Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Rare Agreement in Ontario on Need for End-of-Life Discussions

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Rare Agreement in Ontario on Need for End-of-Life Discussions

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Rare agreement in Ontario on need for end-of-life discussions

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published June 24:

It's a rare moment when all three political parties at Queen's Park find themselves in agreement. But the complex issues behind end-of-life care are clearly resonating with enough Ontarians -- of all political stripes -- that normally divisive MPPs agree that it's time to take action.

As the boomer generation ages, it's becoming rapidly clear that there's an increasing demand for discussions on palliative care and assisted suicide. The issue got a boost last week when Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters that it needed a good "discussion." Wynne was clearly inspired by the compassionate motives behind Quebec's Bill 52, An Act Respecting End-Of-Life-Care, even if the legislation risks conflict with the Criminal Code by allowing physicians to administer lethal medication at a patient's request.

Ultimately, given the national implications, Parliament will have to face its responsibility to determine whether the law needs to be adapted to changing times and needs. But as long as federal parties avoid the issue, it's no surprise that the provinces are exploring their own ways of handling it. Quebec is already doing this by bringing forward so-called "medical aid in dying" legislation that would allow doctors to provide lethal medication if a patient requests it.

While Ontario isn't yet ready for that bold move, new doors are opening.

In the days following Wynne's comments, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak suggested that a government committee look into the issue. NDP health critic France Gelinas agreed. They are right to ask for a committee -- especially one with good researchers and the opportunity to discuss the circumstances surrounding death with Ontarians from all walks of life. Since Wynne got this conversation started, her government should strike such a committee. There's no reason to delay. …

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