Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Responds to Francine Lalonde’s National Post Article

Today, Francine Lalonde published an article in the National Post promoting her private members bill, Bill C-384, which would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide for those 18 years and older.

Lalonde’s article omits the topic of elder abuse and misrepresents the bill’s provisions.

In Canada, elder abuse is a widespread problem, which is often unreported. Older persons with money are a prime target with family members the usual perpetrators. See e.g. Canada’s official website at: http://www.seniors.gc.ca/c.4nt.2nt3col@.jsp?lang=eng&geo=110&lang=eng&geo=169&cid=161

Perpetrators can also be strangers, for example, Melissa Friedrich, Canada's “Internet Black Widow.”

Contrary to Lalonde’s article, C-384 lacks basic protections for patients. For example, the patient is not required to be lucid at the time of application. A patient must only “appear” to be lucid. C-384 also allows an heir, who will benefit from the death, to serve as power of attorney to approve the euthanasia or assisted suicide. The death is also not required to be witnessed by disinterested persons. Without witnesses, the opportunity is created for someone else to administer the lethal agent to the patient without the patient’s consent. Even if the patient struggled, who would know?

C-384 is a recipe for elder abuse. For more detailed information, see memo to parliament: http://www.euthanasiaprevention.on.ca/1016_001.pdf

Alex Schadenberg
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Margaret Dore, Lawyer

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