Thursday, January 5, 2023

Letter from Canada's Disability groups opposing (MAiD) euthanasia for mental illness.

The following letter was signed by more than 50 organizations and sent to Justice Minister David Lametti, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the NDP Jasmeet Singh, Leader of the Bloc Québécois Yves-Francois Blanchet, and Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party.

Dear Minister David Lametti,

We, the undersigned disability and human rights organizations are writing to express our concern and opposition to the legalization of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) for mental illness and to the already-legal practise of euthanizing people with disabilities who are not terminally ill.

The legalization of MAiD for mental illness is a discriminatory process that is made worse by systematic poverty, a national housing crisis, and inadequate access to support in the community. We know, as do you, that the existing law is not working and has not worked, and that people with disabilities have been dying by MAiD due to their life circumstances and oppression. To legalize MAiD for mental illness would pour gas on a fire that is already out of control.

Over two million Canadians over the age of 15 have a mental health-related disability. The majority are women, non binary, and gender non-conforming people. Four out of five have at least one other type of disability. The majority have experienced assault. Persons living in poverty and those who are homeless are over-represented, as are indigenous people who, as noted in both Expert Panel's reports, have not been meaningfully consulted or engaged in relation to MAiD.

As a country we cannot provide state-assisted death to people who are not terminally ill, without ensuring a legislated right to a decent life for all. The current MAiD law has chipped away at the constitutional protections of Canadians. The very existence of the current law is a threat to the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

We call on the government to take the necessary steps to not just delay MAiD for mental illness but to fully roll back the sunset clause and to repeal track two MAiD (for persons not terminally ill) as introduced under Bill C-7. We cannot allow systematic discrimination of this magnitude and risk to continue. The government's ill-considered, trial-and-error experiment on the lives of persons with disabilities is failing. It is time to ensure protection for all, including people with disabilities.

Thank you for considering our concerns, and we expect to see meaningful action taken on this critical issue.


Signed by 53 disability and human rights organizations.

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