DYING FOR LEADERSHIP by Anne Mullens (from "Last Rights" #14, Winter 1995) Should Canada change its 104-year-old law prohibiting assisted suicide? Should the Criminal Code be revised to permit physician-assisted voluntary euthanasia for the incurably ill? These questions engender an over-heated and polarized debate that seems to have no middle ground. British Columbia journalist Anne Mullens, the 1993-94 winner of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy, spent 12 months investigating the benefits and shortcomings of various policies for dealing with the right-to-die. She travelled across Canada and the United States, visited England and Scotland, and spent six weeks interviewing leaders on all sides of the issue in the Netherlands. Her report was serialized in eight parts by theToronto Star (October 15 through 23, 1994) marking the first time in Canada in recent years that a well-trained reporter has published original and comprehensive research on right-to-die issues. Ms. Mullens, a 36-year old award-winning journalist, and mother of two, was formerly a science and medical reporter with the Vancouver Sun. The significance of Ms. Mullens' study cannot be overstated. For much of the past year, the Senate Special Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide has heard thousands of words of (unsworn) testimony on every aspect of end-of-life problems and issues. Unfortunately, much of that testimony only restates or increases the amount of misinformation which Canadians have to wrestle with on the topic. It would take a huge staff of researchers working overtime to counter the inaccuracies and prejudices contained in the Senate testimony. Unfortunately the Senate Special Committee hearings have received little attention in the mass media and virtually no scrutiny by knowledgeable critics. Ms. Mullens' indepth study is the only piece of up-to-date research by a journalist which Canadians may read in order to become as informed as they need to be in the months of stormy political debate ahead. Last Rights is honoured to publish the complete text (newly revised and updated) of Anne Mullens' invaluable report-written from the perspective of someone who has listened to every viewpoint in the right-to-die debate and struggled with every question in an intellectually honest manner. We wish to thank the Atkinson Foundation for its permission to publish the full report for the first time. ********************************************************* NOTE: Ms. Mullens series consists of 16 articles, totalling 29,000 words. "Last Rights" is the ONLY source of this complete, newly revised and updated manuscript. The English version of "Last Rights" is being sent to every Member of Parliament and Senator. A French translation of Ms. Mullens' series is being sent to every MP from Quebec. Courtesy of the Right to Die Society of Canada, the only politically active "right to die" organization in the country.