Warm greetings from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada! We pray that you are keeping well.
With Parliament set to resume in September, the EFC continues to work diligently throughout this summer to prepare for the fall session.
While we are working on many fronts, I do want to draw your attention to three proposed pieces of legislation that will greatly impact our God-given mandate to defend, protect and care for those in our midst who are vulnerable.
Bill C-7 proposes significant changes to Canada’s current laws regulating assisted suicide and euthanasia. Given the significant impact of the bill, we are concerned that Parliament is moving quickly to pass Bill C-7 by December, rather than taking steps to protect life and Canadians in vulnerable situations.
Bill C-7 would remove the requirement that a person’s death must be “reasonably foreseeable” in order to be eligible for hastened death. This means that anyone who is living with a chronic illness or disability, but who is not dying, would be eligible for assisted suicide or euthanasia. Hastened death would be offered as a treatment option by their health care provider. Too often, people living with disabilities or chronic illnesses have to deal with stigmatization and systemic discrimination – they should not be given the additional burden of having to defend their right to live!
For those whose death is reasonably foreseeable, Bill C-7 would remove some key safeguards that currently exist, such as the mandatory 10-day reflection period between the request and the hastened death. The removal of this safeguard could allow a person’s life to be ended on the same day the request is made. The existing safeguard helps to ensure that a person who may already be weakened and vulnerable due to illness or disability does not make a life-ending decision on a particularly difficult day, but rather has time to give careful consideration to the request to end their life.
The requirement that a person is able to consent at the time of the hastened death would also be removed by Bill C-7. This safeguard is crucial to prevent wrongful death in instances where the person changes their mind but can no longer clearly communicate their wish to continue living.
The EFC supports Bill C-219, a private member’s bill that would explicitly protect young people and those living with physical or mental disabilities from sexual exploitation.
Two years ago, an individual who worked with children and people living with disabilities in Ontario was found to have sexually exploited a person with a disability. This individual only had to pay a monetary fine as a consequence.
Bill C-219 proposes to amend Canada’s Criminal Code to increase the sentences for sexual exploitation of a young person in a relationship of dependency or a person with a disability. As well, the courts will be required to consider a victim’s mental or physical disability as an aggravating circumstance when sentencing.
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the abortion law in 1988 because the law was not being consistently applied across the country. But because no regulatory framework around abortion has been created, there are no legal restrictions on abortion in Canada. That sex-selective abortion happens in this country is just one of the appalling results of this legislative void.
The EFC supports Bill C-233, a private member’s bill that would prohibit medical practitioners from performing an abortion knowing that the abortion is solely due to the child’s biological sex. No life should be terminated on the basis of being the “wrong” sex. In a country that prides itself on its commitment to supporting equality between men and women, the notion of sex-selective abortion should be inconceivable and the practice, illegal.
As Christians, we believe that all human beings are created in the image of God and loved by Him. As such, each human life, from conception to natural death, is of immeasurable value. Every person’s life has God-given worth and dignity – independent of physical, mental and emotional capacities, and regardless of age, sex or any other basis. Scripture exhorts us to stand with and provide special care to those who suffer or who are vulnerable.
Will you help us to “defend the rights” of those who are vulnerable (Proverbs 31:8-9)? Will you make a financial gift today in support of the EFC’s work to boldly and clearly proclaim biblical truths to our country’s policy makers as they deliberate on these and other important pieces of legislation this fall?
Please also continue to pray for the lives of all Canadians to be protected. Know that your financial and prayer support are making a difference!