Monday, February 22, 2021

Canada's Parliament to debate euthanasia for mental illness and incompetent people.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week I reported that Canada's Senate passed Bill C-7, the bill to expand Canada's euthanasia law, with dangerous amendments that would further expand the law. 

The Senate passed five amendments to Bill C-7. The primary amendments were expanding euthanasia to people with mental illness (with an 18 month reprieve for the federal government to develop rules) and incompetent people who had requested death in their advanced directive.

By passing Bill C-7, on February 17, with amendments, the bill now goes back to parliament for debate on the amendments.

Article: Senate passes Bill C-7 to allow euthanasia for mental illness and incompetent people (Link).

Join more than 52,000 people who have signed the petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).

You need to contact your member of parliament to reject the Senate amendments and Bill C-7. The link to the list of Members of Parliament:
https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/search

In September 2019, Québec Superior court Justice Christine Baudouin, in Truchon, struck down the requirement that a person's natural death be reasonably foreseeable in Canada's euthanasia law and gave the federal government until March 11, 2020 to amend the law. At that time, Canada was in the middle of a federal election. The government decided not to appeal the decision.

On February 17, Canada's Justice Minister, David Lametti asked the Quebec Superior court for a four month extension to incorporate the court decision into the law. The Quebec court agreed to the four month extension, giving the federal government until July 11, 2020 to extend the euthanasia law.

On February 24, the federal government introduced Bill C-7 in response to the Quebec Superior Court decision Truchon decision. Bill C-7 goes far beyond Truchon. Due to the COVID-19 crisis Bill C-7 was re-introduced on October 5, 2020. Canada's Justice Minister, once again, requested an extension from the Quebec Superior court and it was granted for December 18, 2020. 

In early December, parliament passed Bill C-7, without amendments and sent it to the Senate, but due to time restriction, the Justice Minister asked the Quebec Superior court for a third extension, that was granted, giving the federal government until February 26 to pass Bill C-7.

Justice Minister David Lametti has now asked the Quebec Superior court to for a fourth extension to stay the Truchon decision until March 26.

What is exasperating is the fact that the court imposed deadline should not be a primary concern. Even if the Quebec Superior court does not extend the stay of the Truchon decision, all it means is that the decision comes into effect without the actual law changing. Normally this would be a concern but since Bill C-7 goes far beyond Truchon, it is not an important deadline.

All this has happened without the government first completing its required parliamentary review of the law, a review that was legislated by the original euthanasia law that was passed in 2016. The government has no right expand MAiD without first reviewing the law.

For instance, as bad as Bill C-7 was, the Senate expanded the bill to include people with mental illness (with an 18 month "moratorium" to develop rules) and for incompetent people who request death in their advanced directive.

The mental illness alone amendment seemed like a "set-up" after Justice Minister Lametti, announced on November 24 that, once Bill C-7 passed, he wanted to expand euthanasia to people for mental illness alone.

The Senate had no right to even consider expanding euthanasia to people who request death in their advanced directive since the issue was not even studied by the House of Commons or Senate hearings on Bill C-7. The Senate simply reacted to an emotionally compelling speech by Senator Wallin.

What did  Bill C-7 do before it was amended?

1. Bill C-7 removes the requirement in the law that a person’s natural death be reasonably foreseeable in order to qualify for assisted death. 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 if a person's natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable. Thus 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 whose natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable has no waiting period while a person whose natural death is not deemed to be reasonably foreseeable would have a 90 day waiting period before being killed by lethal injection.

5. As stated earlier, 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.

Bill C-7 went much further than the Quebec Superior Court Truchon  decision and now the Senate has made it worse. 

Join more than 52,000 people who have signed the petition: Reject euthanasia Bill C-7 (Link).

You need to contact your member of parliament to reject the Senate amendments and Bill C-7. The link to the list of Members of Parliament:

https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/search


1 comment:

Mindy said...

Well then, the whole Lib cabinet being incompetent will be euthanized, right?