By Hilary White

HALIFAX, June 27, 2007 ( – At the request of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, RCMP in Halifax are investigating the death of a Nova Scotia woman at the infamous euthanasia ‘clinic’ in Switzerland, called “Dignitas.” Depending on the outcome of the investigation, charges of aiding or counselling to commit suicide may be laid against the woman’s husband, Eric MacDonald, who was with her when she died of an overdose of barbiturates in the Zurich facility.

Elizabeth Jeanette MacDonald of Windsor, 38, who died June 8, suffered from severe multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair. MacDonald told the Halifax Chronicle Herald in an interview that she had attempted suicide a year ago.

In a public statement, RCMP said, “On or about the 8th of June 2007 Elizabeth MacDonald a terminally ill patient from Windsor N.S. was euthanized at a clinic in Zurich, Switzerland which is legal to do in that country. Southwest Nova Major Crime will conduct an investigation to determine if there are any grounds for an offence to have been committed in this country.”

Euthanasia Prevention Coalition asked the RCMP to investigate last week after her obituary appeared in the local paper, in which the family thanked the operators of the assisted suicide facility. “Last, but not least, we would like to thank Herr Ludwig Minelli, and the members of Dignitas in Zurich (Bernard and ‘Gaby’, in particular), for helping Elizabeth deliver herself from the burden of a life which had become too great to bear,” the obituary ran.

Coalition executive director, Alex Schadenberg, told that their concern is simple: Was Elizabeth MacDonald counselled in this country to commit suicide?

“In Canada, it is against the law to aid and abet suicide,” said Schadenberg. “Who says she wasn’t aided or counselled to commit suicide? I have no idea whether [the family] have broken the law. Our argument is simple and to the point. These laws exist to protect vulnerable people; that’s what the law on assisted suicide is about.”

MacDonald told the Halifax Herald that he has done nothing illegal. “She asked me to accompany her. It was the last loving thing I could do for her.” He called the coalition “a bunch of busybodies.”

“We just believe due process should happen,” Schadenberg said. “Without this process, whatever the outcome of this case, vulnerable disabled people are at risk of a no-holds barred situation where they are not adequately protected under the law.”

Read related coverage:

  Obituary Notice Leaves Evidence That Canadian Woman Was Killed at Zurich’s Assisted Suicide Clinic


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