OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) — A private member’s Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) bill that would repeal the expansion of euthanasia laws to those suffering solely from mental illness will get its first official debate in the House of Commons tomorrow.
The bill – officially known as Bill C-314, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) – was introduced in February by CPC MP Ed Fast. It received immediate praise from Canada’s top pro-life organization, Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), after it passed its first reading.
Second reading of the bill will take place tomorrow, with debate expected to last about one hour.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC), has praised the bill and welcomed the fact it will be debated tomorrow by MPs.
“The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) thanks the Hon Ed Fast MP for introducing Bill C-314, a bill that would prohibit euthanasia for mental illness,” Schadenberg wrote in a blog on Sunday.
“EPC supports Bill C-314 since it amends the Criminal Code to prohibit euthanasia for people with a mental disorder.”
Speaking with LifeSiteNews today, Schadenberg stated that the reality is that “leading psychiatrists are saying that mental disorders do not constitute an irremediable medical condition, and therefore, should not be considered for MAiD proves that the government has gone too far.”
“MAiD was sold to Canadians based on freedom and autonomy. These deaths appear to be more about abandoning Canadians in need of support,” he observed.
Bill C-314 reads, “This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide that a mental disorder is not a grievous and irremediable medical condition for which a person could receive medical assistance in dying.”
Fast said of his bill shortly after it was introduced that the government expanding medical assistance in dying (MAiD) to “include mentally ill persons” and potentially even so-called “mature minors” shows Canada is on a “slippery slope.”
“My bill would reverse this momentum and repeal the government’s decision to extend MAiD to the mentally ill. The evidence from mental health experts is very clear. There is no consensus in Canada that the mentally ill should be covered by Canada’s medically assisted death regime,” he said.
The expansion to include those suffering solely from mental illness came as part of the 2021 passage of Bill C-7, which also allowed the chronically ill – not just the terminally ill – to qualify for doctor-assisted death.
The mental illness expansion was originally set to take effect in March. However, after massive pushback from pro-life groups, conservative politicians and others, the Liberals under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delayed the introduction of the full effect of Bill C-7 until 2024 via Bill C-39, which became law on March 9.
The delay comes after numerous public scandals, including the surfacing of reports that Canadian veterans were being offered the fatal procedure by workers at Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
The expansion of euthanasia to those with mental illness will automatically become law in the spring of 2024, but because the date is more than a year away, there is a chance a new government could stop it.
The federal Liberal government under Trudeau legalized euthanasia in 2016. Since that time, he has continued to push to further expand who can qualify for state-sanctioned death.
EPC: Euthanasia for those with mental illness will only ‘multiply’ once its allowed
Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews that since Bill C-7 was passed in 2021, Canada has experienced people with disabilities being “approved for and dying by MAiD based on poverty, homelessness, and an inability to receive needed medical treatment.”
“People with mental disorders often live in poverty, they are more likely to experience homelessness and they experience long-waiting periods to receive needed treatment for mental health,” he noted.
Schadenberg said Canada is experiencing “great concerns with the types of euthanasia deaths that are happening.”
“When MAiD for mental disorders is implemented, these situations will likely multiply,” he stated.
The EPC currently has a petition going that one can sign to show support for Fast’s bill, which has over 4,000 signatures.
“If Bill C-314 passes, euthanasia for mental illness will be prohibited in Canada,” the EPC noted.
A poll conducted in February by the Angus Reid Institute showed that 51 percent of Canadians are opposed to MAiD for mental health as a sole condition.
Should there be an election and the Conservatives form a new government, the party has indicated the bill would be overturned. There is also a chance a Conservative bill could stop it. However, that is unlikely, as all opposition parties besides the CPC are pro-death.
The CPC has said that it is against expanding Canada’s MAiD laws any further.
Pro-life advocates at the national level have long sounded the alarm over Trudeau’s Liberal government’s euthanasia program, which has drawn criticism on an international scale.
Canada’s increasingly permissive laws have allowed euthanasia to rise 32 percent since 2020, with more than 10,000 people dying in 2021 alone.