The 2015 Medical Student Forum was held from October 30 to November 1, 2015 in Montreal, Quebec at the Best Western Ville Marie Hotel.
Our three day conference included a day conference hosted by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia. Please see the schedule for more information.
What is the annual conference?
We offer pro-life medical students, physicians and the wider pro-life community a broad range of seminars and workshops designed to not only inform them with regards to sensitive and emerging issues, but to equip them with the confidence to ‘make their case’ when interacting with colleagues and the public who may question their stance on life issues.
Pro-life medical students who are interested in deepening their understanding of the life issues and who want to acquire the knowledge, the skills, and the courage to defend the pro-life ethic in the medical profession are encouraged to apply for a scholarship to attend this event. CPL’s generous donors provide funding to medical students and residents each year, in order to facilitate their attendance at the conference.
Feedback from conference attendees
To whom it may concern:
I wanted to write to thank you for your generosity in sponsoring me this weekend to attend the CPL annual conference in Montreal. I had the chance to hear from many amazing leaders in the pro-life movement, and the opportunity to connect with peers from other medical schools who were also passionate about the cause.
Each speaker brought a unique perspective to the event. Dr. Sommerville gave an excellent breakdown of the problems with the Supreme Court ruling, while Jen Romnes delivered a poignant story about the vulnerability of the sick and the elderly. Dr. Cottle offered a point of view that was very relevant to us students, as she is a practicing palliative care physician and had a clinical picture of the future impact of the Supreme Court decision. Dr. Genuis’ keynote on worldview shifts of our cultural provided me with an understanding of why our culture thinks the way it does. There were many other speakers and workshops this weekend that served to better prepare me to engage in pro-life apologetics with my classmates, and to take small steps in advocating for the pro-life cause as a student. In fact, after this weekend, 2 other students and I have decided to work together to write an op-ed on pediatric euthanasia to submit to our student journal/blog, in hopes of bringing light to issues inherently problematic with euthanasia.
At several points over the weekend, I remember feeling very burdened by the enormity of the situation that we are in—that we as a society have decided that some lives are not worth living. Nevertheless, I was encouraged by the fact that we have various leaders from different fields that have stepped up and are willing to advocate for the vulnerable. I want to say thank-you again for making this trip possible. This weekend will definitely be integral in educating and inspiring me to play a part in the pro-life movement.
-UBC medical student
I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to attend the conference. It was truly a worthwhile experience. I enjoyed hearing excellent speakers and learning more about issues around euthanasia, assisted suicide, and conscientious objection. I appreciated the opportunity to speak to other like-minded medical students and physicians from across Canada, which helped me to see that we pro-life medical students and doctors are not alone. The city of Montreal as well as the accommodations were beautiful, and I was grateful for the hospitality. I very much hope that I will be able to attend next year’s conference in Vancouver. This event is great for building relationships and networks between pro-life medical professionals, and for helping to relieve that sense of moral isolation some of us experience while in medical school. Once again, thank you sincerely for the opportunity.
-McMaster University medical student
Dr. Margaret Cottle, Board Member, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of Canada
Dr. Margaret Cottle is a Palliative Care physician in Vancouver, BC. She graduated from medical school at the University of British Columbia in 1978. For over 25 years Dr. Cottle’s practice has been exclusively dedicated to the care of dying patients and their loved ones. She is a clinical instructor at the UBC medical school where she teaches in many of the clinical skills courses and in palliative care. Dr. Cottle has spoken in Canada, Mexico and the United States about ethical issues, caring for aging loved ones, and palliative care. In October 2006, she gave an invited presentation about end-of-life issues to members of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. Dr. Cottle is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians and the Latin American Palliative Care Association.
Quentin Genuis, Clinical Clerk, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta
Quentin Genuis is currently doing his clerkship training in the faculty of medicine at the University of Alberta. With a research focus in bioethics, he also holds a Master of Letters (Nov 2015) with distinction from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His research interests include issues of human dignity, end-of-life care, virtue ethics, and autonomy language in contemporary bioethics. He is a published author in peer¬-reviewed journals in the fields of both medical science and bioethics. Notable awards include the Dr. and Mrs. Hazen Hakinson Dean’s Undergraduate Citation in Medicine from the University of Alberta, and the Dr. Ernest L. Ransome III Scholarship—a full-funding award to attend the University of St. Andrews given to three North American postgraduate students who display academic excellence and exceptional leadership. In his spare time, Quentin enjoys rock climbing, reading classic novels, volunteering with community youth groups, and playing music.
Dr. Stephen Genuis, Clinician and Researcher
Dr. Stephen Genuis is a clinician and researcher involved in many areas of medical science. He is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as in Environmental Medicine and has authored over 100 scientific publications for over 50 different peer-review medical journals including Lancet, British Medical Journal, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Public Library of Science, Public Health, and Environmental Research.
In addition to writing, he lectures extensively and has reviewed papers for over 70 different scientific and medical publications on issues ranging from medical ethics to environmental health, from evidence-based medicine to nutritional science, and from physician professionalism to medicine and cyberspace.
He has served as the women’s health care physician for an inner city clinic, worked as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at a University teaching hospital, and served as co-director of medical services in a West African hospital. Included in his awards are the Commemorative Medal from the Governor General in recognition of significant contribution to Canada, the 1983 ‘Resident of the Year’ award chosen by the graduating medical class at the University of Alberta medical school, and a ‘Teacher of the Year’ award from the University of Alberta – where he serves as a Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine.
He plays piano and sings in a doctor’s band called DixieDocs. Most importantly, he enjoys ballroom dancing with his wife Shelagh, and being his five kids’ “Pa”.
Dr. Will Johnston, President, Canadian Physicians for Life
Will Johnston practises full service family medicine and obstetrics. He is the Chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of BC and President of Canadian Physicians for Life. After first working in emergency rooms, he started a family practice in Vancouver in 1985. This practice continues to provide the real life context to his conviction that killing people of any age or size will always be the wrong way to solve problems.
Andrea Mrozek, Executive Director of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada
Andrea writes and speaks about family and marriage, child care, women’s issues and how social policy affects the economy, and vice versa. Outspoken on many issues of cultural importance, her opinion pieces have appeared in the National Post, Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Montreal Gazette, Toronto Sun and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.
Born in Toronto, Andrea has a Master of Arts in History from the University of Toronto. As part of her studies and afterwards, she has travelled the world, living in four different countries. Before moving to Ottawa, she worked in Calgary, Alberta as associate editor for the Western Standard.
In 2008, she launched the first exclusively female pro-life voice in Canada with a team of bloggers at ProWomanProLife.org. The team includes an array of young, professional women, all of whom are passionately and proudly pro-woman and pro-life.
She is currently working on a book about the effects of the sexual revolution on women’s lives and relationships.
Albertos Polizogopoulos, Constitutional Law and Civil Litigation Lawyer
Albertos Polizogopoulos is a partner in a full service law firm in Ottawa, Ontario. He practices primarily in the areas of constitutional, commercial and civil litigation, representing individuals, businesses and corporations, financial institutions, universities, churches and charities.
Albertos is frequently called upon to address a variety of matters including contract, employment, insurance and human rights disputes, professional malpractice, defamation, tax litigation, debt recovery and enforcement. In his ecclesiastical law practice, Albertos advises Roman Catholic, Protestant and other churches, providing counsel on church policies, church discipline and church membership.
As an advocate, Albertos has appeared before various administrative tribunals and courts including the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Tax Court of Canada and before the Supreme Court of Canada on multiple occasions.
A number of his high profile cases have received widespread media coverage in publications such as the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s Magazine, the Vancouver Sun, the Catholic Register and the Ottawa Citizen. Albertos has also had commentary featured in media outlets such as the Globe and Mail, CTV News, Sun News Network, Faith Today and the National Post, among others.
In recent years, much of Albertos’ practice has been devoted to protecting physicians’ conscience rights and religious freedom. In addition to writing numerous articles and opinion pieces on the subject, Albertos has given talks to physicians, medical students, lawyers, law students, hospital administrators and clergy on physicians’ freedom of conscience and religion.
Albertos represented two physicians groups and a national association of healthcare institutions in separate interventions in Carter v. Canada. In 2014 and 2015, Albertos made submissions regarding physicians’ conscience rights to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan on behalf of three physicians’ groups including Canadian Physicians for Life. Albertos is also presently leading a constitutional challenge of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s recently adopt policy which requires physicians to violate their religious and moral beliefs. This challenge is brought on behalf of Canadian Physicians for Life, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies and five individual physicians in Ontario.
Andre Schutten, General Legal Counsel and Ontario Director for ARPA Canada
Based in ARPA Canada’s Ottawa office, he has the mandate of equipping the Reformed community, especially in Ontario, for political action on a broad range of issues. He conducts regular analysis on the impact of different government bills and court judgments and also acts as ARPA’s chief Parliamentary lobbyist. He and his wife Karyn and their son Gabriel live in Gatineau, Québec and are members of Jubilee Church, a Canadian Reformed Church in Ottawa.
André completed his undergraduate degree in 2007, obtaining an Honours B.A. in Classics and Religion from McMaster University. He then moved to Ottawa to attend the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa where he completed his law degree in the Spring of 2010. He worked as an intern for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and for the Centre for Faith and Public Life, where he covered freedom of religion issues, wrote legal opinions on abortion legislation, and prepared written arguments for the Supreme Court of Canada. He was called to the Ontario Bar on June 21, 2011. In January of 2012 André started part-time studies for a Masters degree in Constitutional Law through Osgoode Hall Law School, completing the degree in the summer of 2013. André has already represented ARPA at the Supreme Court of Canada three times. In his spare time, André trains with the Canadian Armed Forces, Infantry Reserve.
Faye Sonier, Executive Director & General Legal Counsel, Canadian Physicians for Life
Faye Sonier joined Canadian Physicians for Life as Executive Director and General Legal Counsel in March 2015.
She brings to the organization seven years of experience in the Canadian charitable sector. She has practiced constitutional and human rights law, with a special focus on freedom of religion and conscience, and sanctity of human life issues.
She has also lobbied, made submissions to government, and appeared before appellate courts and the Supreme Court of Canada to advocate her client’s perspective on matters relating to abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and genetic and reproductive technologies.
Peter Stockland, Publisher of Convivium magazine
Peter Stockland is a Senior Fellow at the think tank Cardus, and publisher of Convivium magazine. He is also editor of VilleMarieOnline, a news website for Montreal Catholics who speak English and is a regular columnist with the Catholic Register. He has worked as a journalist across Canada, including as editor-in-chief of The Gazette in Montreal. He and his wife Linda live in Lachine, Quebec.
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition conference speakers and topics
- Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – Where do we go from here?
- Dr. Catherine Ferrier, Geriatrician and President of the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia – Where do we go from here?
- Dr. Margaret Cottle, Palliative Care Physician – Euthanasia, assisted suicide, assisted dying, terminal sedation, palliative sedation. Clearing up the confusion.
- Albertos Polizogopoulos, Lawyer – Conscience rights
- Dr. Patrick Vinay, Former Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Universite of Montreal – Caring at the end of life
- Dr. Balfour Mount, The Father of Palliative Care in North America – Palliative care, not euthanasia
- Nic Steenhout, Former Director of Living with Dignity Quebec, and Amy Hasbrouck, Director, Toujours vivant-Not Dead Yet Canada – Disability perspectives on euthanasia and assisted suicide
- Jen Romnes – The story of her fight to care for her mother
- Dr. Kevin Fitzpatrick – Worldwide update
- Dr. Will Johnston, Family Physician and Chair of EPC-BC – Responding to the culture (euthanasia and assisted suicide)
- Dr Margaret Somerville: She will be speaking from her new book: Bird on an ethical wire.