Apr 28, 2017
By Christine Ross
A Toronto doctor and strong opponent of assisted dying has been named chair of a committee to review advance requests from Canadians for help to end their lives. Dr. Harvey Schipper, who once compared assisted dying to Nazi genocide, has been put in charge of a federally mandated process that was promised by the government as part of the new legislation. Schipper’s appointment is raising doubts about an impartial process and the government’s commitment to seriously consider expanding its restrictive assisted dying law. The government promised to hold independent reviews to decide if the law will eventually include advance requests, mature minors and those suffering from mental illnesses. Currently, the law only applies to those already near death. Assisted dying supporters call Schipper’s appointment troubling and sad news for people with dementia, who want the right to make an advance request while they are still mentally fit to do so. 803 Canadians had medically assisted deaths in the first six months of the federal law.