International Gathering on Euthanasia Examines Successes and Challenges



June 6, 2011

Dig deeper: Three updated articles by ARPA Canada about euthanasia are attached to this article.

A representative from ARPA Canada and Langley ARPA were able to attend both days of the international symposium on euthanasia and assisted suicide last week in Vancouver BC. Quality speakers from around the world challenged us to see the gravity of the pro-euthanasia tide and the huge accomplishments that can be made when we respond effectively. What follows are some points we believe are worth sharing with our readership in regards to how to promote a culture of life in a country where the move towards euthanasia can seem inevitable:

  • The push for legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada is only going to increase.
  • The defeat of Bill C-384 is something to celebrate, but we have to use this time to promote quality care for people who are dying or experiencing chronic conditions and suicide prevention. A successful strategy to continue to defeat the legalization of euthanasia or assisted suicide includes the growth of care for the vulnerable and end of life care.
  • A caucus of MP’s has been formed to promote palliative and compassionate care. We need to encourage our respective MP’s to join and support this caucus.
  • There are already a few court challenges to our assisted suicide laws in Canada and we will probably see one of these go all the way to the Supreme Court. This will be an issue that won’t be going away, regardless of the C-384 vote.
  • The apparent public support for euthanasia and assisted suicide is based on a lot of misinformation about what is involved. A lot can be accomplished through education. That needs to happen now.
  • Even if the courts were to strike down our law against assisted suicide and/or euthanasia, that won’t be the end of the story. The Netherlands is a good example of how the pro-death crowd will continue to push for increased expansion (in Holland even children are being euthanized). We need an effective response that will go on for years.
  • Alex Schadenberg is doing great work with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada. His work is bearing fruit around the world. But the organization needs much more financial support. It is worthy of it.
  • Some key victories have been won in Parliaments around the world in the past couple of years. Most of the efforts were done by relatively small groups of people who volunteered their time and had very little financial support. Our grass-roots efforts make a big difference.
  • There are very few groups devoted to fighting euthanasia in the world. In contrast, the pro-euthanasia groups are large and well-funded. They are also getting a lot of celebrity support.
  • We need to tell stories that give a real face to reality of euthanasia. It isn’t at all about “dying with dignity.” But the public doesn’t see that because they just hear a debate of words rather than hearing stories about real lives. The other side does a good job of telling stories – we need to do the same.
  • Each of us can have a role in turning the tide. This is a grassroots effort. We need to write letters to the editor, talk with our colleagues, and be a voice for the most vulnerable, regardless of where we are at in life. See the attached ARPA articles for more information.
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