A former Winnipegger, who produced a documentary about assisted dying in Belgium, is concerned Canada's new assisted dying law might soften over time.
Kevin Dunn went to Belgium, where assisted dying has been legal for 15 years. He wants Canadians to understand the full ramifications of what is means to say 'yes' to assisted dying.
"Although the numbers here may show the majority of people want this, I don't honestly believe they understand the full ramifications of what they are agreeing to. The most disturbing take away for me from travelling to Belgium is that people are asking for euthanasia and assisted dying and getting it at the first diagnosis of cancer or a malignant disease," Dunn said.
Canada's Supreme Court struck down the criminal act of assisted suicide in 2015. A new law was passed in June.
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Dunn, a former Winnipegger, who now lives in Ontario, has been showing his film The Euthanasia Deception around the world and has had more than 200 requests for interviews.
In the documentary, medical and legal experts say there were tough stringent rules when Belgium first introduced the law but years later, they say more people are asking for assisted death and obtaining it for non-terminal illnesses.
Dunn interviewed a university professor who said his mother was depressed, not terminally ill and was granted an assisted death without his knowledge.
A father Dunn also interviewed said he was asked by a stranger on the street why he didn't opt for assisted death for his severely disabled daughter. Dunn pointed out people under the age of 18 can apply for assisted death in Belgium with the consent of their parents.
That is not the case in Canada but Dunn is worried the safeguards here might be challenged over time.
"Have we gone too far? How long before our laws get challenged and those safeguards get pushed back and back? We have to be so careful and push for more quality palliative care," he said.
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Dunn says while the media has done an adequate job in documenting stories about people who opt to end their life, he says more homework has to be done on what is happening in other countries that have legalized assisted dying.
"Because we have to learn by history, other countries who have gone this path, and what happens to the survivors who are left behind after these decisions are made? Family members who are suffering because they didn't know about the decision. While one person's pain has ended, it has been transplanted to another generation," he said.
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Dunn says since the documentary has been released, inquiries have been coming in from New Zealand, Australia Belgium ,Canada and the USA. Movie theaters, including one in Toronto, have requested screenings.
The film is being screened tonight at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish at 4588 Roblin Boulevard.