OTTAWA, ON, November 15, 2011 ( – A report from the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) saying that assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia should be “legally permitted” is nothing more than a “sham,” according to Alex Schadenberg, executive director of Canada’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC).

Schadenberg told he was “shocked” when the Royal Society of Canada announced last October that it had assembled an expert panel to look into what it called “end-of-life decision making” that was primarily made up of advocates from the euthanasia lobby.

The expert panel consisted of 5 members, 4 of whom were known to be adamant euthanasia advocates.

“When we further investigated the panel members, it was clear that … this report would be a pro-euthanasia propaganda report,” explained Schadenberg in his blog.


Leading American bioethicist Wesley J. Smith agreed, stating that the RSC panel had “stack[ed] the deck for euthanasia in Canada.”

An October press release from the RSC had said that the report was “designed to be balanced, thorough, independent, free from conflict of interest, and based on a deep knowledge of all of the published research that is pertinent to the questions that have been posed.”

Smith pointed out, however, that the “bias [in the report] isn’t even subtle.”

“‘Expert commissions’ to advise on contentious issues of public policy are usually political tools designed to come to a predetermined conclusion in order to pave the way for a desired policy changes,” he said.

Queen’s Philosophy professor Udo Schuklenk, who headed the panel, is a well-known pro-euthanasia philosopher.

In an essay explaining why he is an atheist, Schuklenk argued that “our end-of-life decision-making” is interfered by “religions” that “stand as one in their rejection of many dying patients’ requests to end their lives in dignity.”

Smith criticized the RSC for selecting Schuklenk to chair the panel when it was evident that he brought with him such a “clear view” that favored assisted suicide. Smith pointed out that the selection of Schuklenk indicated from the start the direction in which the panel’s recommendations were “designed” to go.

Also on the panel was Sheila McClean, who argued in favor of legalizing assisted suicide in her book “The Case for Assisted Suicide,” Jocelyn Downie, author of “Dying Justice,” a book urging the decriminalization of both euthanasia and assisted suicide, and Johannes J. M. van Delden, a Dutch euthanasia researcher.

In its report, titled “End-of-Life Decision Making,” the RSC speaks of human dignity as a “value whose meaning is obscure” and adds that the “concept of dignity cannot provide a sound basis for either supporting or rejecting a permissive regime with respect to voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide.”

The RSC report argues that legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide does not “result in vulnerable persons being subject to abuse or a slippery slope from voluntary to non-voluntary euthanasia. The evidence does not support claims that decriminalization will have a corrosive effect on access to or the development of palliative care.”

Schadenberg said he was not surprised that the expert panel wrote off a number of studies, including one published last year that revealed that 32% of euthanasia deaths in the Flanders region of Belgium were carried out by doctors without explicit request or consent from the patients.

The report comes just a day after the commencement of a case in British Columbia in which B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Gloria Taylor, a 63-year-old woman suffering from ALS, are challenging Canada’s laws against assisted suicide.

The report also come two days before the release of a “landmark report” from the Parliamentary Committee on Palliative and Compassionate Care, an ad-hoc committee of the House of Commons.