Assisted suicide bill marks a sad day for vulnerable Canadians

david-anderson-2FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON – David Anderson, Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills-Grasslands, is criticizing the Liberal Government’s legislation that provides for medically-assisted suicide.

“I remain disappointed that the unelected and unaccountable Supreme Court has made the decision that they see this as a Charter issue,” said Anderson. “I believe that today’s legislation is just the start of Canada’s long slide down the euthanasia slope.”

Bill C-14, tabled Thursday, legislates the conditions for assisted suicide for ‘eligible patients.’ According to the bill, an eligible person includes anyone over 18 years of age, mentally competent or capable to make medical decisions for themselves, who has a ‘grievous and irremediable’ medical condition, and who can give consent.

“I don’t believe these safeguards go far enough,” said Anderson. “I have consistently said that the application of the Supreme Court’s decision should be allowed only in very extreme circumstances for those who are terminal.  These provisions go much further and that is unfortunate.”

Anderson pointed out that the legislation also ignores a Liberal Party election promise of a $3-billion investment in long-term care, including palliative care.

“Given that the special joint-committee and stakeholders unanimously endorsed the idea of a pan-Canadian strategy on palliative care with dedicated funding, today’s legislation is made all the more disappointing,” Anderson remarked.

In February of 2015, the Supreme Court struck down the ban on assisted suicide on the grounds that it violated Canadians’ Charter rights. Parliament has until June 6th to table, debate and pass new legislation on assisted suicide – a timeline that Anderson believes is too constrained to properly vet and amend the bill.

“The Government has left it so late in the parliamentary year that I fear we won’t be able to properly evaluate the bill,” added Anderson. “For example, the disability community has asked for a social vulnerability study on the effects of pressuring individuals into assisted dying. A collapsed timeline will make that impossible and will leave one more community at risk.”

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