WINNIPEG, June 18, 2009 ( — The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) today issued a release saying that it believes that Canadians who supports disability rights should oppose Bill C-384, which would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide and “put Canadians with disabilities at risk.” CCD is a national human rights organization of persons with disabilities.

C-384, the private member’s bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, received its first reading last month. Bill C-384 was introduced by Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament Francine Lalonde. This is Lalonde’s third attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

“Called the ‘Right to Die with Dignity’ Act, this bill threatens the lives of Canadians with disabilities. Its selling points are the notions of ‘dignity,’ and ‘suffering.’ However, the bill never explains what these terms mean,” said Rhonda Weibe, Co-Chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee.

“How do we measure dignity? What is suffering?

“These terms are based more on social values than scientific ones, but this bill proposes that a ‘medical’ and ‘legal’ solution be the remedy for people whose lives are not ‘dignified’ and who ‘suffer.’”

“Living without dignity and suffering are common misperceptions that able-bodied Canadians have about the lives of their fellow citizens with disabilities,” stated Dean Richert, Co-Chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee. “Bill C-384 does nothing to protect those who find themselves socially devalued in these ways.”

The organization wrote in its press release that, “Assisted suicide is not a free choice as long as they are denied adequate healthcare, affordable personal assistance in their communities, and equal access to social structures and systems.”