Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Canadian Bar Association: Canada's euthanasia bill C-7 will be challenged in the court.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


Petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).


A recent report from the End of Life Working Group of the Canadian Bar Association suggests several problems with Bill C-7, the bill to expand euthanasia in Canada.

Bill C-7 goes much further than the Quebec Superior Court Truchon decision but not as far as The Canadian Bar Association wants.

On February 24, the federal government introduced Bill C-7 in response to the Quebec Superior Court Truchon decision that struck down the requirement in the law that a person’s "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable" before qualifying for death by lethal injection.

Bill C-7 creates a two track law. A person whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable has a 90 day waiting period while the bill waves the 10 day waiting period for people whose natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable. Therefore a person can request and then die by lethal injection on the same day.


The Canadian Bar Association stated:
The criterion of “reasonably foreseeable death” has caused significant uncertainty and difficulty in practice and Bill C-7 does not give any guidance on how to apply it.

We recommend that guidance be given to avoid confusion on which safeguards apply and ensure appropriate access to MAiD.
I have stated that, if Bill C-7 is passed, a future court decision will strike down the 90 day waiting period for people whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable because, it would be argued that this provision represents an inequality in the law.

Since The Canadian Bar Association supports euthanasia for mental illness they recommended that:

Mental illness should not be excluded from the definition of “serious and incurable illness, disease or disability”.
I am convinced that Bill C-7 already allows euthanasia for mental illness. 

Bill C-7 permits MAiD for people who are physically or psychologically suffering in a manner that is intolerable to the person and that cannot be relieved in a way that the person considers acceptable. However, mental illness, which is not defined in the law, can be considered a form of psychological suffering and therefore has not been excluded by Bill C-7.

If the government wants to exclude euthanasia for mental illness, Bill C-7 would need to define psychological suffering in a manner that excludes euthanasia for mental illness.

I agree with the Canadian Bar Association when it stated:

"The general exclusion of all persons suffering from mental illness is likely to be constitutionally challenged."
Petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).

Why should I be concerned?

Euthanasia (MAiD) was legalized in June 2016. From that date until December 31, 2019, there have been more than 13,500 MAiD deaths in Canada, with more than 5,400 in 2019 alone.

Bill C-7 expands the law to permit anyone who considers their physical or psychological suffering to be intolerable to qualify for death by lethal injection, even if effective medical treatments for their condition exists. Bill C-7 allows medical homicide for people who need treatment and care. (Link to Bill C-7)

The Canadian government must reject Bill C-7 and begin the promised 5-year review of the euthanasia law with an open view to what is actually happening rather than continuing to expand euthanasia, making Canada the most permissive euthanasia regime in the world.


Articles on Bill C-7:

1 comment:

Gisèle A Demers said...

Putting an end to the life of a human being prematurely whether in a mother's womb or in a hospital or nursing home is a crime… whether officiated or not… Who are we to say to someone that you must die… whether directly or implicitly… It is a selfish crime… A nation that kills his citizens has no future….Whoever kills by the sword shall perish by the sword