What happens when a hospice rejects medical assistance in dying?

‘This is about the B.C. government destroying a sanctuary for dying patients who want the choice to stay in a facility where MAID is not offered’

What happens when a hospice rejects medical assistance in dying?You might think the middle of a global pandemic is less than an ideal time to disrupt the operations of a hospice where palliative care patients receive comfort as they approach death. If so, you would not share the apparent thinking of the B.C. government or its local Fraser Health Authority, which is forcing layoffs…

Faith leaders oppose changes to MAID law

‘Imposing the intentional taking of human life as a solution to human suffering is unacceptable for a civilized society’

Faith leaders oppose changes to MAID lawMore than 50 leaders across the faith spectrum warn the Liberal government’s changes to medical assistance in dying legislation will pressure vulnerable Canadians to opt for “lethal procedures” over living with illness or disability Equally alarming, says the gloves-off open letter released recently, the alterations contained in the bill known as C-7 will undermine the…

The past isn’t a script set down in stone

Vandalizing public spaces under the delusion that such acts make yesterday a better today is sad-sack politics that fosters democratic weakness

The past isn’t a script set down in stoneFor her book Talking Stones: The Politics of Memorialization in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland, Elisabetta Viggiani mapped 157 publicly visible sites of Troubles commemoration in Belfast. Broken down, the city’s memorials alone offer a ratio of one wall plaque, garden, public tableau or statue for every 25 of the 4,000 or so people killed by the…

Don’t let COVID-19 permanently change Canada

The speed of the spread and the rise of the body count prove something menacing has us at its mercy. How we deal with it is crucial

Don’t let COVID-19 permanently change CanadaThe Quebec government recently ordered the province’s cathedrals of commerce – also known as shopping malls – to close. The edict followed another imperative obliging all places of religious worship to lock their doors. Yet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau subsequently suggested Canadians might not have seen anything yet when it comes to draconian measures to…

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliation

Taking shortcuts becomes a fast track to ending the conversation and starting the shouting. We need to build a workable partnership

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliationCanadians have been swept over the roaring information waterfall and plunged into a kind of suspended frenzy, from the ‘crisis’ of Indigenous railway blockades to the fresh hell of a spreading global virus most of us had never heard of when 2020 began. One immediate effect is a dizzying distractedness that makes coherent political response…

Palliative care suffers because of MAID

Delta Hospice Society has been locked in a lengthy fight with the health authority and the B.C. government, and has now lost its funding

Palliative care suffers because of MAIDDirectors of a Vancouver-area hospice are considering their legal options after the B.C. government abruptly yanked its funding because it doesn’t permit medical assistance in dying (MAID) on the premises. And an Ottawa lawyer engaged by the Delta Hospice Society says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix is simply wrong to claim the facility’s refusal to…

New vision for CRTC is dangerously radical

Critics believe recommendations have the very real potential to limit how freely Canadians can access the Internet and what content they’ll be able to find when they do

New vision for CRTC is dangerously radicalConcern is growing over proposed changes to the federal approach to governing broadcasting in Canada. After two days of almost baffling silence following the release of a report calling for sweeping changes to how – and over what – the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) exercises its regulatory powers, pundits and politicians are starting…

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicide

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicideOver the past three decades, a small palliative care hospice in suburban Vancouver has raised millions of dollars and provided hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to benefit British Columbia’s health system. Now, the Delta Hospice Society must drop its refusal to provide medical assistance in dying (MAID) for qualifying patients in its care. Or…

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicide

Health authority threatens to shut down hospice for not providing assisted suicideOver the past three decades, a small palliative care hospice in suburban Vancouver has raised millions of dollars and provided hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to benefit British Columbia’s health system. Now, the Delta Hospice Society must drop its refusal to provide medical assistance in dying (MAID) for qualifying patients in its care. Or…

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litter

The movie offers a fun-house-mirror examination of our souls and why we've allowed this kind of cultural plundering to go on for years

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litterCats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn. What’s been dropped at the paying public’s shoes is a cinematic blood sample so horrifying it could make Old Possum’s…

Scheer’s departure shows political dissent has been crushed

Neither the Conservatives nor Scheer displayed the remotest capacity to fight back by hammering home the counter message about a Liberal Party in disarray

Scheer’s departure shows political dissent has been crushedIn the end, it’s probably just as well for both the Conservative Party and Canadians that leader Andrew Scheer resigned. Drawing, quartering and hanging might have been all the rage in the Elizabethan era. But it is, to paraphrase a certain prime minister, 2019, and no one gains today by having public political execution preceded…

An election result that reflects the country and its mood

An election result that reflects the country and its moodFittingly, it fell to one of Canada’s finest expatriate essayists to succinctly describe with characteristic understatement the 2019 federal election. “There is no place in a democracy for gangster government,” Adam Gopnik wrote in The New Yorker the morning after Canadians went to the polls. “That reminder made Monday night a truly worthwhile Canadian initiative.”…

Canadians have become habituated to howling for political effect

There’s still time to lower our voices, choose our words and stop talking long enough to listen to our neighbours

Canadians have become habituated to howling for political effectIt might be going a tad far to say overstatement is killing our democracy. Hyperbole in politics has been around since the world’s second oldest profession followed the world’s oldest profession into existence. U.S. President Donald Trump is hardly the first to have gained high office through gifted manipulation of the fibber’s foghorn. Yet we…

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentum

Every Canadian has the fundamental right to think and believe freely. But an Ontario court has sided with the suppression of the individual

Onslaught against conscience gaining momentumImagine being a feminist physician unshakable in your conviction that girls and women must be protected from patriarchal oppression. Now picture being asked to assist with a sex-selection abortion because daddy doesn’t want a female child and mother consents to his wishes. Up until May 15, reasonable Canadians would concur that you had every right…

Reasoned skepticism about climate change is healthy

Let’s not deal with the grim science of cynical political marketing and hyperbole. Instead, we should rigorously adjudicate all belief

Reasoned skepticism about climate change is healthySpotting headlines about the recent United Nations report prophesying imminent global extinction of a million species, I immediately wondered at the media response should Donald Trump ever claim to have eaten a million ice-cream cones. Instinct tells me swarms of media fact-checkers would have been at every Baskin-Robbins or Ben & Jerry’s in the United…

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people around

Banning the wearing of religious clothing robs public servants of the right to make their own choices

Quebec bill shows a deep desire to push people aroundLegislative hearings on outlawing the wearing of religious clothing or symbols by specific Quebec public servants could easily be dismissed as proverbial lipstick on a pig.  In fact, they’re worse, much worse, than a skin-deep brush with porcine cosmetology. They are part of a calculated exploitation of the deep human spiritual need to push other…

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architecture

In Ireland, in South Africa, in Canada the desire for stability, resolution and trust runs deep

The echoing calls for reconciliation and sound social architectureRose Conway-Walsh identifies as a confidently progressive left-of-centre leader of Sinn Féin in the Irish Senate. She’s equally confident, however, that many of Ireland’s pressing, implacable existential problems could be resolved by turning the clock back to April 24, 1916. “Everything is rooted in the Proclamation. If we only had fulfilled the ideals laid out…

SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrity

Democracy can’t survive when equality before the law becomes a cynical joke

SNC-Lavalin affair strikes at the heart of legal integrityAndrew Scheer contributed significantly to Canadian political life by saying recently that the SNC-Lavalin affair isn’t just about choosing between Justin Trudeau and Scheer. The Conservative leader did further good by making clear that the SNC-Lavalin mess isn’t even just about an abstraction called the rule of law. It is, he spelled out for those…

Jody Wilson-Raybould’s deeply Canadian courage

The former minister has demonstrated quality we should all be proud of. And the system shows it can deal with such honesty

Jody Wilson-Raybould’s deeply Canadian courageI can’t remember feeling more proud to be Canadian than I have since Jody Wilson-Raybould began speaking to the House of Commons justice committee on Wednesday afternoon. As a little kid at Nov. 11 cenotaph ceremonies, I might have been as proud in the misty half-understood way of childhood. When Paul Henderson scored the immortal…

We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to corruption

The SNC-Lavalin affair shows us how pernicious behaviour can seep into the deep spaces of our institutions

We can’t afford to turn a blind eye to corruptionA key thing that makes the SNC-Lavalin quarrel such a showcase for corruption is its utter confusion about who did what to whom. Since the uproar erupted two weeks ago as a major Globe and Mail scoop, it has become a comedy of compounding curiosities. On Monday, it cost the prime minister’s principal secretary his…

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishable

Gillette has stepped boldly into the socio-political minefields of #MeToo, bullying, spousal abuse and male self-absorption

A close shave: marketing and politics indistinguishableIt’s tempting to take the recent’s ‘controversy’ over the Gillette shaving company’s new advertising campaign at something less than face value. For starters, controversy itself is no longer the conversational cutting edge it once was. In this era of fake-versus-false news, universal short attention spans and ludicrous overstatement as the entry price for even being…

Uber’s utter disrespect for social and business norms

The economic benefits of demolishing a monopoly business practice aren’t worth the environmental and human costs

Uber’s utter disrespect for social and business normsUber is embroiled in public controversy yet again with its Twitter release of an embarrassing dash-cam video of Ottawa Senators players mocking a coach while using the ride-sharing service. The tweet of the private conversation, captured on Oct. 29 when the National Hockey League team was between games in Las Vegas and Arizona, has reportedly…

Compelled speech compromises basic rights

If the Canada Summer Jobs precedent holds, soon other government agencies will mix public funds and political preferences

Compelled speech compromises basic rightsIn a crucial free speech ruling recently, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the constitution in that country prohibits forcing people to say what they don’t believe. Here in Canada, a young Ottawa lawyer upped the ante recently by filing a Federal Court lawsuit arguing that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right…

Will the Supreme Court uphold our liberty to dissent?

The Trinity Western University case represents one of the most important religious freedom decisions of the past 20 years

Will the Supreme Court uphold our liberty to dissent?On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada will release its ruling in the Trinity Western University case. Until the judgment is made public, of course, no one knows which way the court might swing. For all who’ve tracked the dispute’s progress through the legal process, however, it stands to be among the most important religious…

Liberals’ “values test” a threat to freedom in Canada

The freedom of Canadian citizens to peacefully oppose anything, including abortion, is the very base on which all rights are founded

Liberals’ “values test” a threat to freedom in CanadaNDP MP David Christopherson gets it. Liberal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu apparently just can’t. Christopherson broke party ranks and voted for a Conservative motion in late March demanding the government scrap its “values test” for Canada Summer Jobs funding. Even with Christopherson’s support, the motion was easily defeated. “If the law is an ass, you…

Not just a fluffy tale about the Easter Bunny

Children's aid society removed children from care because the foster parents wouldn't lie about the Easter Bunny

Not just a fluffy tale about the Easter BunnyMuch of the media coverage of the legal decision involving Derek and Frances Baars and the Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton has treated it as a quirky story about a Christian family versus the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. In fact, the 61-page decision by Justice A.J. Goodman is a blistering critique of the aid…

Systemic racism or a protected, impartial process?

The Gerald Stanley-Colten Boushie case has touched off a firestorm that reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how our legal system works

Systemic racism or a protected, impartial process?Reaction to the Gerald Stanley-Colten Boushie verdict continues to roil in Canada’s legal system. The latest stir of the pot comes from the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers. The council sent a tart reproach this week to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould for their responses to the acquittal of Stanley,…

Indigenous businessman decries Canada Summer Jobs edict as ‘insidious’

Compares the government's rule change to the reviled Indian Act for imposing ironclad status-quo thinking

Indigenous businessman decries Canada Summer Jobs edict as ‘insidious’Just days before the extended deadline for the Canada Summer Jobs program, David Acco still can’t reconcile what the federal government wants employers to do as part of a new application process. “It’s crazy,” Acco says from Montreal. “I would never tick the box they want me to tick. They should be looking at this…

The end of the sexual revolution, the start of a new awakening?

Justin Trudeau must set a new standard for sexual propriety in great part because his father dismantled traditional values

The end of the sexual revolution, the start of a new awakening?It feels like good fortune to watch this full circle moment when the son must grapple with what the father wrought. Mere weeks ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke emphatically about his insistence on proper conduct between the sexes on Parliament Hill and, by extension, among Canadians generally. While North America grapples with the newest…

Using student job funding to silence critics

The Liberals’ latest decision means summer employment is now a testing ground for ideological adhesion, obedience and purity

Using student job funding to silence criticsIt’s tough work to imagine two groups more radically different than the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and the gays rights network LGBTory. So when both join the rising chorus opposing changes to what should be among Ottawa’s most innocuous programs, it’s a signal something significant is going on. The Four Cs, as the council…