Friday, March 17, 2023

Senator Denise Batters speech in the Senate opposing euthanasia for mental illness.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Senator Denise Batters has been one of the most clear and effective voices in Canada's Senate opposing euthanasia for mental illness. Bill C-7, that passed on March 17, 2021, legalized euthanasia for mental illness alone, but with a two year moratorium for implementation. 

The attached video is the speech by Senator Batters, in the Senate, concerning Bill C-39, a bill to delay the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness, for one year, until March 17, 2024. Dr Batters husband, Dave Batters, was a Member of Parliament when he died by suicide on June 29, 2009.

Senator Denise Batters
Senator Batters states in her speech.

  • Euthanasia for mental illness alone is abhorrent.
  • Bill C-7 (passed in March 2021) which eliminated the requirement that people must be terminally ill to die by euthanasia, has led to the slippery slope with veterans with PTSD dying by euthanasia and disabled and impoverished Canadians are deciding to end their lives by euthanasia.
  • The parliamentary committee on MAiD has recommended to expand euthanasia to children.
  • Psychiatrists are warning that euthanasia should not be extended to people with mental illness, in response the government is delaying the implementation to gain time to sell Canadians on the concept.
  • A recent Angus Reid survey found that only 31% of Canadians support euthanasia for mental illness.
  • Batters' very first social media post and article was entitled: Help the mentally ill, don't kill them.
  • Originally Bill C-7 excluded euthanasia for mental illness. The Senate passed an amendment to the bill to require euthanasia for mental illness and the government accepted the amendment but with a two-year moratorium for implementation.
  • During the Bill C-7 debate, euthanasia for mental illness was never studied by a committee of the Parliament or Senate.
  • The parliamentary committee on MAiD studied further of expansion of euthanasia, to minors and by advanced consent.
  • Mental illness is not irremediable, one of the criteria required in the law.
  • Recovery from mental illness is possible, but cannot be predicted.
  • Dr John Maher, a respected psychiatrist who specializes in difficult cases, calls euthanasia for mental illness - facilitated suicide.
  • Advocates of euthanasia for mental illness have changed their argument from it being an irremediable medical condition to an inaccessible medical condition.
  • One psychiatrist has stated that she would consider a long waiting list for psychiatric treatment as it being an irremediable medical condition.
  • There are problems with access to Canada's healthcare system. The answer is to fix that system, not to confirm a mentally ill persons feeling of hopeless and offer them the lethal means to suicide.
  • As a compassionate society we have the obligation to hold hope for mentally ill Canadians when they don't hold hope for themselves.
False claims by the government concerning euthanasia for mental illness.
  • Justice Minister David Lametti claims that euthanasia for mental illness has been mandated by the courts. This is not true. The Carter and Truchon cases did not rule on the constitutionality of euthanasia for mental illness alone.
  • The government and euthanasia lobby falsely claim that euthanasia for physical or psychological suffering are equivalent. A mental illness is not terminal. Death is not a reasonably foreseeable outcome. Mental illness is not irremediable and it is unpredictable.
  • Suicidality can be a symptom of mental illness.
  • To recognize the difference between physical and mental illness is not discriminatory but a simple acknowledgement of fact.
  • Canadians with mental illness do not have full access to treatment and support options.
  • This is not equality for people with mental illness but a complete dereliction of our duty.
  • The gaps in our treatment of mental illness are leading to people seeking death.
  • I am livid that the government is offering death rather than treatment.
  • We should be using the year of delay for implementing euthanasia for mental illness to actually provide an in-depth study into whether we should be implementing euthanasia for mental illness.
  • Justice Minister Lametti has stated that the delay is to allow everyone to internalize the standards and allow universities to prepare teaching material. This is bunk.
  • The tide is turning and the government has actually delayed euthanasia for mental illness to give them more time to do a sell job to Canadians.
  • The government is delaying euthanasia for mental illness because psychiatrists and professionals are against it. Canadians are not ready for it either.
  • The rest of the world is looking at Canada's euthanasia law with shock as we have become the most permissive country in the world.
  • Since everyone is uncomfortable with it, it is probably an indication that we are doing something wrong. We need to stop this runaway train before it's too late.
  • The one year delay to euthanasia for mental illness is a start, but it is only a start. This government needs to completely re-evaluate extending euthanasia for mental illness. They have gone too far with this ideological experiment and are headed straight for the abyss.
  • The law has gone too far for psychiatrists, too far for Canadians and it is hurting people who desperately need us to preserve hope, people with mental illness.
We must not let people with mental illness down.

Article: Senator Denise Batters: Help the mentally ill, Don't kill them (Link).

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