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November 28, 2010: How Will We Die, Euthanasia and the Politics of Death (Special Forum) - A Conversation with Howard Moscoe - Economy of Scales (Doc)

How Will We Die: Euthanasia and the Politics of Death - A Special Two Hour Forum from Montreal - How Will We Die? Euthanasia and the Politics of Death.

A special committee of the Quebec National Assembly has been studying it. Now, The Sunday Edition conducts its own inquiry. For the first two hours of this week's program, join us for a special public forum from the McGill University School of Medicine in Montreal. That's : How Will We Die: Euthanasia and the Politics of Death.

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How Will We Die: Euthanasia and the Politics of Death, Continued - In this hour you will hear from the audience from our Public Forum at the Howard Palmer Theatre at the Medical School on the McGill University Campus in Montreal.

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Hour Three: Econonomy of Scales: Documentary producer Karin Wells brings us the story about how one small town became a very big player in the world of sardines. And, for thirty two years, Toronto city councillor Howard Moscoe has been one of the most colourful politicians in the country. He certainly livened up city council.Now he's planning to do the same for law school!

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Hour 1

How Will We Die: Euthanasia and the Politics of Death - A Special Two Hour Forum from Montreal -

There can be few issues as important or as emotionally charged as the question of the end of life.

We talk endlessly about the quality of life, but we rarely discuss or hear discussed the Quality of Death. If not taboo, the subject is tension filled and confusing; at the same time abstract and concrete and very personal.

Most of us would like to die at home, surrounded by the people who love us. The fact is that more than 80 per cent of us will die in a hospital. As our population ages, the demand for end of life care will increase. An international survey by The Economist concluded that Canada ranked 9th, tied with the US, in end of life treatment. The UK was first.

Yet as Dr. Balfour Mount, the father of palliative care, said on our program last week doctors get very little training in end of life issues. Nurses get twice as much and vegetarians get six-times-as-much training. Some of us may have had to deal with this issue personally with a parent or friend.

When we see those we love in great pain, we want that pain to end. Which raises some delicate moral concerns. Should we be able to control the way we die, the way those close to us die?

In 1993 Sue Rodriguez, suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, asked for an assisted suicide. Her case went to the Supreme Court. By a 5-4 decision the justices rejected any change in the law against euthanasia and assisted suicide. The debate continues. Here in Quebec, a select committee of the National Assembly has been holding public hearings. Incidentally Quebeckers, like other Canadians, support legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide by a wide margin.

For the next two hours we will explore the debate, its importance and its implications for each of us personally and for the wider society. For example when and under what circumstances is euthanasia ever justified?

Our distinguished panel:

Margaret Somerville, Faculty of Medicine and Law McGill University Beryl Wajsman, Editor of The Suburban, publisher of The Metropolitan and President of the Montreal Institute for Public Affairs Stephen Liben, Director, Montreal Children's Hospital Paediatric Palliative Care Program Linda Couture, Network Director, Vivre Dans La Dignite, Living with Dignity Alain Jarry, Association Quebecoise pour le Droit de Mourir dans la Dignite (AQDMD) Mary Griffin, Montreal General Pain Control Nurse Clinician.


Hour 2

How Will We Die: Euthanasia and the Politics of Death - Continued-

In this hour we hear from the audience.


Hour 3

Mail Pack

Last week, in preparation for the forum in our first two hours, Michael had a conversation with Balfour Mount. Dr. Mount is not only a doctor, he is also a cancer patient. And he is a pioneer in the field of palliative medicine.

Many of you wrote in about this item.

Economy of Scales - Documentary

Sardines - the guilt free fish - environmentally correct; good for you and, The Sunday Edition would like to add, the best buy in town.

Sardines were once the working man's lunch, But with the invention of the tuna fish sandwich in the 1950's they began to fall from grace.

This past spring the last sardine processing plant in the US closed down in the state of Maine. There were headlines and a lot of weeping and wailing from patriotic readers. No more American sardines. Will we have to eat Chinese sardines? Thai sardines? . Well, here's a little secret. The biggest sardine plant in the world, and the last on the continent, is still packing, still thriving in Black's Harbour New Brunswick.

Over the years Canadians have cornered the north American sardine industry. Connors Brothers has been canning sardines in Blacks Harbour since 1889. There was a can of Brunswick's in every soldiers ration kit in both world wars, they exported to all corners of the world and sardine heads and tails fertilized gardens across the nation. Blacks Harbour, population 960 perched on the Bay of Fundy, is an old company town. Its streets are lined with identical, if somewhat faded houses. For generations the women of Blacks Harbour have been packing in the plant and the men have been out, fishing sardines in the weirs, one of the oldest ways of catching fish.

The modern survival of this sardine outpost is a story of the tenacity of the people, the health of the fish and a whole lot of corporate gymnastics. Here is Karin Wells' documentary, Economy of Scales.

Back to the Books for Howard Moscoe

Howard Moscoe been called a lot of things in his 31 years in municipal politics. But one thing you could never call him is boring. He once bought one of former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman's toupees and used it to dust off his council chamber desk.

At one point he was called Mr. Dressup because of his penchant for wearing costumes. When he was chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, he dressed up as Little Bo Peep, quite fetchingly according to one report, to promote public transit.

And he has been called worse. As the chief rabble-rouser of Toronto city council, he has consistently and unabashedly gotten under a lot of people's skins. He has done it with biting humour, relentless energy, the occasional stunt. And an admitted habit of sometimes letting his "mouth get ahead of his brain".

Howard Moscoe has also advocated tirelessly for working people, affordable housing, gay rights and the physically disabled. His style has been, in the words of outgoing Toronto Mayor David Miller, "a means to an end that was all substance".

Howard Moscoe did not run in last month's municipal elections, deciding it was time to move on. And he didn't mean to a sun-baked retirement community or the golf course. At age 71, he has decided to go to law school. As he says, "who wouldn't want a 74-year-old lawyer?" He has applied to Osgoode Hall in Toronto and will write the LSAT exam in February.

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