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Aide médicale à mourir autorisée par le tribunal

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Une résidente de l’Outaouais atteinte de sclérose en plaques a obtenu l’autorisation du tribunal pour recevoir l’aide médicale à mourir même si elle ne répond pas au critère de «mort naturellement prévisible». Il s’agit d’une première décision de la sorte dans la région.

Dans une décision rendue le 30 novembre dernier, la juge Marie-Josée Bédard de la Cour supérieure a autorisé l’administration de l’aide médicale à mourir à Giselyne Hénaire, 62 ans, même si son cas ne répond pas à l’une des exigences actuellement prévues au Code criminel.

La juge Bédard souligne dans sa décision que la sclérose en plaques est «une maladie dégénérative grave et incurable» et que dans le cas de Mme Hénaire, «la médication existante n’arrive pas à freiner la progression de la maladie ni à soulager ses souffrances».

Le diagnostic de sclérose en plaques est tombé en 2012 pour Giselyne Hénaire. Son état s’est dégradé au fil des ans.

«Emprisonnée dans son corps»

«Elle vit avec une douleur constante, relate-t-on dans la décision. Elle ne peut plus marcher avec un déambulateur; elle doit se déplacer en fauteuil roulant et la grande fatigue qui l’accable l’oblige à dormir après chaque effort de vingt minutes. Elle souffre de douleurs physiques constantes. […] Elle a l’impression de vivre emprisonnée dans son corps et n’a malheureusement aucun espoir que sa condition s’améliore. Elle est aussi inquiète de la détérioration de son état qui se poursuit et qui aggravera encore sa souffrance.»

C’est en juillet dernier que Mme Hénaire a rempli sa demande d’aide médicale à mourir avec son médecin de famille. L’une des évaluations nécessaires a été faite par le Dr Guy Morissette, impliqué depuis le début dans le dossier de l’aide médicale à mourir en Outaouais.

Les médecins ont conclu que la dame répondait à «tous les critères pour bénéficier de l’aide médicale à mourir, à l’exception de celui de la mort naturelle raisonnablement prévisible puisque son pronostic d’espérance de vie est de quelques années». «La preuve révèle sans l’ombre d’un doute que la décision de Mme Hénaire de demander l’aide médicale à mourir est volontaire et éclairée», précise aussi la décision de la juge Bédard.

Elle a l’impression de vivre emprisonnée dans son corps et n’a malheureusement aucun espoir que sa condition s’améliore.Extrait de la décision de la juge de la Cour supérieure Marie-Josée Bédard

Législation

Les deux parties mises en cause – le procureur général du Canada et le procureur général du Québec, n’ont pas participé à l’audition. Du côté fédéral, il a été décidé «de ne pas faire valoir de position à l’égard de la demande», tandis que du côté provincial, le procureur général a indiqué qu’il ne s’opposait pas à la requête.

Le Dr Guy Morissette a indiqué au Droit qu’il s’agissait d’une première décision de la sorte en Outaouais, alors que quelques dossiers similaires ont été entendus ailleurs au Québec.

Légalisée au pays depuis 2016, l’aide médicale à mourir peut être autorisée selon des critères bien définis dans le Code criminel.

À l’heure actuelle, l’un de ces critères stipule que la «mort naturelle» de la personne doit être «devenue raisonnablement prévisible compte tenu de l’ensemble de sa situation médicale, sans pour autant qu’un pronostic ait été établi quant à son espérance de vie».

Au Québec, la loi prévoyait notamment qu’une personne doit être «en fin de vie» pour être admissible à l’aide médicale à mourir.

En septembre 2019, une décision de la Cour supérieure a toutefois statué que ces deux critères étaient inconstitutionnels, donc invalides. La juge a toutefois suspendu pour six mois la prise d’effet de cette «déclaration d’invalidité», afin que lois puissent être modifiées en conséquence.

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Egan: The longest yard — $300 to deliver packages final three feet

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Even before the pandemic began, almost everything was being delivered to the door — from a Big Mac to a big screen TV — any day, any waking hour.

Lockdowns and crowd avoidance only accelerated the trend, so that any urban neighbourhood is being daily criss-crossed with vehicles delivering any desire that can be bound in a cardboard box, even a mattress.

So, there are bound to be quirks and surprises.

In November, Brigitte McCauley-Philion, 36, ordered 85 packages of flooring from Lowe’s, the home improvement giant, enough to do most of the three-bedroom house in Beacon Hill South.

It wasn’t cheap. The total came in just shy of $1,400. Because of the quantity and weight, she carefully checked the delivery restrictions and agreed to pay $70 to have the laminate flooring delivered.

As she was later negotiating the delivery date and time, there came a shock.

The $70 would only bring the flooring to the curb side. If she wanted it inside the house, it would cost an extra $3 per package, times 85, plus tax, or something creeping towards $300.

“My main reaction was: $3 a box to bring it 3 feet?,” she wrote Friday. “So why did I pay a delivery fee? $300 to have my flooring delivered into home is absolutely crazy!”

McCauley-Philion, who is severely hearing impaired, says she appealed to various managers to make sure she understood the conditions. Did delivery not mean inside the house? After all, she reasoned, if she could carry 85 bundles inside the home, she wouldn’t need the delivery in the first place.

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Are the Proud Boys terrorists? Ottawa considers listing white supremacist groups alongside al-Qaida, Islamic State

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OTTAWA—Canada’s national security agencies are “very actively” monitoring white supremacist groups and are considering designating more of them as terrorist organizations, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says.

Blair’s office said in a statement Sunday that intelligence and law enforcement agencies were actively gathering evidence to list white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys as terrorist organizations — a designation that would place them on the same level as al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

“We strongly denounce ideologically motivated extremists including groups like the Proud Boys, white supremacists, (anti-Semites), Islamophobic and misogynist groups,” wrote Mary-Liz Power, a spokesperson for Blair’s office, in a statement to the Star.

“Intolerance and hate have no place in our society.”

Blair’s comments, first made in an interview with CTV News on Sunday, show a remarkable change in how federal authorities view the threat posed by white nationalists and far-right extremists in the last few years.

Canada’s domestic intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), abandoned a rolling investigation into far-right groups in 2016. After the deadly 2018 shooting at a Quebec City mosque by a man believed to be influenced by far-right voices online, that investigation was reopened.

Across western democracies — including the U.S. and U.K. —intelligence agencies have warned the threat of domestic far-right extremism is growing.

In 2019, the federal government listed two white supremacist groups — Blood & Honour and Combat 18 — as terrorist entities, the first far-right extremist groups given that designation by Canada.

Now, in the wake of last week’s violent sacking of the U.S. Capitol building, more white supremacists groups may join that list — which would empower financial institutions to freeze the groups’ assets, and make it a crime to deal with them.

The Proud Boys — a “western chauvinist” group spawned by a former Canadian far-right media personality — were front and centre in that riot. Famously told to “stand back and stand by” by President Donald Trump last year, the loosely organized movement has become a poster child for right-wing extremism in North America.

While the exact makeup of the mob is unknowable, the Proud Boys clearly had a presence in Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol building. Several have been identified by American media, and the group’s leader was arrested in Washington two days before the riot.

Blair’s office stressed that the listing of terrorist organizations is not a “political exercise.” Rather, the designation of a group requires evidence and intelligence, and follows a legal process.

“Such listings send a strong message that Canada will not tolerate such acts of violence,” Power wrote.

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Cafeteria chefs pivot as pandemic hollows out office towers

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When Ottawa’s office buildings quickly emptied out near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cafeterias reliant on throngs of nine-to-five workers were left behind.

But while many shut down, some have found ways to stay afloat, in part through creativity and in part through loyal customers. 

“It was a big shock for us,” Juan Dominguez, chef at the cafeteria for Canadian Blood Services’ corporate office, told CBC Radio’s All In A Day on Friday. 

“One day you’re working and the next day you’re out of there.”

Before the pandemic, Dominguez would send weekly menus out directly to his customers. 

Then, when the office tower’s employees started working from home, they began using that channel to reach out directly to tell him how much they missed his food.

“I was really shocked and surprised and happy at the same time,” he said.

‘Grateful’ for loyal customers

Dominguez continued to send out menus — adding some combos to better accommodate entire families stuck together at home — and now people who place orders can pick them up from the corporate office’s backdoor.

It’s important to be able to reinvent oneself, he said, and never give up.

“Honestly, like, I’m so grateful for all the support that we receive from our customers and for all the relationships that we create with them since day one, [even before] the pandemic,” he said. 

Decided to grow side business

Resa Solomon-St. Lewis also lost her steady stream of customers when the pandemic hit — and unlike Dominguez, didn’t have a way to reach them by email.

So the owner of Capital Fare Cafe, located inside a medical building along Montreal Road, chose to focus more on her side gig: a Caribbean-influenced catering business called Baccanalle

“It really didn’t have a sign or a shingle on the door,” she said. “It had more of an internet presence.”

While Solomon-St. Lewis would like to return to the cafeteria, that can only happen when foot traffic is back to normal, she said.

For now, she hopes to expand Baccanalle, which allows her to focus on her love of Caribbean food.  

“I have a lot of gratitude, especially to my team because we wouldn’t be here without them,” she said. “And they’ve been resilient and adaptable. And I’m really appreciative of the customers that have stayed with us… and the new customers that we’ve acquired.” 

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