Conservative bill on assisted suicide raises urgency for NDP motion on palliative care

OTTAWA– New Democrat MP Charlie Angus says he is concerned that the NDP push for a national palliative care strategy may be overshadowed by the polarized debate over assisted suicide. The introduction of a Conservative MP’s bill supporting assisted suicide for people suffering physical or psychological trauma comes on the heels of a similar motion passed at the Liberal Party convention. Angus says the New Democrats continue to work to put attention on the need to establish better palliative care options to help families in difficult times.

“If you talk to health care professionals they will tell you that palliative care is the common sense solution staring politicians in the face. I am concerned that the Liberals and Conservatives have been opting for a discussion on assisted suicide when so many Canadians are facing a lack of good quality medical support in terms of palliative and hospice care.”

Angus points out that 70% of Canadians don’t have access to Palliative and end-of-life care services. The issue of the New Democrat’s national palliative care strategy will be debated in the House. So far, neither the Liberals, nor the Conservatives have stated whether they will support this effort to establish quality end of life care.

Meanwhile numerous national organizations have joined the New Democrat campaign for a national conversation on palliative care. These groups include:

Member Signatories: • ALS Society of Canada • Alzheimer Society of Canada • Canadian AIDS Society • Canadian Association for the Deaf • Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists • Canadian Association for Spiritual Care • Canadian Association of Social Workers • Canadian Breast Cancer Network • Canadian Cancer Society  • Canadian Healthcare Association/Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations • The College of Family Physicians of Canada • Canadian Home Care Association • Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association • Canadian Medical Association • Canadian Nurses Association • Canadian Pharmacists Association • Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians • Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists • Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation • Catholic Health Alliance of Canada • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada • The Huntingdon Society of Canada • Ovarian Cancer Canada • Saint Elizabeth Health Care • The Pallium Foundation

Associate Member Signatories: • Canadian Caregiver Coalition • Canadian Network of Palliative Care for Children • Canadian Virtual Hospice • Long Term Care Planning Network