The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), has written to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, and the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jane Philpott, requesting that the Conference be invited to appear before the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying. In his submission, Bishop Crosby states “that life is a sacred gift to be defended and protected. Our country, for its part, has made great strides over the decades in constructing ‘safety nets’ that help safeguard human lives from the worst onslaughts of poverty, in wisely agreeing to forego the use of capital punishment, and in challenging and questioning every call to war. These efforts, which we applaud, are in recognition of the paramount importance of respecting and sustaining the life and inviolable dignity of individuals from conception to natural death.”

In his letter, the President of the CCCB notes that, only a few years ago, members of Parliament had overwhelmingly supported proposals to make both palliative care and suicide prevention priorities for Canada. Bishop Crosby also points out recent statements and letters that highlight the position of the Church on physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia which he indicates is “a life and death issue”: the Submission by the President of the CCCB to the Expert Panel on Options for a Legislative Response toCarter v. Canada (October 19, 2015); the joint Declaration on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide by the CCCB and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (October 29, 2015); and the letter to The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada (November 4, 2015).

In addition to the CCCB application, His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, has also requested an invitation to appear before the Joint Committee on behalf of the Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience. The Coalition comprises the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDSC), the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies, the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, and Canadian Physicians for Life.

Link to the letter of Bishop Crosby (PDF)

Link to the Submission to the Expert Panel (PDF)

Link to the CCCB-EFC Declaration

Link to the letter to the Prime Minister (PDF)