March 31, 2014

VANCOUVER – A motion that urges the federal government to work with provinces on a national strategy for end-of-life care has gained the support of Vancouver's archbishop.

Archbishop Michael Miller wrote in a statement March 11 that he was "pleased to see a light of compassion and reason present itself" in Motion 456.

Put forward by NDP MP Charlie Angus of Timmins-James Bay, Ont., the motion calls for a pan-Canadian plan to guarantee access to high-quality palliative and home care, to increase support for caregivers, and to encourage discussion about end-of-life care.

The motion also calls for the reforms to respect the geographic and cultural diversity of citizens of this country.

"Motion 456 offers a positive step toward improving the physical, psychological, and spiritual care of Canadians in a manner consistent with human dignity and compassion," Miller stated.

Angus' passion for good palliative care goes back to 2008, when his brother-in-law died at a young age in the care of a hospice in Toronto.

It was a "healing and community and spiritually-centred place," and after it closed, Angus found a majority of Canadians don't have access to high-quality palliative care.