Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Euthanasia Bill C-7 faces push-back. One Liberal MP says he is voting against the bill.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Bill C-7, the bill that expands Canada's euthanasia law, is facing challenges from people with disabilities, physicians and other groups, and now, at least one Liberal MP has decided to vote against Bill C-7 saying that the legislation allows people living with temporary despair to die by euthanasia.

CBC News reported on December 9 that Liberal MP Marcus Powlowski who represents the Ontario riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River has voted against Bill C-7 at the report stage, and unless changes are made to Bill C-7, he will vote against Bill C-7 at Third reading.

Powlowski, who is a medical doctor and also has degrees in law told Kathleen Harris from CBC News:

"I don't like voting against my party, but as someone with a medical background and somebody who has dealt with this issue over the years a lot, I think morally it's incumbent upon me to stand up when it comes to issues of health and life and death," he said.
Powlowski who has practised medicine in Canada, Africa and the South Pacific has two law degrees and a master's degree in health policy and has helped develop health law and policy for the World Health Organization and several governments said that:
he worries the resulting legislation may not address people who are "transient" in their wish to terminate their lives, such as someone who has a permanent disability or who now needs chronic care. Those feelings of anguish can fade over time as they adjust to a changed reality.

"My biggest concern, as someone who has spent my whole life trying to avoid accidentally killing people, is that we don't end up using MAID for people who don't really want to die,"

"I think, with a bit of time, people may come around to the fact that there are reasons they want to live."
Rachel Emmanuel reporting for ipolitics states that criticism of Bill C-7 is increasing as parliament approaches the Christmas break. Emmanuel reports that the Conservative MP's have been holding up Bill C-7:
Conservative members have been delaying the government’s schedule to pass C-7, by using debate to raise concerns they have with the legislation, including proposing amendments to expand and keep the waiting period for patients accessing MAiD which were previously rejected in the House.
Emmanuel reported that physician groups are wanting conscience protections added to the bill.
Ewan Goligher, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, said he’d like C-7 to be amended so doctors who believe the life-ending procedure is unethical can follow their conscience, and not refer patients to another physician willing to administer MAiD.

“If euthanasia is unethical then we definitely ought not to refer,”
Emmanuel reported that Dr Catherine Ferrier, president of Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, said it should be made clear in the law that MAiD is not a medical treatment on the same level of real treatments.

Emmanuel further reported that disability rights leaders have demanded that the government put a halt on Bill C-7 until they first consider its effects on people with disabilities.
Krista Carr, executive vice-president of Inclusion Canada, called Bill C-7 a “worst nightmare,” saying it devalues the lives of the disabled. With passage of this legislation, having a disability could become a justification for state-facilitated suicide, she said in her testimony last month.
What does Bill C-7 do?

  1. Bill C-7 removes the requirement in the law that a person’s natural death is reasonably foreseeable in order to qualify for MAiD, as required by Truchon. Therefore people who are not terminally ill can die by MAiD. The Truchon decision only required this amendment to the legislation. 
  2. Bill C-7 permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who cannot consent, if that person was previously approved for MAiD. This contravenes the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision which stated that only competent people could die by MAiD. 
  3. Bill C-7 waives the ten-day waiting period when a person is deemed to be “terminally ill.” Thus a person could request MAiD 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 whose death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable would have no waiting period while a person whose death is deemed to be not reasonably foreseeable would have a 90-day waiting period. 
  5. Bill C-7 reduces the number of witnesses from two to one, and the one witness could be connected to the care of the person. When abuse is done to a vulnerable person, it is often done by a family members or care-giver.
  6. Bill C-7 claims to prevent MAiD for people with mental illness. The law permits MAiD for people who are physically or psychologically suffering that they find intolerable and that cannot be relieved in a way that the person considers acceptable.Bill C-7 states: Exclusion (2.1) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(a), a mental illness is not considered to be an illness, disease or disability.

The government claims that (2.1) excludes MAiD for mental illness alone. To exclude MAiD for mental illness alone, the bill must define psychological suffering to exclude euthanasia for mental illness. Mental illness is currently considered a form of psychological suffering which MAiD is permitted for in the law.

Bill C-7 needs to define the phrase “natural death is reasonably foreseeable,” and it needs to define the terms psychological suffering and mental illness. Without defining the parameters of the law, the law will be unequally applied and it will be applied beyond the claimed scope of the bill.

Bill C-7 does not protect the conscience rights of medical professionals who oppose MAiD.

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. The lack of parameters directly threatens the lives of people with disabilities.

When the government legalized euthansia in 2016, it included in the legislation a requirement that the law receive a full review starting in June 2020. That review has not been done and yet the government insists on expanding the euthanasia law.
There was no requirement in Truchon court decision to remove the 10 day reflection period. Studies show that the will to live fluctuates over time.

Removing the requirement of consent at the time of death is inconsistent with the Supreme court Carter decision and it denies a person the right to change their mind.

As stated earlier, the additional changes to the MAiD law were not required by Truchon court decision. These changes are premature, at best, considering that the five-year review of the MAiD law which was to begin in June 2020, has not yet been done.

The government needs to shelve Bill C-7 until after the five-year review is completed. If the government insists on passing Bill C-7 then it must limit the legislative changes to the Truchon decision which required removing the phrase: “natural death is reasonably foreseeable.”


Brenda L said...

Father God forgive them for they know not what they do. Lord please open peoples eyes to the truth that an affront against human life is an affront against YOU our Creator and Sustainer.
Please Lord may people see that if they agree with this Bill C7 they are in essence agreeing that life is not sacred. This is a lie.
Every single person has dignity apart from their physical state. Who are we to think we can take life into our own feeble hands?
God alone should decide.
From the onset of abortion, our country has turned from a culture of life to a culture of death.
God help us.

Roger L. St. Pierre said...

The government needs to shelve Bill C-7 forever. At no time should it be given consideration.
Euthanasia is never OK!

Eric said...

I agree with Roger L. St. Pierre. I submit also that no doctor has a duty in conscience to disobey his conscience. Nobody has the competence to tell someone to disobey their conscience.
Only those with improperly formed consciences will agree with this folly.