My friends in Christ,

I’m sending this communiqué just a few days after our National delegation (President, Anne Gorman, President-elect, Fran Lucas and Resolutions chairperson, Cathy Bouchard), met with Federal government ministers, deputy ministers, COLF and CCCB. The government does look to the CWL for direction as we are always bringing important current issues to their attention. Here’s hoping that they were productive, fruitful sessions and that favourable outcomes will be the result of these meetings.

BC BILL C-30/BILL C-45

I have to thank my predecessor, Blanca Stead, for the enclosure to this communiqué: Extracts from Bill C-30: Cannabis Control and Licensing Act. She sent it to me along with her Christian Family Life chairpersons and gave me permission to share it. This Bill was passed on May 17th, 2018 by the 3rd BC Legislative Session of the 41st Parliament prior to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use with Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, on October 17, 2018. Canada is only the second country in the world to have legalized cannabis nationally. Blanca condensed the most important issues relating to this Act, of which we all should be aware. Much more information can be found on the Government of Canada website Canada.ca/cannabis or you can just Google Bill C-45 or BC Bill C-30 to read the Bills in their entirety.

BILL C-316 – An Act to amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act (organ donors) This Private Member’s Bill was introduced and passed First Reading by Len Webber, Conservative MP for Calgary Confederation on October 26, 2018. On November 7th it passed Second Reading with a vote of 272 to 0 and was then referred to Committee. This Bill would amend the Canada Revenue Agency Act to authorize the CRA to enter into an agreement with a province or a territory regarding the collection and disclosure of information required for establishing or maintaining an organ and tissue donor registry in the province or territory. This would allow Canadians to register as an organ donor on their tax forms. On November 28th, the Committee reported on the Bill with some amendments. You can get more information at www.ourcommons.ca.This relates to national resolution 2011.03 National Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Registry and BC resolution 2015.03 New Registration Process for Organ and Tissue Donation. Let us pray that this Bill gets passed once the Committee has finished their research and study of the Bill, prior to the vote in the House of Commons.

BILL C-14

We are all aware that Bill C-14 {An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)} (MAID) has changed and challenged all of us since it became law on June 17, 2016. I received some correspondence recently from Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience, Canadians for Conscience. When I did a bit more research, I found out that the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute (CCBI) is a member of this organization. Many of you might remember one of the Directors of CCBI, Dr. Moira McQueen, who was our keynote speaker at our provincial convention in 2015 and her wonderful presentations on End of Life issues. One of the main concerns since MAID became law is the conscience rights of doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Our national resolution 2017.04 Protection from Coercion of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals is still very valid today. Please review the Action Plan at www.cwl.ca and act on the suggestions, that is, if you haven’t already done so! Also, I ask you to please write to your MLA’s in BC asking them to support legislation which would protect BC health care professionals from having to act against their conscience. Legislation such as this was passed in November 2017 in Manitoba with Bill 34. Every province deserves this type of legislation. You can just go to www.canadiansforconscience.ca and follow the prompts to our province to find there a letter that you can send. Easy! Peasy!

As I was working on this communiqué in the last few days, I received two important communications which I’d like to share with you:

1) I received a reply to a letter I had written to the Prime Minister’s office urging the Federal Government to legislate designation of hospice/palliative care free from medical assistance in dying. (Resolution 2018.03 Legislate Designation of Hospice/Palliative Care Services in Facilities to Exclude Medical Assistance in Dying) My letter was forwarded to the Strategic Policy Branch of Health Canada and here is some of what their response was: “If you have concerns about how health care is being provided in your province, please contact the British Columbia Ministry of Health at HLTH.health@gov.bc.ca. … In addition, Health Canada has collaborated with provincial and territorial governments and stakeholders at all levels to help support improvements to the quality and availability of palliative care for Canadians. … The Government has also taken an active leadership role and engaged with provinces and territories in a discussion about strengthening health care. Budget 2017 confirmed a historic targeted investment of $11 billion over ten years directly to provinces and territories to address specific gaps in our health care system, including increasing the availability of home and palliative care.”

2) I received a call from a Euthanasia Prevention Coalition representative asking me to contact Canada’s Minister of Justice, Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (Jody.Wilson-Raybould@parl.gc.ca) to express my opposition to euthanasia for children. I ask you all to do the same.

A reflection from our bulletin today: At this start of the new Church year, consider what ‘Advent resolutions’ you might make to help you stay focused so that you will be prepared to receive the salvation we celebrate at Jesus’ birth. Pray for God’s help in following through on these resolutions: Pray Psalm 25, To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

Have a joyful Advent and blessed Christmas season,

Respectfully your sister in Christ,

Sheila Doherty, BC and Yukon Provincial Chairperson of Legislation