By Terry Vanderheyden
OTTAWA, July 31, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal MP says she is planning to resurrect proposed legislation to legalize assisted suicide.
Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde’s party-supported private member’s bill to legalize euthanasia introduced last June died on the table when the election was called in December. In April, she vowed to resurrect the measure “sooner than later”. (See LifeSiteNews.com coverage: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/apr/06041207.html)
Had Lalonde’s bill C-407 passed, the law in Canada would have allowed any individual to “assist” someone to commit suicide with or without a doctor present. In June 2005, when the bill was pending, Ontario’s Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) warned that it would create a situation in Canada where people who do not want to be euthanized are killed by doctors.
The nuts and bolts of the new proposal are not yet known, but if it resembles anything like what Lalonde attempted last year, the bill would be “so wide open it provides no effective restrictions whatsoever and if passed it will be assisted suicide on demand,” according to criticism from the EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg. (See coverage: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2005/jun/05062405.html)
In debate leading up to the federal election in January, Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper said that he opposes assisted suicide and has no intention of raising the issue in parliament. He would, however, allow a free vote on the issue if it were raised. “I can simply say it isn’t the intention of our government to propose this type of change to the law,” Harper said. “I think it’s important to resist the idea of giving the power to kill. I understand the reasons some might want to propose this. If there is a proposal like this in the House of Commons – a moral question – I would always allow my members a free vote.” (See coverage: https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/jan/06011904.html)
Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun reports that it has obtained documents through access to information revealing that Justice Department officials are advising the government to enact euthanasia legislation. They argue it is time elected representatives kept pace with activist courts that have increasingly permitted the withdrawal of life-sustaining nutrition and hydration or even the administration of narcotic medications to speed death.
Dr. Joseph Ayoub, an oncologist and professor of medical ethics at the University of Montreal, told the Sun “Assisted suicide does not honour human dignity – especially now in the modern era of medicine, when there are ways to heal patients physically and psychologically.”
He described opening the door to legalized assisted suicide as a “slippery slope. First you start with patients with a severe disease like cancer at the end of their life, then you come to disabled people, then you come to handicapped children and old people in homes,” he emphasized. “It could become like you are selecting people to terminate their lives.”
See Sun coverage:
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Bill C-407 A Bill to Legalize Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
Canada “Not Ready” for Assisted Suicide Debate – Liberal Senator
Canadian Parliamentary Euthanasia Debate Begins – Conservative MP Slams Proposal