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Doctors helped record number of Canadians die

In 2020, 1,274 physicians and 71 nurse practitioners gave medically-assisted death to 7,595 Canadians, but the passage of Bill C-7 will make those numbers climb higher.

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Federal legislation is set to increase the numbers of medically-assisted deaths, with some euthanasia opponents pointing out it’s already happening in dubious circumstances.

Bill C-7, passed in March, eliminated the 10-day reflection period for the terminally ill and also expands euthanasia to the disabled. However, statistics from the federal government’s annual euthanasia report suggest the 1,274 physicians and 71 nurse practitioners who assisted a patient last year were often out-of-bounds already.

In 2020, 7,595 Canadians had their lives ended through Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), including

  • 4,120 for cancer without having to discuss MAiD with their oncologist;
  • 2,650 who perceived they were a burden on their family, friends or caregivers;
  • 1,412 due to feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • 1,253 with non-terminal conditions;
  • 227 because they were frail;  
  • 322 who did not get disability support services they needed; 
  • 126 who did not get palliative care they needed;
  • 59 practitioner assessed as consenting to MAiD without explicitly saying so;

As well, 2,532 Canadians were lethally injected less than 10 days after requesting it. For 905 patients, they weren’t imminently dying, but practitioners decided they could lose their capacity to choose MAiD before the 10 days were up, so they were assisted sooner.

“This raises real questions about the validity of the original request. If a person is on the verge of losing capacity, what degree of certainty can there be that the person currently has full capacity?” said Alex Schadenberg, founder of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, in a blogpost,

In an interview with Western Standard, Schadenberg said the stats also show why Canada needs to give public attention to the loneliness problem, like the U.K. has.

“They have a massive problem with cultural loneliness and it…is not only something that would lead to someone asking for their life to be ended. It leads obviously to depression in general, but also health problems…higher rates of obesity, higher rates of heart attack,” Schadenberg said.

“What the culture needs to recognize is that we have to be far more concerned about what makes human beings tick. What makes us human is our need for interconnection with others.”

A recent report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on “vulnerable populations” boasted of a new tool that could predict if a senior was likely to die within six months. RESPECT, developed by Amy Hsu, stands for Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community Tool.

“The issue really becomes fundamentally about cost containment and being more accurate in our ability to say to somebody, ‘You really shouldn’t be receiving more treatment. Nothing personal, but we think you’re not going to survive much longer,’” Schadenberg said.

Angelina Ireland, president of the Delta Hospice Society, had her 10-bed privately-owned hospice in B.C. taken over by the provincial government for its refusal to offer MAiD onsite. Ireland doubts the death-prediction tool shows respect for seniors.

“What is the purpose of creating such a program? My mind goes only to dark motives, honestly. I don’t understand why they would be so interested in that kind of information. So from where I stand it seems to me they are able to figure out how many people that they can offer MAiD to in the near future.”

Ireland says C-7 has made those with a terminally ill prognosis even more vulnerable if they can be killed the same day instead of taking 10 days to think about it.

“When a person comes to a hospice it isn’t really their best day. Their medication is usually out of whack, there is a real loss of hope,” Ireland said.

“And the kind of miracles that we’re able to perform with medicine and other therapies changes a person’s psychological outlook tremendously. However, with C-7 a person could enter into a hospice on one day and be killed that day.”

Bill C-7 calls for a framework to be established by March of 2023 which would allow euthanasia for the mentally ill to occur. Ireland says mental health issues and MAiD go together already.

“There’s a mental health crisis that is facing Canadians when they’re elderly, when they’re ill, when they’re vulnerable. And legislation like C-7 does not help because it eliminates them. It doesn’t give us the opportunity to provide them true medicine that could help them tremendously.”

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

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BC healthcare worker says she’s still suffering adverse effects six months after COVID shot

The 39-year-old youth crisis worker is told she must get her second dose, despite having suffered adverse effects.

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Dawn Slykhuis, a 39-year-old youth crisis worker has been told she must get her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, despite still experiencing adverse effects following dose number one.

Slykhuis, who tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, got her first shot in April 2021.

“I waited a full six months to make sure that I wasn’t going to have a reaction,” Slykhuis told the Western Standard.

“I got the dose on April 28, and then on May 18 I experienced acute sharp pain in my head, like someone was shooting lasers through my brain.”

Slykhuis said the pain lasted for about a week before settling into a more chronic dull pain, and so — fearing the possibility of cancer — she sought medical attention amid an unrelenting series of bad headaches coincided with a sporadically spiked heart rate.

“They expected nerve damage,” said Slykhuis, who began losing feeling in her left arm.

“It got so tingly yesterday I had to go for a CT. I’m waiting to see a neurologist on November 8.”

Dr. Steven Pelech, president and chief scientific officer at Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation, and chair of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee at the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, has been voicing concern over potential health risks COVID-19 vaccines may impose — specifically myocarditis.

“Contrary to what a number of people have said, there is no such thing as ‘mild myocarditis,’” Pelech told the Western Standard in an August interview.

“It’s the destruction of the myocytes, the heart cells that contract. When those cells die, they are not replaced in your body and are instead replaced by scar-tissue, which is from fibroblasts — skin cells which don’t have contractile activity, so the remaining muscle cells have to get a little bigger in order to compensate.”

Dr. Charles Hoffe, a physician who practiced in Lytton, BC for over 20 years raised similar concerns to that of Pelech, and he reported patients suffering severe adverse neurological and cardiovascular effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is now clearly apparent with medical evidence from around the world, that the side-effect profiles of the various gene modification therapies against COVID-19, have been vastly understated by their manufacturers, who were eager to prove their safety,” wrote Hoffe in an open letter to BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Interior Health Authority (IHA) suspended Hoffe’s emergency room privileges and he is currently being investigated by IHA and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPBC) for promoting “vaccine hesitancy.”

Hoffe is represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).

Several European countries suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine for people under the age of 30, citing heart inflammation as well as inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart.

Iceland has halted the Moderna vaccine for all ages.

“I am a healthy 39-year-old that’s never had nerve damage and all of a sudden I have chronic head pain, nerve damage, and I’m experiencing cognitive deficits as well, which is really hard to talk about because now I want to cry,” said Slykhuis.

“I’m like an old lady seeing my brain slip away. Making errors, dropping things. It’s pretty scary, well, it’s terrifying… to be experiencing these symptoms and still be forced to get another dose to keep my job in healthcare.”

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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It’s down to the wire for AHS employees as deadline looms for vaccine mandates

Although the statement from AHS says their COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory any “employee who is unable to be immunized due to a medical reason or for another protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be reasonably accommodated.”

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Tomorrow is deadline day for AHS workers.

The deadline of October 31 for Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) vaccine mandate is just over two weeks away when all employees and contracted healthcare providers will have to be fully immunized.

The AHS policy was released on August 31 and stated, “the latest an employee could receive their second dose to be in compliance with the new policy is October 16, 2021, which allows for the two weeks that must pass to be considered fully immunized.”

The Western Standard has heard from a number of lawyers representing thousands of clients on many fronts who are looking for legal support in pushing back against these workplace and post-secondary institution vaccine mandates.

One of those lawyers, Jeffrey Rath, of Rath & Company, was recently retained by MyAPSChoice, a group consisting of over 4,000 public service and government employees.

Based on a number of legal claims including violations of constitutional rights and freedoms, employment laws, human rights laws and breaches to the Freedom of Information Act, Rath has been advising his clients to not cooperate with the mandates.

Rath has also released a “generalized open letter” for anyone to use in any workplace or post-secondary institution where a worker or student is facing a mandate to be vaccinated “against their will.”

The letter states: “It is my legal opinion that any policy that vitiates the consent of an employee (including staff, students, volunteers, contractors, and other persons acting on their behalf) by threatening to either terminate or suspend them in order to coerce the employee into being vaccinated is a violation of Canadian Law.”

The letter goes on to cite laws protecting one’s medical privacy and highlights courses of action available including exemptions.

Rath also advises that people do not reply electronically or provide their consent for access to their private medical information and that demands for proof of vaccination be responded to in writing via regular or registered mail.

Page six of the document includes a legal letter that can be used by anyone wishing to claim a legal exemption based on “the illegality of the policy under section 7 of the Charter (of rights and freedoms).”

“This is my generalized legal opinion without reference to any one individual personal circumstance,” said Rath advising that people are welcome to email him if they have more specific circumstances that may require legal assistance or if they are interested in registering as a class-action litigant.

Although the statement from AHS says their COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory any “employee who is unable to be immunized due to a medical reason or for another protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be reasonably accommodated.”

“This is an extraordinary but necessary measure to help protect our vital frontline healthcare teams and help us maintain a safe environment for all patients and clients” said Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services.

An AHS official told the Western Standard that “AHS employee requests for accommodation will be reviewed by an Accommodations Adjudication Panel” which includes members from Human Resources, Employee Relations, WHS, Ability Management, and Organizational Ethics.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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WS EXCLUSIVE POLL: Vast majority of Albertans will vote in Senate election

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Near seven out of every 10 Albertans are prepared to mark their ballots in the provincial Senate elections on Monday, according to a new poll done exclusively for the Western Standard.

The Mainstreet Research polls show 67% of Albertans said they would vote in the race to elect three senators-in-waiting.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

Only 16% of Albertans said they would not participate in the election while another 17% were still not sure whether they would vote at all.

The polling shows a Conservative slate of candidates are currently in the lead, garnering the support of 30% of those surveyed.

Independent candidates are sitting at 17%, People’s Party of Canada candidates at 13% and 28% are still making up their minds.

A total of 12% said they would vote for a combination of candidates.

For those who intend to vote for the UCP in the next election, 75% said they would be voting for the Conservative candidates. For NDP supporters, 37% said they would vote for Independent candidates.

Courtesy Mainstreet research

PPC candidates were the favorite choice of 43% of those aiming to vote for the Wildrose Independence Party.

Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi said while he “expects a slate of Conservatives to be elected” he “was surprised at the number of people who were going to select a mix.”

A full list of the candidates can be found on the Elections Alberta website here.

The analysis in this report is based on results of a survey conducted on October 12-13, 2021, among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error are higher in each subsample. Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding.

Tomorrow: The Western Standard‘s exclusive poll on party support in Alberta.

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