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Dr. Jocelyn DownieCosmin Dzsurdzsa / X

(LifeSiteNews) –– Medical ethicist and Trudeau Foundation fellow Dr. Jocelyn Downie cited “privilege” in her testimony before the House of Commons medical assistance in dying (MAID) committee to justify the expansion of euthanasia for mentally ill people.

NDP MP Alistair MacGregor brought up his discomfort with the expansion of MAiD due to a “mental health crisis” within his riding. Downie, who has been a fellow of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation since 2015, was quick to blame Parliament for not simultaneously issuing supports for mental health along with expanding MAiD, which she claims is a “constitutional right.” Downie then addressed MacGregor’s concerns saying, “People getting MAiD are actually very privileged. They’re white. They’re well off. They’re highly educated. They’re not in institutions. They have families. The picture is one of privilege.”

Executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition Alex Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews that while Downie’s words are partially true, it paints an incomplete picture.

“If you look at the data she is absolutely correct, we call them the white the wealthy and the worried. They are the ones who are likely asking to be killed by euthanasia,” he said. “The problem with that concept is it’s not limited to them it also affects people who are poor and who have disabilities.”

Schadenberg raised the issue of how the expansion to include mental illness will make more people eligible to be victimized by euthanasia.

“Aren’t a lot of those people who are homeless experiencing mental illness issues? The answer is yes. Are they experiencing poverty? Certainly they are experiencing poverty,” he said. “A lot of them have addiction issues. Will some of those people then qualify for euthanasia after the law is changed? The answer is yes.”

He said there have already been numerous cases of disadvantaged people seeking euthanasia to escape poverty and use a disability to qualify.

“So when you read these stories of these cases of people asking for euthanasia based on poverty, they are not saying they want euthanasia they are just saying, ‘I’m living in poverty, with my disability benefit I don’t have enough money to live.”

Familiar with Downie’s work as a pro-euthanasia activist, Schadenberg explained why she singled out the “privileged.”

“[Downie] is trying to undermine the reality of these people who are dying by euthanasia who don’t fit the acceptable mold. [MAiD supporters] are not happy with these people with disabilities who are dying by euthanasia,” he said. “To them death is a solution to social problems. They are a group of political elite who want this option.”

In response to Downie blaming the Conservatives for making this issue partisan in the House of Commons, Schadenberg said, “of course it’s partisan. There’s some back bench liberals who don’t support euthanasia, who have been told ‘you have to vote this way.'”

Schadenberg explained that Bill C-314, sponsored by Conservative MP Ed Fast, attempted to overrule the previous decision to expand MAiD. Although the bill failed, it did receive the support of the NDP and some Liberals.

He said there is still another opportunity to reverse the expansion before it becomes active in March.

“Every month each party gets a ‘party day’ where they have a vote on an issue and I know there’s quite a few of the Conservatives that are trying to make this the issue that they will force a vote on in January.”

Schadenberg said that if this attempt is successful there is still another hurdle to overcome – the Senate. He says the Senate would likely intervene with any attempt to disrupt the expansion.

“Bill C-7 did not originally include euthanasia for mental illness, and when they passed bill C-7 and it went to the senate the senate amended the bill to include euthanasia for mental illness.”

Readers are encouraged to contact their MP’s and implore them to reverse the expansion of MAiD for mental illness and to end the practice of euthanasia completely in Canada.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible. Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.”

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