Saturday, November 23, 2019

Alberta Conscience Rights Bill 207 is dead after disinformation campaign.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alberta Conscience Rights Bill 207 may be dead after a massive death lobby disinformation campaign. Bill 207 lost by a 8 to 2 vote in committee rather than passing the bill and amending it in the legislature.

Bill 207 passed its first vote, on November 7, along party lines with 36 UCP members supporting the bill and 15 NDP opposition members voting against the bill.

The bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills.

The Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members' Public Bills voted 8 to 2 against Bill 207 even though the majority of the committee members are Conservatives.

Bill 207 faced a death lobby massive disinformation campaign who garnered more than 21,000 signatures on a petition claiming that Bill 207 would prevent Albertans from receiving some healthcare options.

The death lobby campaign was based on a lie. Bill 207 did not prevent Albertan's from receiving controversial legal health service.

Dan Williams UCP, who sponsored Bill 207, stated in an article by Shaughn Butts for postmedia news that Bill 207 protected health care providers but it did not limit access to legal healthcare services. Williams stated:
“Let me be clear, this bill not only protects freedom of conscience, but it also in no way limits access to health care services in the province” 
Butts reported that the bill amended the Alberta Human Rights Act to protect conscientious beliefs as a basis for protection from discrimination or refusal for employment.

The Manitoba legislature unanimously passed a conscience rights bill in November 2017.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition encourages the sponsor of the bill to amendment Bill 207 to ensure critics that access is not prevented while maintaining conscience protection.

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