Thursday, June 16, 2016

Canadian Senate sends Bill C-14 back to parliament with amendments, the worst parts of the bill remain intact.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Canada's Senate passed Bill C-14, with its amendments, by a 64 to 12 vote, and therefore sent the bill back to parliament for acceptance or amendments.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition argues that Bill C-14 must be amended or defeated.

Bill C-14 will now go back to parliament where they will either accept the Senate amendments or send the bill back to the Senate. 


The Senate made seven amendments to Bill C-14. The only amendment to receive media attention is the amendment that replaces that a person's "death must be reasonably foreseeable" with a person having a "grievous and irremediable medical condition and after the condition has begun to cause enduring suffering that is intolerable to the person"

CBC news reported the six other amendments are:

1. requiring a person to give informed consent to receive MAiD after having had a palliative care consultation, and after having been informed of treatment, technology and support options available to relieve suffering. 
2. a provision that prohibits a beneficiary from assisting a persons assisted death or signing the request for assisted death. 
3. require the federal minister of health to make regulations on the provision and collection of information for the purpose of monitoring MAiD and on the use and disposal of that information, and the information on death certificates. 
4. requiring a two-year deadline for independent reports on assisted dying. 
5. An amendment to the language of the bill to make the French and English versions consistent. 
6. An amendment to fix a drafting error in the bill.
The amendment that prohibits beneficiaries from assisting a death underscores the most grievous problems with Bill C-14, that being the lack of effective oversight of the law and the fact that the bill enables anyone to participate in acts of euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The most grievous sections of the bill have not been amended:

1. Bill C-14 allows anyone to cause death by euthanasia or assisted suicide. 
• Bill C-14 - Section 227(2) states: No person is a party to culpable homicide if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2
• Bill C-14 - Section 241(3) states: No person is a party to an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2
• Bill C-14 - Section 241(5) states: No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)‍(b) if they do anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2.
No jurisdiction in the world offers legal immunity to anyone who does anything for the purposes of assisted dying. These sections must be struck from the bill.

2. Bill C-14 continues to provide medical practitioners or nurse practitioners total immunity for decisions or acts that contravene Bill C-14.

• Section 241.3 states: Before a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner provides a person with medical assistance in dying, the medical or nurse practitioner must: (a) be of the opinion that the person meets all of the criteria set out in subsection (1)
• Section 227(3) states: For greater certainty, the exemption set out in subsection (1) or (2) applies even if the person invoking it has a reasonable but mistaken belief about any fact that is an element of the exemption.
I cannot understand why people remain so blind about the implications of the language of the bill. Bill C-14 remains the most wide-open bill in the world. It is even worse than the Belgian law. 


Bill C-14 must be amended or defeated.

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