A Good Death on three bestseller lists

People ask me if I timed the release of A Good Death to coincide with the tabling of Bill C-14, the federal government’s proposed legislation on medical aid in dying.  The answer is no.  I researched and wrote my book based on the timetable established by the Supreme Court of Canada. It was pure coincidence that the Liberal government tabled its legislation on the day of my book launch.

Nevertheless, I’m thrilled to tell you that A Good Death has debuted on three bestseller lists:  Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star.  Thanks to everybody who is buying and reading my book.  Please spread the work, and send me your reactions.

Let me tell you the backstory about the timing of A Good Death. The Court struck down the Criminal Code prohibitions against physician-assisted dying in its monumental decision in the Carter case in Feb. 2015, and suspended its ruling for a calendar year to give the federal government time to introduce and pass new legislation. The Harper government failed to respond for several months, called an early election, and lost to the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau.  You can read all about those dramatic events in A Good Death.

Once in power, the Liberals then petitioned the Supreme Court for a six month extension to give the government time to develop, introduce and pass a new law. The Court agreed, but limited the extension to four months, the amount of time that Parliament wasn’t sitting because of the lengthy election campaign, the longest in modern Canadian political history. Consequently, many suffering Canadians are petitioning Superior Court judges for an exemption, or waiting until June 6, 2016 for a new law and corresponding provincial legislation and regulations.

That’s the story behind the timing.  A Good Death always had an April 2016 publication date, but the Court deadline changed.  I will be blogging on the progress of Bill-C-14, so readers of A Good Death can follow my reactions to the parliamentary debate.

I’m going to post a list of events and appearances where I will be speaking and signing books.  I hope to see you at some of them.

Welcome

Welcome

Sandra Martin

Thanks for dropping into my website.

I’d like to tell you some good news about A Good Death.  There are more details on other pages, but here are some highlights.

The paperback of A Good Death will be in bookstores in early May, 2017. I have updated the first chapter and added a new one, “So Close and Yet So Far.”   I write about the government’s Medical Assistance in Dying law, why it fails to comply with the Supreme Court decision in Carter, and what needs to be changed in the best interests of patients.  We still have a long way to go in ensuring our final human right:  choice in the way we die.

  • A Good Death won the British Columbia National Prize for Non-Fiction in January, 2017.
  • I delivered the Pelham Edgar Lecture at Victoria College in the University of Toronto in February.
  •  A Good Death was shortlisted for the J.W. Dafoe Book Prize in March and the Donner Prize in Public Policy in April.  Both prizes will be awarded in May.  I’ll let you know as soon as I do.
  • Here’s my latest Right to Die article, arguing that people with severe refractory mental illness should be allowed to apply for MAID.

Did Adam Maier-Clayton need to kill himself?

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Here’s a brief introduction to the hardcover of A Good Death.

We can’t avoid death, but the prospect is a lot less terrifying since the Supreme Court of Canada legalized physician-assisted death. Competent adults, suffering grievously from intolerable medical conditions, will have the right to ask for a doctor’s help in ending their lives. That much is clear.

The challenge now is to pass legislation that reflects this landmark decision and develop regulations that reconcile the Charter rights of both doctors and patients. If we get the balance right between compassion for the suffering and protection of the vulnerable, between individual choice and social responsibility, we can set an example for the world.

A Good Death is timely, engaging and inspiring. In taking on our ultimate human right, award-winning journalist Sandra Martin charts the history of the right to die movement here and abroad through the personal stories of brave campaigners like Sue Rodriguez, Brittany Maynard and Gloria Taylor. Martin weighs the evidence from permissive jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, Oregon, California, Switzerland and Quebec and portrays her own intellectual and emotional journey through the tangled legal, medical, religious and political documentation concerning terminal sedation, slippery slopes, and the sanctity of life.

Modern death has become a wrenching political dilemma, one that becomes more pressing as the population ages. A Good Death confronts our fears about dying, our struggle for meaning, and our dread of being trapped by voracious medical technology in a nightmare world that has abandoned caring in pursuit of curing, no matter the cost or the suffering to patients and their families.

A Good Death asks the tough question none of us can avoid: How do we want to die? The answer will change your life—and your death.

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