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Questions around dying with dignity

Hazel Markwell will discuss the ethics and legalities surrounding death at the Loyola Public Lecture Series
October 15, 2015
By Salim Valji

In a controversial decision in February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down the Criminal Code’s prohibitions on assisted suicide.

The court ruled, in Carter v. Canada, that legal sanctions no longer apply to an adult who “clearly consents to the termination of life and has a grievous and irremediable medical condition… that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”

Given the countless ways people approach the ethics, spirituality and practicality of death and dying, what are the long-term implications of this development?

Bioethicist and theologist Hazel Markwell, BA (theol. studies) 92, will tackle the complex issue at this year’s Loyola Public Lecture Series on October 29. The lecture is organized by Concordia’s Advancement and Alumni Relations and Department of Theological Studies.

In her talk entitled “What does dying with dignity really mean?” Markwell will discuss various ethical theories and values, the current reality of medicine and the Carter v. Canada ruling.

Hazel Markwell Hazel Markwell will present “What does dying with dignity really mean?” at the Loyola Public Lecture Series on October 29

Her experience is in healthcare, management and public sector ethics, along with ethics education.

She is director of the Centre for Clinical Ethics, director of Spiritual Care and Mission at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and director of Spiritual Care at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

A former faculty member in Concordia’s Department of Theological Studies, Markwell also served as the chaplain at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. She is now an assistant professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Anaesthesia.

She holds a doctorate in Christian ethics from Saint Paul’s University in Ottawa and PhD in theology from the University of Ottawa.

The Loyola Public Lecture Series on Ethics in Society was inaugurated in 2009 by the Jesuits in English Canada in collaboration with Concordia to recall and continue the Loyola College legacy of Jesuit higher education. This is the fifth Loyola Public Lecture.


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