.

EPC is urging the Crown to immediately appeal this decision to the BC Court of Appeal and to seek an order that stays the effect of the decision until such time as that appeal is heard.
For further information, please contact: Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: (519) 851-1434, info@epcc.ca Dr. Will Johnston, EPC-BC Chair: (604) 220-2042 Hugh Scher, EPC Legal Counsel: (416) 816-6115
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – Box 25033 – London, Ontario N6C 6A8 – 1-877-439-3348

For Immediate Release

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition speaks out Against Global News Attack on People With Disabilities
April 3, 2012

CNW/ – The 16 x 9 GLOBAL News edition “Taking Mercy” (March 16, 2012) is an affront to Canadians with disabilities and may be construed as hate speech under certain human rights laws, say Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of EPC and father of a child with a disability. The piece advocates the killing of people with disabilities with impunity.

The media piece was completely biased and unbalanced. No person with a disability and no person holding a different viewpoint was part of the broadcast, notes Schadenberg.

Those of us who live with disabilities could easily have shared hospital rooms, support services, classrooms or neighbourhoods with Tracy Latimer and other children like her who have been murdered by their parents, says Rhonda Wiebe of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

EPC Toronto lawyer Hugh Scher, a person with a disability stated:

The suggestion that people with disabilities including children are better off dead than disabled is chilling, but reflects a deep-rooted feeling of many people who view disability with fear and stigma and who are able to relate much better to a non-disabled parent than to a murdered child with a disability.

Scher adds that programs such as Taking Mercy undermine the dignity and equality of people with disabilities by suggesting that they are better off dead. Such a sentiment is deeply offensive to people with disabilities.

EPC calls upon Global TV and all media outlets to change practices in order to ensure fair and balanced broadcasting that includes the voices of people with disabilities and others who believe that they have lives that are worth living. EPC also asks Global for equal time for people with disabilities and their families to respond to the broadcast.

For further information:Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: 519-439-3348 Hugh Scher, EPC Counsel: 416-816-6115 Rhonda Wiebe, Council for Canadians with Disabilities: 204-952-1514

 For Immediate Release

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Granted Intervenor Standing In Bc Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide Trial
Thursday October 20 2011

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

EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg states as follows:

“The decision granting our organization standing will enable us to represent our constituency of people with disabilities, seniors, healthcare practitioners and members of different cultural and religious backgrounds in order meet our mandate to preserve and enforce social, legal and medical safeguards prohibiting euthanasia and assisted suicide and promoting compassionate healthcare respectful of the lives, dignity and autonomy of vulnerable people.”

Schadenberg notes that:

“This issue was debated last year in the Canadian Parliament and consistent with earlier Senate Committee reports, Parliament rejected Bill C-384 overwhelmingly a bill which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.”

Opposition Justice Critic Joe Comartin states:

“The overwhelming defeat of Bill C384 reflects that there has not been a change in social consensus since the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling in the case of Rodriguez v. R in 1993.”

“One of the most significant concerns about legalization of assisted suicide and/or euthanasia relates to the inability to implement safeguards that could prevent the abuse of vulnerable people.”

 “To the extent that safeguards have been implemented in other jurisdictions around the world where assisted suicide or euthanasia is legal, these safeguards have proven illusory and have failed to protect against the abuse of vulnerable people.”

EPC – BC Chair Dr. Will Johnston states:

“This case is entirely consistent with the earlier Supreme Court of Canada decision in Rodriguez v. AG BC where the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the criminal code prohibition against assisted suicide was constitutional and served as a valuable safeguard to protect vulnerable citizens from the risk of serious abuse.”

“EPC – BC has an important role to play in educating the public and the court about the significant safety, security and equality of seniors and people with disabilities in the context of the present legal challenge and will be at the court on the day that the trial begins.”

EPC Counsel Hugh Scher notes:

“Concerns about safety, security and equality of people with disabilities and seniors will be central to the arguments advanced by EPC before the court, as will concerns about medical ethics and the proposed change in the doctor-patient relationship.”

For further information, please contact:
Alex Schadenberg, EPC Executive Director: 519-851-1434
Dr. Will Johnston, EPC-BC Chair: 604-220-2042
Hugh Scher, EPC Counsel: 416-816-6115