This is a crucial time to contact your MP about changes to the euthanasia law.
It’s been just over four years since a federal bill was passed to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. So far, almost 14,000 people have had their lives ended, according to a government report this summer.
The federal government is hoping to have major changes to expand the law passed by Dec. 18.
One of the major proposed changes is to remove the requirement that a person’s death is “reasonably foreseeable,” in order to be eligible for euthanasia or assisted suicide. This watershed change would make people with chronic illness or disability, who are not dying, eligible to have their lives ended.
The EFC shares the deep concerns expressed by the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and others,
Without the equalizing effect of the end-of-life criterion, which guarantees that the common thread between all persons who access an assisted death in Canada is that they are all dying, persons with disabilities will be able to gain access ultimately because they have a disability. A worse stereotype couldn’t be institutionalized in law – that disability-related suffering, largely caused by lack of support and inequality, justifies the termination of a person’s life.
Canada must avoid sending a message that having a disability is a fate worse than death. Canadians with disabilities are already bombarded daily with reminders that they are unwelcome and under-valued. We must not compound this harm by entrenching in law the message that others who share their condition will receive our full support if they choose to die prematurely.
Justice Minister Lametti introduced a bill to make these changes, the former Bill C-7, this past February. The bill was a priority for the federal government, but it didn’t advance when Parliament was adjourned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill died when Parliament was prorogued in August.
The EFC opposed the changes made by former Bill C-7. That bill also removed key safeguards, such as a 10-day reflection period after a request for hastened death. It allowed ending the life of a person who was not capable to consent in some circumstances.
These changes are a priority for the government. A new bill is likely to be one of the first introduced in the new Parliament and to move quickly through the process.
Now is a key window of time to contact MPs about the expected changes. MPs are in their local riding offices now. Parliament will resume again on September 23. If MPs hear from their constituents now, just before they return to Parliament and a bill is introduced, we can have an impact.
Taking a few minutes to reach out to your MP can make a difference. See EFC’s website for tips and resources on simple, effective ways to engage, at TheEFC.ca/Euthanasia. This is one of the ways we can protect life and care for vulnerable Canadians. Let’s do it together.
Will you let us know if you reach out? We’d love to say thank you and hear about your experience.