from experts in the field:
Peter Kormos is a New Democratic Party member and a
member of Provincial Parliament for the Riding of Niagara
Centre, Ontario ( http://ontariondp.com).
Should Canadian border
officers have guns?
PRESUMED CONSENT for organ donations is an issue whose time
has come. Ever since I introduced a private member’s bill calling for
reform of Ontario’s organ donation system last year, there has been a
groundswell of support. Ontarians realize that the current organ
donation system does not have adequate tools to ensure that Ontarians
in need have access to the organs that could save their lives.
Modest improvements in the efforts of the Trillium Gift of Life Network to identify possible organs available for transplant notwithstanding, there hasn’t been a major reduction in the
waiting list here in the province or across the country. Around 1,800 people annually are waiting and dying in Ontario.
Presumed consent requires no sacrifice whatsoever. All that incorporating presumed consent into the legislation surrounding organ donations would do is to offer all Ontarians, unless
they specifically state otherwise, the opportunity to donate their organs in the event of their
deaths without them having to sign an organ donor card. I believe there has to be a radical,
major—indeed, revolutionary—shift in values and perspective before this country sees not just
a reduction, but an elimination of organ waiting lists, and presumed consent would be an
important part of this, as it has been in a number of European countries.
Opinions expressed are those of the
individuals or organizations represented
and are presented to foster discussion.
Costco and The Costco Connection take
no position on any Debate topic.
Although the McGuinty government has, for a long time, failed to move on presumed
consent for organ donation, it has finally begun to see the light. Rather than responding immediately to this pressing need, though, it has created a consultative committee to go around
Ontario and talk to Ontarians about this issue.
We have to show the courage and demonstrate the leadership that is necessary to take
people into a new era, an era where organ donation waiting lists will disappear because good
organs, when they’re of no use whatsoever to the deceased donors, are being used to prolong
and save the lives of others, including so many young people. C
from experts in the field:
Frank Klees, is the member of the Ontario Provincial
Parliament for Oak Ridges, and PC education, citizenship and
immigration critic. His Web site is www.frank-klees.on.ca.
BASED ON MY consultations with individuals and the province-
wide discussions in which I have had the opportunity to participate,
I believe that Ontarians will not support a “presumed consent” mea-
sure. I also believe that such a measure will not increase awareness
about organ donation among Ontarians since it would deny individ-
uals the right to make an informed decision about organ donation.
Clearly, public awareness of the importance of organ donation and the fact that every
Ontarian has the potential to give the gift of life are important steps toward increasing
organ donations with the view to eventually eliminating what is, without question, one of
the most inhumane waiting lists in our health system.
This is why I introduced my private member’s Bill 67 in the Legislature, which would
make it mandatory for Ontario citizens to answer a question relating to organ donation
when they apply for or renew a driver’s licence or provincial health card. Under the provisions of my bill, a driver’s licence application or renewal would not be processed unless
the organ donation section of the form was completed. People would simply be required
to make one of three declarations concerning organ donation on their application forms:
yes, no or undecided. The right of all individuals to make their personal decision regarding organ donation would be respected. At the very least, everyone would be given the
opportunity to seriously consider the important issue of organ donation.
I believe that this is a great opportunity to educate the public, allow donor decisions
to be registered and increase the organ donation rate. The ability to provide education in
advance and mandate a choice of yes, no or undecided is key to the success of the program. Unlike presumed consent, everyone will be informed and have to decide. This is
non-partisan, non-threatening and, if done well, will prove to be successful.
I know that the implementation of Bill 67 would be a simple administrative procedure
that could be put in place with minimal cost while potentially saving thousands of lives. C
MAY/JUNE 2007 The Costco Connection 13
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