February 26, 2020 (Canadian Physicians for Life) — On Monday, the federal government introduced changes to the criminal code that went significantly further than what was required by the Truchon case.
The preamble of the Bill on MAiD extension recognizes the importance of protecting vulnerable persons from being induced to end their lives but does nothing to support that laudable goal.
In fact, many of the safeguards around MAiD are removed so that vulnerable people are increasingly placed at risk. This bill erodes the trust that vulnerable people should be able to have in the medical profession.
Of concern is the fact that there is no longer a waiting period. You can be diagnosed and killed all in one day.
Independent oversight has been reduced. Now only one signature is required and the people taking care of you can be your 'independent' witness.
Even if an individual attempts to withdraw their consent, there is no mechanism to ensure their wishes are respected. In fact there is an exemption that allows the characterization of non-verbal withdrawal of consent as a reaction to touch, allowing euthanasia to proceed unhindered.
Pro-MAiD healthcare providers are not waiting for people to raise the possibility of MAiD — in actual fact (see Taylor's story below) they are encouraging individuals to pursue this option. They have blown a hole through section 241 of the Criminal Code which makes it an offense to counsel a person to commit suicide.
We are all vulnerable when we are sick, alone or at the end of our lives. It is when we are most vulnerable that we need our medical professionals to walk with us.
This Bill does not contemplate provisions for individuals to be able to seek doctors who won’t counsel MAiD as a treatment option. Since Subsection 241(9) of the Criminal Code is completely ignored in practice [Section 241(9) says that no individual shall be compelled to participate in or provide MAiD] this is a major failure which puts us all at risk.
This bill is not law yet. There is a lot of opportunity in a minority government to make headway with lawmakers and get changes to this bill.
We will continue to work hard on this issue so that 'efficient death' is not embedded in our medical system. We will advocate for protecting medical professionals practicing in the Hippocratic tradition so that patients can trust the care they receive.
Published with permission from Canadian Physicians for Life.