Updated: May 3, 2021
Final votes recently took place on Liberal Bill C-7, an act that changes the laws around Medical Assistance in Dying (also known as assisted suicide or euthanasia). Before getting into some of the specifics of this bill, I want to emphasize how important it is to have respect when dealing with difficult issues like this. I hear many opinions on every issue, but it is social issues like this that invoke deep emotion often based on experience. As this column delves into some of the concerns I have raised, please know I respect that not everyone agrees.
Over the last year, thousands of you have reached out and there has been overwhelming opposition to the Liberals’ Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) Bill. This Bill was a response to a Quebec Superior Court ruling that struck down some of the provisions of the changes the Liberals made to legalize MAiD in the last Parliament.
Here is where the problems start: instead of appealing the court decision to the Supreme Court, the Liberals went ahead and decided to make changes. This created a deadline for new legislation to be enacted, which became an issue when the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament and used other Parliamentary tricks to delay investigations into issues like pandemic spending and the WE Scandal.
Bill C-7 does not only address the issues raised in the court decision but goes much further. For example, this bill removes safeguards that ensure that this program is not abused.
We saw during the debate that the Liberals failed in their duty to protect Canadians and were willing to play politics at every turn. While they claimed to have consulted widely and found a “clear consensus” in their legislation, the opposite is true. We heard from countless Canadians, including many disability rights advocates, First Nations communities, and health care professionals who called out the clear failures in this bill. Unfortunately, the Liberals, Bloc, and NDP blocked every Conservatives' amendment that attempted to improve the Bill.
It passed in the House of Commons just before Christmas, and the Senate began its deliberations. I was personally hopeful that the Senate would take the growing chorus of concerns seriously and amend the bill to include safeguards, but despite the best efforts of Conservatives in the Senate they did the unthinkable: they added further provisions that put Canadians at risk, including allowing a clause that could allow people suffering from mental illness to be eligible for assisted death. This measure was endorsed by the Liberals earlier this month.
I spoke to this Bill several times, where I outlined my concerns and dismay at how a Government could be so callous in its approach to some of the most vulnerable groups in our society. I firmly believe that Parliament has the responsibility to stand up for life and I am concerned about how this bill has the potential to end lives that should be saved.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding this column, you are encouraged to write Damien at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, text 403-575-5625, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also stay up to date with Damien by following him on social media @dckurek and subscribing to his e-newsletter at damienkurek.ca/subscribe. If you are in need of assistance regarding a Federal Government program, or need assistance and don’t know where to turn, feel free to reach out to MP Kurek’s office.
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