Euthanasia Movement in Canada
More Radical than UK Counterpart

The euthanasia movement in Canada is far more radical than the euthanasia movement in Britain, according to Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

After admitting that he advised terminally ill patients how to commit suicide, leaders of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society (VES) decided to expel euthanasia campaigner Dr. Michael Irwin from the group. The VES stated that their wish to distance themselves from their former chairman was in order to maintain its reputation as a lawful enterprise.

Euthanasia activists in Canada, on the other hand, have gone so far as to defend and raise money for euthanasia campaigner Evelyn Martens, Schadenberg said. Martens is scheduled go on trial in September in Duncan, British Columbia, for aiding and counselling suicide in the deaths of two BC women. Canadian euthanasia activists also defended Robert Latimer for killing his disabled daughter in 1993.

Mark Slattery, spokesman for the UK's VES told the Scotsman that ". . . we campaign for change within the law, otherwise our credibility is undermined. Dr Irwin seems to be indicating an unwillingness to play as part of the team and is pursuing his own agenda."

A national debate begins this week in the UK, when a House of Lords committee begins deliberating a private member's bill sponsored by Lord Joffe, to legalize euthanasia. Retired human rights lawyer Joffe proposed the Patient (Assisted Dying) Bill in Parliament in February, 2003.

Read Scotsman UK coverage:

Source:, LONDON, July 15, 2004.

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