The federal government has introduced Bill C-7, which would allow people who aren’t dying to be eligible for euthanasia. People with disabilities are very concerned about the impact this change will have. This bill has been on hold during the COVID-19 restrictions, but the federal government is planning for this to bill to pass by December 18, 2020. There are simple, effective ways to ask for changes to the bill.
As part of our Three Questions Series we share some common questions people might have and answers about this bill.
Q1. What does this bill do?
One of the major changes is that Bill C-7 will remove the limit that restricts euthanasia to those who are dying or at the end of life. The current law on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), which was passed in 2016, required that a person’s death be “reasonably foreseeable” in order to be eligible for euthanasia or assisted suicide.
A lower court in Quebec struck down the “reasonably foreseeable” death requirement in September 2019. The government didn’t appeal this decision. However, it could introduce a different end of life requirement for MAID.
Removing the end of life requirement will mean that someone with a chronic illness or disability who is not dying, could be eligible for euthanasia because of the illness or disability. People with disabilities are very concerned that this will increase pressure on them to have their lives ended.
Q2. What is the bill’s status?
Bill C-7 was introduced by the Justice Minister in February. The government considers passing this bill to be a priority. It has been in limbo since March, when Parliament stopped regular sittings due to covid-19. It is expected to be a priority when Parliament resumes regular meetings again in the fall.
The next step will be for Bill C-7 to be voted on by MPs a second time. If it passes, it will go to a committee to be studied and for changes to be considered. After the committee stage, it will return to the House of Commons to be debated and voted on a third time. Then it will go to the Senate to go through the same process of three votes and a committee study.
Q3. What can I do?
Take a few minutes to pray for those who are vulnerable in Canada. Pray also for God’s blessing on your MP.
Contact your MP to ask for changes to Bill C-7. The EFC has resources to help do that simply and effectively.
The first step is to find your MP’s name and contact information. You can search by postal code or riding at ourcommons.ca/Members/en
There are several ways to contact your MP:
- Mail in a postcard. Ask the EFC to send postcards that you can mail your MP that say that Bill C-7 discriminates against people with disabilities.
- Email or mail a short letter. See a template on the EFC’s website.
- Call your MP’s office:
- Tell the MP’s staff that you’ve sent a postcard or email/letter and you’d like to make sure they see it and respond.
- Let the MP’s staff know you’re concerned about Bill C-7 and would like your MP to take steps to change it so that the Medical Assistance in Dying law is limited to people at the end of life.
Take a few minutes to think about who else might share these concerns and share this information with them. We are most effective when we work together!
Author: Beth Hiemstra