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Canada’s first ever World Right to Die Day a success

Despite the worst weather including a rain and wind storm, Canada’s  first ever celebration of World Right to Die Day on November 2 turned into success. On that Day, jointly sponsored by Dying with Dignity and Choices in Dying Victoria, between 80-100 hardy folks braved one of the first wintry blasts to support the cause for individual choice in the manner and timing of our death.

Read further report here.

Sieglinde Malmberg, Coordinator for  Dying with Dignity played emcee with a rollicking programme designed by Galina Coffey-Lewis.  

Guest speaker, Chris Considine kicked off the rally.  He served as the lead lawyer for  Sue Rodriquez who initially spear-headed the cause for choice and physician-assisted death over twenty years ago.  Originally diagnosed with ALS in 1991 she took her fight for physician-assisted suicide to the Supreme Court of Canada.   She failed in her bid to change the law, but her battle and her death raised awareness and engendered a crucial debate on right-to-die issues.  In 1994, she took her own life with the help of an anonymous physician.  
The Raging Grannies lightened the mood with a rollicking number and we all joined in.    A  letter was read on behalf of Margot Bentley, who was first diagnosed with Alzheimers in 1999.   In 2005 she had deteriorated so much she had to be placed in residential care and has been in a ‘vegetative’ state for the past three years.  Her husband, John and daughter Katherine are currently suing the Fraser Health Authority in the province of British Columbia for force-feeding her against her express wishes as outlined in her Living Will Advanced Care Health Directive.   Music and song was provided brilliantly by Nelson Brunanski throughout the programme.   An update was read on all British Columbia Cases on behalf of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association with particular emphasis on the current status of the Carter  Case, now moving on to the Supreme Court of Canada.  
Dr. Adrian Fine, a kidney specialist recently retired from Winnipeg, spoke movingly of the physician’s role in aiding the last wishes of the terminally ill and dying.  He rooted his premise in the Hippocratic Oath and reminded physicians that to do ‘no harm’ includes extending the life of a patient beyond their individually expressed wishes.  A powerful reminder of man’s desire for free will and a great speech.   A minute of silence was observed to remind all present of those we have lost and those who will die in a manner that is not ‘humane’ nor ‘caring’ nor ‘desired’.    Nelson Brunanski and the audience closed the programme with a  song, titled ‘ I’m Inspired’…. reminding us all to inspire others to join their voice with ours and continue the fight for the right to choose.