Monday, October 5, 2020

EPC: Stop Bill C-7 from expanding Canada's euthanasia law.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

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Sign the EPC petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).

In September 2019, Justice Baudouin,  struck down the requirement in Canada's euthanasia law that a person's  natural death be reasonably foreseeable and the court gave the federal government six months to amend the law based on the  Truchon court decision. The government did not appeal the decision.

On February 24, the federal government introduced Bill C-7 in response to the Quebec Superior Court decision striking down the requirement in the law that a person’s "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable" before qualifying for death by lethal injection. Due to the COVID-19 crisis and then the prorogation of parliament, Bill C-7 was re-introduced on October 5, 2020.

What changes does Bill C-7 make to the law?

1. Bill C-7 removes the requirement in the law that a person’s natural death must be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for death by lethal injection. Therefore, people who are not terminally ill can die by euthanasia. The Quebec court decision only required this amendment to the law, but Bill C-7 went further.

2. Bill C-7 permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who is incapable of consenting, if that person was previously approved for assisted death. This contravenes the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision which stated that only competent people could die by euthanasia.

3. Bill C-7 waives the ten-day waiting period when a person is deemed to be “terminally ill.” A person could request death by euthanasia on a "bad day" and die the same day. Studies prove that the “will to live” fluctuates.

4. Bill C-7 creates a two track law. A person who is deemed to be terminally ill would have no waiting period while a person who is not terminally ill will have a 90 day waiting period before being killed by lethal injection.

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.

5. Bill C-7 falsely claims to prevent euthanasia for people with mental illness. The euthanasia law permits MAiD for people who are physically or psychologically suffering 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, is considered a form of psychological suffering.

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.

Bill C-7 permits anyone who believes that their physical or psychological suffering to be intolerable to qualify for death by lethal injection, even if effective medical treatments for their condition exists, with a 90 day waiting period. (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.

Key talking points:
  1. Bill C-7 must not permit MAiD when a person has become incompetent, even if the person was previously approved.
  2. Bill C-7 must not eliminate the 10 day waiting period.
  3. Bill C-7 must define psychological suffering to actually prevent euthanasia for mental illness alone.
  4. Bill C-7 must define the phrase, natural death is reasonably foreseeable.
Sign the petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).

Contact your member of parliament and state your opposition to Bill C-7 and any expansion to the already dangerous euthanasia regime in Canada.

Link to the list of Members of Parliament: https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/search

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