Alex Schadenberg Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Canada's Senate passed Bill C-14, the euthanasia and assisted suicide bill.
The Senate first passed Bill C-14 a few days ago with seven amendments from the original bill that was passed in the House of Commons on May 31.
Yesterday, the House of Commons removed a controversial amendment and a protective amendment in the Senate version of the bill and then sent it back to the Senate for approval.
This morning the Senate considered an amendment that would have referred the terminal illness provision in the bill (natural death is reasonably foreseeable) to the Supreme Court of Canada, but that amendment was defeated.
The controversial issue was the requirement that a medical or nurse practitioner could approve a lethal injection if the person's "natural death is reasonably foreseeable." Parliament insisted that this requirement remain in the bill while the Senate argued that the Supreme Court did not state that a person must be "terminally ill."
The final bill maintains that "natural death must be reasonably foreseeable."
I was disappointed that House of Commons withdrew the amendment that prohibited a beneficiary from participating in a persons assisted death or signing the person's request for assisted death. This was an amendment that protected people from a greedy beneficiary or an unscrupulous family member.
The final bill allows a beneficiary to participate in the act, even to lethally inject.
The Senate then passed Bill C-14 by a vote of 44 to 28. The response from parliament was to declare a summer recess.
The bill that determines how Canadians will kill Canadians was passed on the last day of the parliamentary schedule in time for the summer recess.
Bill C-14 now goes to the Governor General to be signed.
No attempts were made to amend the most grievous parts of Bill C-14.
1. Bill C-14 provides medical practitioners or nurse practitioners legal immunity for decisions or acts that contravene the law.
â€¢ Section 241.3 states: Before a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner provides a person with medical assistance in dying, the medical or nurse practitioner must: (a) be of the opinion that the person meets all of the criteria set out in subsection (1);
â€¢ Section 227(3) states: For greater certainty, the exemption set out in subsection (1) or (2) applies even if the person invoking it has a reasonable but mistaken belief about any fact that is an element of the exemption.
These sections of the law ensure that a medical or nurse practitioner will never be prosecuted for decisions or acts that contravene Bill C-14.
2. Bill C-14 allows anyone to cause death by euthanasia or assisted suicide.
â€¢ Bill C-14 - Section 227(2) states: No person is a party to culpable homicide if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.â€2.
â€¢ Bill C-14 - Section 241(3) states: No person is a party to an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.â€2.
â€¢ Bill C-14 - Section 241(5) states: No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)â€(b) if they do anything, at another person's explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.â€2.
No jurisdiction in the world offers legal immunity to anyone who does anything for the purposes of assisting death.
Bill C-14 is the most wide-open bill in the world. It is even worse than the Belgian law.
I cannot understand why people remain so blind about the implications of the language of Bill C-14.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will resist the cultural acceptance of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Ed: As a chilling footnote, the following comments from an AAP Report posted on the SBS Network website:
"Some senators complained the scope of the law - initially passed by the elected House of Commons chamber - was too narrow and should not be restricted to those facing imminent death."
"Government officials say the new law could be broadened in years to come."