Letter to the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health regarding the decision to reduce funding of palliative care

Wednesday, 11 October 2006
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The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Health
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Clement:

In the wake of the budgetary cuts recently announced by the Federal Government, our organization is dismayed by the government's decision to reduce funding to Health Canada's Secretariat on Palliative and End-of-Life Care. Is it your intention to fund this type of care by means of other programs whose funding may even be increased? We wholeheartedly hope this is the case.

Canadian families need assistance in order to provide sufficient attention and care to their members who are suffering and who have reached the end of their journey. Given the aging population, it goes without saying that they rely on their government to encourage research on pain control, to train medical and paramedical personnel respectful of life at all stages, and to support concrete help in daily life.

We are convinced that, despite all possible obstacles and challenges, life retains all of its meaning and is worth living until its natural end. We note, however, the constant efforts of a lobby in favor of euthanasia and assisted suicide, which is working for the recognition of a so-called "right to die."

This is why we hope to see the government seriously devote itself to the task of encouraging a true solidarity among Canadians in caring for their most vulnerable co-citizens, a solidarity and compassion that are founded on a sense of responsibility, and which include a solid system of home care and palliative care. We are all aging. All of us will one day need the physical, psychological and spiritual support that is made possible by such a system — a system that perfectly illustrates fundamental Canadian values.

Minister Clement, we request that you provide us with a clarification of your position regarding the government's decision to cut an important part of the budget of Health Canada's Secretariat on Palliative and End-of-Life Care. We would also be interested to know your strategy concerning the future of this type of care in our society, which strives to be humane and civilized.

Most respectfully yours,

† Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B.
Bishop of London
Chairman of the Catholic Organization of Life and Family

cc : Senator Sharon Carstairs