Saturday, June 4, 2022

Kelly Block: Support Conscience Right Bill C-230.

Message from Kelly Block MP Carlton Trail - Eagle Creek

Over the past two years, we have seen just how important our health care system is and how critical the medical professionals who work in that system are to Canadians.

I believe we need to create a work environment for medical professionals that protects them, supports them, and encourages them to continue in the critical work they do.

As you may be aware, in early February I introduced a private member’s bill (C-230) entitled the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act which amends the Criminal Code to make it a punishable offense to coerce or intimidate in order to force a medical professional to take part in medical assistance in dying or assisted suicide. It also prohibits the firing or refusal to hire medical professionals if the sole reason is their refusal to take part in medical assistance in dying. (Visit my website for videos, petitions, and more information.) 

Freedom of Conscience is one of the first fundamental rights laid out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is at the core of our Canadian identity. However, I am deeply concerned that many medical professionals are experiencing discrimination because of their deeply held ethical beliefs.

The recent expansion of medical assistance in dying has raised the awareness of many medical professionals to the moral dilemma they now face. In my consultations with healthcare professionals, I have repeatedly heard concerns that, when faced with either the violation of their conscience or the end of their careers, many would choose the latter.

The devastating impact of losing so many dedicated professionals cannot be overstated at a time when our healthcare system is suffering serious shortages.

Bill C-230 was first debated in the House of Commons this past March. Sadly, at that time, the speeches by the Liberal, Bloc, and NDP Members indicated that those parties (as a whole) were not supportive of my bill. I am still hopeful that there will be some within those parties that will stand up and defend conscience rights for medical professionals.

To that end I want to thank you for everything that you’ve done to encourage your local MP to support this Bill.

A vote on the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act is coming up in late September. I encourage you to continue to reach out to your networks and encourage them to contact their local Member of Parliament and implore them to support this bill when the vote takes place.

Additionally, please continue to have your friends, family and neighbours sign this petition (English Petition / French Petition) and send them to my office so my supportive colleagues and I can table them in the House of Commons on your behalf.

Sincerely,

Kelly Block, MP
Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek

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