A photo and flowers are seen during a funeral service for Humboldt Broncos’ Logan Boulet in Lethbridge, Alta. on Saturday, April 14, 2018. The Alberta hometown for a victim of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash will name an arena after him, and will also make an exception to a decades-old rule that prohibited its mayor from issuing proclamations. Councillors in Lethbridge voted unanimously Monday to approve a name change that will see Adams Park Ice Centre become Logan Boulet Arena. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Rossiter

Father of Broncos player who died says Alberta organ donation bill needs work

Six people benefited from organs harvested from his son, Logan, was one of 16 killed in the crash

The father of a Broncos hockey player whose organs were donated after he died in a catastrophic bus crash says a presumed consent bill before the Alberta legislature is a good start but has a long way to go.

“There’s way more that needs to be added to the bill,” Toby Boulet said in an interview Monday.

Matthew Jones, a government backbencher, has introduced a private member’s bill that would allow organs to be automatically harvested unless a person had opted out while still alive.

Medical officials have long wondered about how to improve the rate of organ donation in Alberta, where the transplant recipient waiting list stands at more than 700. The provincial rate is well below the one-quarter of Canadians who have signed up to donate their organs.

“In Alberta we need to do better,” Boulet says.

Six people benefited from organs harvested from his son, Logan, who was one of 16 people killed when the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus and a transport truck collided in April 2018 at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.

Logan had signed up shortly before to be a donor. Canadian Blood Services estimated that within two months of his death more than 150,000 people registered to pass on their organs. It became known as the Logan Boulet Effect.

Boulet supports the purpose of the bill, which has passed first reading, but he says it could do more harm than good unless there’s more work done to back up its intent.

He and his family have become advocates for organ donation. He points out that the percentage of Alberta families who approve an organ donation from a loved one — even if that person has signed a donor card — has declined steeply.

Boulet predicts that would continue if the proposed legislation were to become law, because it includes a way that families could opt out of presumed consent after someone died.

A BBC investigation found that some countries, including France and Brazil, experienced a decline in organ donations after bringing in presumed consent laws.

Awareness and education programs will continue to be necessary if some version of Alberta’s bill passes, Boulet suggests.

“There’s that education (and) cultural shift that we need and that’s not in the bill.”

He says the bill needs other tweaks, including some assurance that doctors would be available everywhere to harvest potentially life-saving organs.

“You need to have surgical teams that are dedicated and ready to go at a moment’s notice. We only have that in Calgary and Edmonton.”

As well, many rural hospitals lack the equipment needed to keep donated organs viable until they can be transplanted, Boulet adds.

The bill’s biggest failing, he says, is that it can’t address people’s attitudes.

“It’s pretty hard, in my opinion, to tell Albertans to do anything,” says Boulet.

“Albertans do the right thing. But if you tell them what to do, they don’t do the right thing.

“If you tell someone you’re going to have presumed consent in a law, that’s not going to go over very well.”

Jones’s bill is expected to go to committee, where it may be modified.

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wetaskiwin RCMP seeking witnesses to car-jacking

Armed theft resulted in two subjects facing multiple charges

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Shooting incident in Poplar Grove

VW sedan may be linked to Wetaskiwin gun incident

Second annual Sledz and Treadz Poker Rally at Pigeon Lake Feb. 29

Vehicle and poker event will benefit Lakedell School

Summer villages would like to fix Range Road #11

County of Wetaskiwin hears about problems with Pigeon Lake route

Farmers, please check your canola bins

Spoiling occurs, and producers don’t want to suffer for it

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read