A Word from Our Chair
With the federal election behind us, the attention of Jewish Canadians is appropriately focused on what the change in government means for our community. The CIJA team is looking carefully at the outcome, following up with our contacts in the political sector, and developing a comprehensive plan to engage the new Parliament. I will provide a report on our activities and how you can engage in them in my next A Word from Our Chair in two weeks.
In the meantime, I would like talk to you about an issue we know will be immediately pressing for Parliament on its return.
Physician-Assisted Dying (PAD) is a contentious issue that will have an impact on our community. There has been vigorous debate over the legalization of PAD, revealing a diversity of viewpoints rooted in compassion, religion, ethics, and medicine. This issue is deeply personal and has the potential to affect every family in our community.
The debate culminated in the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) February 2015 decision, Carter v. Canada, which determined that Canadians have a right to PAD. The SCC’s decision gave government one year to implement legislation and / or regulation before the existing law prohibiting PAD is rescinded. Questions remain regarding how PAD should be restricted, regulated, and administered. Despite divergent opinions within our community on whether PAD should be permitted, we suspect there is a strong consensus around the need to:
- Protect healthcare providers that refuse to offer PAD services for reasons of conscience; and
- Ensure that access to PAD is sufficiently regulated and restricted to prevent abuse.
As we finalize our position on behalf of the organized Jewish community, your feedback is critical. We want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts with us in this survey.
We also invite you to contact CIJA Near You and let your Local Partner Council know if you are interested in the discussion, as we will be undertaking local consultations on this important issue in the near future.
We just concluded an election that underscored how important every voice is in a democracy. Engaging in this discussion about PAD is a meaningful way you can contribute to the public policy process.
David J. Cape