Monday, November 2, 2020

Bill C-7 passes second reading and heads to Committee.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On October 29, Bill C-7, the bill to expand euthanasia in Canada, passed at second reading by a vote of 246 - 78. Every Liberal, NDP, Bloc and Green MP voted in favour of the bill. Bill C-7 has been sent to the
Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

*Sign the EPC Petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).
*Sign the parliamentary petition: No Same Day Death (Link).

The Committee on Justice and Human Rights has called witnesses and will have hearings on Bill C-7.

EPC encourages you to submit a brief to the Committee explaining your concerns with the bill. It is good to share your thoughts or personal stories with a brief to the Committee. (Link to submit a brief). 

On February 24, the Canadian government introduced Bill C-7, claiming it was in response to the Quebec Superior Court decision striking down the requirement in the euthanasia law that a person’s "natural death be reasonably foreseeable" to die by MAiD. Bill C-7 was re-introduced on October 5, 2020 after parliament returned from being prorogued.

If Bill C-7 was limited to the Quebec court mandated changes, one would understand the need for this legislation, but Bill C-7 expands Canada's euthanasia law beyond Justice Baudouin's, September 2019, court decision, a decision that should have been appealed by the government.

Bill C-7 also expands the euthanasia law without first reviewing the law as mandated by Bill C-14, the bill that legalized euthanasia in June 2016. Bill C-14 mandated a review of the law to begin in June 2020, a review that has not happened.

The fact that the government is expanding Canada's euthanasia law beyond the parameters of the Quebec court decision without first reviewing the law, as legislated, is simply wrong. Bill C-7 must be defeated.

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

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

2. 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.

3. 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, this provision represents an inequality in the law.
4. reduces the number of independent witness from two to one.

5. falsely claims to prevent euthanasia for people with mental illness. The law 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 is considered a form of psychological suffering, which is not defined in the bill. If the government wants to exclude euthanasia for mental illness, Bill C-7 would need to define psychological suffering in a manner that excludes mental illness.
Bill C-7 permits anyone who believes that their physical or psychological suffering is intolerable to qualify for death by lethal injection, even if effective medical treatments for their condition exists, only requiring a 90 day waiting period. (Link to Bill C-7).

Contact your Member of Parliament and say that you oppose Bill C-7. The list of Members of Parliament:

More Articles on Bill C-7:

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