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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council

Provincial Education and Health Communique #3 – Linda McClinton  March 30, 2017

Oh God, help us, especially during Lent to reflect on how we may better contribute to your vision of a world dominated by love and compassion rather than fear and pain. May we be your hands, your feet, your voice in helping to bring this to fruition. Amen.

Bursaries are now being offered biannually. Applications are to be submitted to National Office by November 30th and May 31st. Note if you wish to apply for May, send your application soon.

Palliative Care:

We need to continue writing to government regarding National’s resolution 2016.04 to Amend the Canada Health Act to Identify Palliative Care as an Insured Health Service and urge them to provide these essential elements to quality end-of-life care.  The brief to this resolution gives more detailed information in order to help develop more detailed arguments to government. Write letters to help politicians understand that access to palliative care and hospice care resources is a right that should be available to all Canadians.  I volunteer at our local Hospice House here in Prince George doing Broken Circle (which is a 10 week program for grieving adults). This fall I will do my 10th year of helping to provide this service. We have a wonderful 10 bed facility but, I know, that funding is extremely hard. When I was in Langley for our mid-term mid-March my niece took me to visit her Father who is in Palliative Care Hospice House in Abbotsford. It is a beautiful new 10 bed facility. I am grateful that we have more of these places for our loved ones, but the ladies there told me they also have a problem with funding.

The “12 Hours of Prayer for Palliative Care” on May 4th, 2016 and accompanying petitions in support of palliative care were very successful so remember May 4, 2017 and make this year equally successful. There is much we can do. We will celebrate Mass along with prayers on that evening at our CWL meeting. May 7-13 is Palliative Care week and you can find the 20 page “Care Kit” prepared by Fran Lucas, National Chairperson of Education and Health and Becky Kallal, Sub-Committee Chairperson on the National CWL website .In this Care Kit you will find Information and Resources package, press release, planning and promotion guides, information and links to palliative care resources, prayer resources and a petition for circulation.

Palliative Care Matters:

At a National Consensus Development Conference held in Ottawa November 7-9, 2016, a lay panel of Canadians examined public opinion research, questioned experts on how quality palliative care could be delivered. This panel concluded that palliative care must become an insured service in the Canada Health Act and made 20 specific recommendations which can be found under “Palliative Care Matters”.

Sooner or later, most Canadians will need palliative care for themselves or someone they love. “The consensus statement will be at the heart of a road map for Canada released in the spring of 2017.”

Physician’s Rights:

The Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute is a member of the Coalition for Health Care and Conscience.  In Canada, everyone has the right to their faith and conscience. The legalization of physician-assisted suicide put healthcare practitioners and facilities in a compromised position.  Those who cannot support assisted suicide or euthanasia because of their conscience, faith and commitment to the Hippocratic Oath could be forced to compromise their convictions. They should not have to.  This Coalition stands opposed to and we are asked to help them ensure Canadian’s faith and conscience are protected. Check it out at www.canadiansforconscience.ca and learn how you can participate.

Mark Warawa introduced Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act seeking to amend the government’s assisted suicide legislation, Bill C-14 to try to protect physicians, health care professionals and facilities. The Canadian Medical Association noted that approximately 70% of Canadian physicians DO NOT want to participate, directly or indirectly, in assisted suicide and euthanasia.  You can sign the conscience protection petition at markwarawa.com to help protect the conscience rights of Canadians.

The Liberal government has intervened on behalf of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) in a lawsuit launched by five Christian doctors (4 Evangelical and 1 Catholic), who argue that the College’s Professional Obligation and Human Rights Policy violates their Charter rights of religious freedom and conscience. The CPSO policy, in effect since March 2015, compels doctors who oppose such practices as abortion, abortifacient contraception or euthanasia to refer patients who request these “medical services” to non-objecting, accessible colleagues.

The Coalition for Healthcare and Conscience, a National association of health care, Catholic and Christian organizations including the 3 groups involved in the lawsuit, is urging people to protest in support of the court case, said Worthen who is also a spokesperson for the Coalition. “Canadians for Conscience” includes information on writing letters to the Minister of Health and attorney-general. This information came from Alberta’s Provincial President, Cathy Bouchard.

Our Provincial President, Evelyn Rigby, wrote letters to each Health authority in B.C, and I will try to shorten their answers:

From Interior Health: “it is important to note the new federal legislation states no person will be forced to provide or help to provide medical assistance in dying (Maid). Those rights are important, but we also need to consider the right of patients to choose what is right for them.

As you are aware, the province is consulting with stakeholders regarding the development of a policy to address patient access to MAID with a particular focus on how to approach the provision of MAID for patients in hospices and palliative facilities. We continue to rely upon our current approach with a commitment to maximize inclusiveness and engage more fully with an appreciation for what this new end of life option means to our patients and partners.”

From Fraser Health:

“The Board received an update at their meeting on October 11 on MAID services in Fraser Health. We are committed to a respectful approach that recognizes the diverse needs of patients and healthcare providers who find themselves in an ethical, moral and/or religious dilemma while ensuring appropriate access for a legal health care service for our patients.

Our priority is supporting patients and responding to their needs as best we can. We will continue to provide this service in the most centered way we can.

We have a responsibility to support people which means ensuring patients and families requesting information on MAID and palliative care service be provided with all the necessary information to make an informed decision.”

From Vancouver Coastal Health:

“As with the other health authorities, VCH is doing it’s best to remove barriers and possible disruption to patients who may be contemplating access to medical assistance in dying (MAID).  VCH seeks to foster respectful partnerships between staff in all care settings and the specialized health care providers who may be called into a setting only to provide MAID, and we have made education and counselling supports available to our staff. VCH also respects the conscience rights of staff who choose not to participate directly in MAID because of their faith or other reasons and accept that patients receiving care in a setting operated under a Denominational Health Care Agreement may, if the setting so directs, be transferred to another health care setting. We are working with our ‘non-participating’ partners to minimize the additional pain and suffering such transfers will cause.  Medical assistance in dying is an intensely personal decision and we commend the efforts of staff in all our programs, including palliative care and hospice, to be mindful and respectful of their own perspective and the views of their colleagues in optimizing the quality of life and addressing the suffering of patients  as each patient so determines.”

From Island Health:

“Island Health, together with other Health Authorities in British Columbia are responsible for ensuring that MAID is broadly available across settings, programs and services, where end-of-life care is routinely provided to capable adults. Island Health is committed to the provision of MAID in a manner that is respectful and supportive of patients, families and providers.

To facilitate reasonable, safe patient access to this service Island Health is committed to making MAID available within all our facilities.  Island Health respects individual health providers in their conscientious objection to involvement in MAID. We also respect that faith-based organizations may decide to not provide MAID within their facilities. We are in discussions with these organizations to ensure that patients and residents in those facilities who wish to receive MAID can be effectively transferred to the care of Island Health as required.”

Help Protect Bees:

From David Suzuki Foundation:

“Bees have been dying off at alarming rates, and neonicotinoid pesticides are implicated in   this decline. Bees aren’t the only victims. “Neonic” pesticides harm many other beneficial species, including butterflies, earthworms and birds, and scientists believe they may have impacts on human health too.  Health Canada is proposing to ban a commonly used neonic in Canada called Imidacloprid out of serious concern that the pesticide poses an unacceptable risk to the health of Canadian lakes and rivers.  The agency launched a consultation period on whether imidacloprid should be banned closing February 21, 2017.

There is a conference at the Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites in Vancouver, B.C. on May 4-5, 2017. Entitled Spirituality: The Invisible Ingredient in Health and Healing “Exploring Hospitality”

Keynote speakers are: Nuala Kenny. OC, MD, FRCPC

Carol Taylor, Phd, RN

Kevin Burns, CBC radio

Thomas Kerr, Phd

For more information and costs visit www.providencehealth.org  

May God richly Bless your Easter season and I look forward to seeing you in June at Provincial Convention.

Remember gratitude each day: The robins are back and say “good Morning” even if it is raining, Canadian women won 13 straight and gold in World curling and the men are now 3 wins no losses. My tulips are showing green (I know in Vancouver they are blooming) but that is pretty good for up north.

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