CCD Chairperson's Update - October 2012

CCD Appears Before Standing Committee of Finance

This month, Tony Dolan made a presentation to the Standing Committee of Finance by video conference.  He was only allowed five minutes for his presentation along with 3 other presenters.  After the presentations, the Finance Committee members, who are representative of the Conservative, NDP and Liberal parties, asked questions for about an hour.  He received questions from all of the Committee members and their questions centered mostly around the Disability Tax Credit and making it refundable, proposed changes to the Old Age Security benefit and their impacts and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.  Tony included in his presentation a piece on the cuts to the Social Development Partnerships Program and the serious impact of the cuts on 18 national disability organizations and also provincial organizations.  Tony received no questions on this issue from any of the parties.

CCD Submits Brief to the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights

On 9 October 2012, CCD submitted a brief to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights commenting on Canada’s human rights record.

CCD Seeking to Intervene in Carter Case

In collaboration with the Canadian Association for Community Living, CCD had decided to seek intervener status in the appeal of the Carter decision in the BC Court of Appeal.  The Judge in the Carter case struck down Canada’s prohibitions against assisted suicide. CACL and CCD retained David Baker as legal counsel.  The CCD Ending of Life Ethics Committee is coordinating the work on this intervention.  The working group for this intervention is: Rhonda Wiebe, Dean Richert, Anne Levesque, Yvonne Peters, Jim Derksen, Laurie Beachell, Catherine Frazee and Michael Bach.

Rhonda Wiebe Challenges Conference Board of Canada Delegates

On 12 – 13 October 2012 in Toronto, the Conference Board of Canada held a Summit on Sustainable Health Care.  The Conference Board invited Rhonda Wiebe, Co-chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee, to participate in a debate on assisted suicide.  The debate motion was: end-of-life decisions belong to the individual. Rhonda argued against the motion.

The other participants were: Moderator: Ralph Benmergui, Senior Advisor to the President, Sheridan College; Arguing for the motion: Wanda Morris, Executive Director, Dying with Dignity Canada; Daniel Weinstock, Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University. Arguing against the motion: Bernard J. Lapointe, Eric M. Flanders Chair in Palliative Care, McGill University.

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Laurie Beachell, National Coordinator; Jim Derksen, a member of CCD’s Human Rights Committee; and John Rae, Co-chair of CCD’s Access to Technology Committee, participated in a meeting of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights’ Inclusive Design Advisory Council.  The Museum continues to work toward ensuring access to the museum by visitors with disabilities.

CCD Makes a Site Visit

On 18 October 2012, Laurie Beachell and April D’Aubin participated in a tour of the Museum’s building, which is still under construction.