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The Catholic Women’s League of Canada BC & Yukon Provincial Council National theme: One Heart, One Voice, One Mission Provincial theme: Joyfully Serving the Lord

Legislation Oral Report to Provincial Convention 2016 – Gisela Montague

By now you have heard the word MAID, it is not the Molly Maid but it stands for Medical Assistance in Dying.  It is a euphemism (I had to look this up. The dictionary explains it as: Euphemism - meaning "good speech". It's a way that we paper over uncomfortable things with more pleasant-sounding words.  Bill C14: “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)”, was introduced by the Government of Canada. It was debated and was passed in the House of Commons with a 186 to 137 vote.  As I am writing my report it is being debated in the Senate and it seems that there are changes from day to day.  

Since the deadline of June 6, 2016, set by the Supreme Court, the medical assistance in dying takes effect with or without a federal law to control it.  

Now the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons in every province and one territory have issued guidelines that doctors must follow in providing medical assistance in dying.  One of the guidelines for B.C. states “Physicians may refuse to provide assisted death but they must provide an effective transfer of care.” Our Health Minister Terry Lake and Attorney General Suzanne Anton released a statement June 8th and I quote:  “The Supreme Court’s decision only clearly refers to the role of physicians in providing assistance in dying.  The College of Registered Nurses and the College of Pharmacists are working to support registrants in getting legal clarity on medical assistance in dying to further support patient access.”

“When legislation regulating medical assistance in dying is enacted, the provisions of the legislation will take priority over the provisions of these guidelines.”

In an open letter Cardinal Lacroix from Quebec writes:  “To respect the sanctity of life, the Catholic church firmly opposes euthanasia and assisted suicide.  She deplores that all the scenarios put forward by the federal government eventually allow a growing number of people to ask to end their life.”  He further states that the calls for assistance in dying usually disappear when suffering people are well accompanied.  Doctors and palliative care personnel have so many times witnessed this.

Our national president Barbara Dowding participated in the demonstration June 1st on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.  She urged policy steps to protect the most vulnerable and affirmed that the Catholic Women’s League is pushing to “make palliative care part of the Canada health act.  Until 100% of Canadians have access to quality end of life palliative care, we fear the vulnerable will be at risk in a country where euthanasia/assisted suicide will be seen as another form of health care.”

This Sunday, June 19th, we celebrate “Pro-Life” Sunday. One of our objects in the League is to protect the sanctity of human life and one of our ministries is: to represent Catholic women and their views on topics of national interest and importance and to communicate those views to church, government and society at large.

I encourage you to keep praying on this issue and keep writing to your provincial and territorial governments that no health care worker, hospital or facility should be forced to provide euthanasia/assisted suicide or arrange for referral.

My dear sisters, this is legislation in action.

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