Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Pitfalls and Alternatives

Tuesday, 11 May 2010
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Euthanasia And Assisted Suicide:
Pitfalls And Alternatives

vanierMr. Jean Vanier

Mr. Jean Vanier devotes his life to the welcoming and care of persons with mental disabilities. In 1964, he founded the community of "L'Arche", a community for and with persons with mental disabilities. L'Arche now has approximately 140 houses spread in 34 countries within six continents. In 1971, Mr. Vanier founded, along with Marie-Helene Mathieu, "Faith and Light", a movement that brings together people with a disability, their parents, and friends for times of sharing, celebration, and prayer. Mr. Vanier is the author of numerous books, and his mission and action are based on the belief that "everyone is a sacred story". His theme: "From the Tyranny of Normality to the Wisdom of Love" (in French and English).



sullivan wDr. William Sullivan

Dr. William Sullivan has dual qualifications as a family doctor specializing in the care of the elderly and of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and as a bioethicist who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine of the University of Toronto, and engages in service, teaching, and research at St. Michael's Hospital and at Surrey Place Centre, a University of Toronto affiliated centre that supports people with developmental disabilities. He is the author of Eye of the Heart: Knowing the Human Good in the Euthanasia Debate (University of Toronto Press, 2005) and numerous book chapters and articles as well as one of the editors of Dignity in Illness, Disability and Dying (International Association of Catholic Bioethicists, 2007). He was the founding director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute and is now the director of the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists (IACB). In August 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. His theme: "Dispelling Confusion: What Does the Catholic Church Think About End of Life Challenges?" (in English).




toffler wDr. William Toffler

Dr. William Toffler works in family medicine since 1976. He is a Professor and Director of the Education Section in Family Medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University. He has published widely with more than 80 articles in medical journals. He is currently the principle investigator of a five-year, NIH grant designed to improve behavioral and social science teaching in medical schools throughout the country. He is also co-founder and National Director of the Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation (PCCEF), a non-profit organization that promotes compassionate care for severely ill patients. His theme: "Oregon: a Revealing Experience" (in English).




kenny wSister Nuala Patricia Kenny

Sister Nuala Patricia Kenny After an extensive career in pediatrics and medical education, Dr Nuala Kenny, a Sister of Charity of Halifax, founded the Department of Bioethics at Dalhousie University in 1988. Author of over one hundred papers and two books, Dr. Kenny is nationally recognized as an educator and physician ethicist. In 2009 she turned formally to faith-based ethics and is now Professor Emeritus, Dalhousie University Department of Bioethics, Ethics and Health Policy Advisor to the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada and on the Board of Covenant Health, Alberta. Her theme: "From Rhetoric to Reality: Reasons for Assisted Death Requests" (in English).




vinay wDoctor Patrick Vinay

Doctor Patrick Vinay was born in Paris in 1944. He immigrated to Canada in 1946, and he pursued studies in nephrology at Université de Montréal, where he obtained his Ph. D. in Clinical Sciences (Biochemistry). Between 1975 and 1985, he worked as a nephrologist and conducted a research laboratory at the Hôtel de Dieu de Montréal, continuing his career as a clinician and researcher at Montreal's Notre-Dame Hospital in 1988. Between 1988 and 2003, he successively became the President of the Fonds de la recherche en Santé du Québec, head of the Department of Medicine at Notre-Dame Hospital, and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Université de Montréal (1995-2003). He is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Ordre des Palmes académiques de France. Since 2003, he has devoted himself to palliative medicine; he is head of Palliative Care Services at the CHUM. He is interested in the physiological changes at the end of life, as well as the personal and family evolutions that patients, their families, and care-givers face during the end of life. His theme: "End of Life: An Ode to Helplessness" (in French).




scott wDr. John F. Scott

Dr. John F. Scott is a Palliative Care consultant at the Ottawa Hospital and Associate Professor, Division of Palliative Medicine at the University of Ottawa. In 1975, he assisted Dr. Balfour Mount in developing Canada's first palliative care program at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal. Later, he pioneered programs in Toronto and Hamilton before being recruited to Ottawa in 1988. As Director of Palliative Care and Vice-President of the Sisters of Charity Hospital, he established Canada's first university Division of Palliative Medicine. He has spoken and written widely on the topic of euthanasia including his frequently quoted article 'Euthanasia and Lamentation' (Humane Medicine, Vol 8 (2), 1992). His theme: "Palliative Care: an Alternative Worthy of the Human Person" (in English).




bouvette wMs. Maryse Bouvette

Ms. Maryse Bouvette is the Coordinator of the Palliative Pain and Symptoms Management Consultation Service at Bruyère Continuing Care (Ottawa). Ms. Bouvette is a nurse and vice-president of the Palliative Care Network of Quebec, a teaching assistant at the University of Ottawa, and co-president of the National Committee for Canadian Certification in Palliative Care of the Canadian Nurses Association. Her theme: "Coaching and Supporting Family Physicians in Palliative Care: An On-going Learning" (in French).



coulombe wDr. Louise Coulombe

Dr. Louise Coulombe spent two and a half years in Malawi, Central Africa, as medical officer in a 200 bed mission hospital after receiving her certification in Family Medecine (1978). On return to Canada, she spent seven years as a clinical teacher, lecturer and assistant professor in the University of Ottawa Family medicine residency program. She now works exclusively as a community palliative care physician in Ottawa, caring for patients in their homes until their death, and teaching and supporting families and professional caregivers. Her theme: "Dying at Home" (in French).



orourke wMs. Michelle O'Rourke

Ms. Michelle O'Rourke has worked as a Registered Nurse for thirty years, primarily in critical care. She has served as a Pastoral Minister, training a group of parishioners as palliative care volunteers to journey with those from their parish with life-threatening illness. She presently works half-time for the Diocese of London as a Lay Ecclesial Ministry Specialist and has published a book entitled Befriending Death: Henri Nouwen and a Spirituality of Dying. Her theme: "Parish Nursing" (in English).



murphy wMs. Pat Murphy

Ms. Pat Murphy's work includes clinical, organizational and research ethics consultation and ethics education available to patients, residents, families, health care professionals, students, administrative and governance personnel associated with the CHCM, as well as, members of the general public. She established the Health Care Ethics Service at St. Boniface General Hospital (SBGH) in Winnipeg, Manitoba (1993). Her theme: "Advance Directives: Are They Desirable and Effective?" (in English).




pickup wMr. Mark Pickup

Mr. Mark Pickup is triplegic with advanced multiple sclerosis and, as his disability increases, he has become interested in discovering the Christian meaning in suffering. With his wife LaRee, he has developed a three-part interactive seminar for suffering people and their loved ones titled Searching for Meaning in Suffering: A Christian Perspective. Mark is the founder of the Christian disability organization HumanLifeMatters ( and believes that love is what defines enlightened and civilized society. His theme: "Finding Meaning to the Cross" (in English).




bourque wDoctor André Bourque

Doctor André Bourque is a family doctor from Montréal, Assistant Professor at the Université de Montréal's Department of Family Medicine, head of the Department of General Medicine at the Université of Montréal's Hospital Centre (CHUM), and co-author of a brief against euthanasia and assisted suicide which was endorsed by over one hundred Quebec physicians and presented to the Collège des Médecins du Québec (2009). His theme: "Euthanasia, Assisted Suicide, and the Health Care Community" (in French).




prendergast wArchbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.

Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J. entered the Jesuit Novitiate in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1972. Following a sabbatical during which he was visiting professor at the École Biblique in Jerusalem, he was appointed auxiliary bishop for the Western Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Toronto in February 1995. He was installed as Archbishop of Halifax on September 14, 1998, and served there until 2007. He was also Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Yarmouth (2002-2007). On June 26, 2007, he became the Ninth Archbishop of Ottawa. Currently Archbishop Prendergast is the Pontifical Commissioner for the Fils de Marie and a member of the Voc Clara Committee. His theme: "A Wake Up Call for the Laity!" (in English).




obrien wMr. Patrick W. O'Brien

Mr. Patrick W. O'Brien turned to politics after a 21 year career in education. He served in public elected office for 25 years (1980-2005). His experience includes two years as a school Trustee, 11 years as a City Councillor, and 12 years as a Member of Parliament, all representing Londoners. As an M.P., he chaired several committees and served as Parliamentary Secretary for International Trade. He resigned from the Liberal caucus on a matter of conscience in June of 2005, over the government's railroading of "same-sex marriage" into law. He finished his career as an Independent, and retired before the election of 2006. His theme: "Political Action" (in English).




stockland wMr. Peter Stockland

Mr. Peter Stockland is director of the Cardus Centre for Cultural Renewal and president of Prima Communication in Montreal. He is former vice-president of English language magazines for Reader's Digest Canada, a former editor-in chief of The Gazette newspaper in Montreal, and a former editorial page editor of the Calgary Herald. During his 30-year career in Canadian journalism, he also contributed freelance articles and commentary to a wide variety of print and electronic media outlets. His theme: "Media: Actors or Spectators?" (in English).



schadenburgMr. Alex Schadenberg

Mr. Alex Schadenberg is the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and the chairperson for the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International. He has had articles published in newspapers throughout Canada, with his commentaries being published world-wide by news services. He has also published the book: Toward A Culture of Life - An explanation of the Catholic Church's teaching on Respect for Human Life (1996) and the Full Report of the World Federation of Right to Die Society Conference that was held in Toronto (2006), exposing the truth related to the "right to die agenda". His theme: "Coalition Building: The Need to Work Together on a World-wide Basis" (in English).