Monday, February 24, 2020
Canadian Government MAiD bill may permit euthanasia of incompetent people.
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
On February 24, Canada’s federal government introduced Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying). Bill C-7 is the federal government’s response to the Quebec Court decision that struck down the section of Canada’s euthanasia law requiring that “natural death be reasonably foreseeable” before qualifying for death by euthanasia (lethal injection).
I reported that the Quebec court expanded Canada’s euthanasia law by eliminating the requirement that only terminally ill people could be killed by lethal injection.
The court decision expanded euthanasia to people with psychological conditions. Canada’s euthanasia law states that a person qualifies for euthanasia if:
the illness, disease or disability or that state of decline causes them enduring physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable
A person didn’t qualify for euthanasia based on psychological reasons alone since the law required that a person’s “natural death be reasonably foreseeable” but since the Quebec court struck down this requirement, the law now permits euthanasia for psychological reasons.
Bill C-7 pretends to prevent euthanasia for psychological suffering. Section (2.1) states:
For the purposes of paragraph (2)(a), a mental illness is not considered to be an illness, disease or disability.
This paragraph does not prevent euthanasia for psychological reasons since the law states that the person must be experiencing physical or psychological suffering.
Bill C-7 creates a two track law where a person who is not terminally ill has a 90 day waiting period while Bill C-7 waves the 10 day waiting period for people who are terminally ill. Therefore a person can request and then die by lethal injection on the same day.
The government is wrong to create a two tier euthanasia law. A future court decision will likely strike down the 90 day waiting period for people who are not terminally ill because this provision represents an inequality within the law.
Bill C-7 allows a person’s healthcare provider or care provider to be one of the witnesses. This is a conflict of interest.
Finally, Bill C-7 allows doctors and nurse practitioners to lethally inject an incompetent person, (advanced request) so long as that person consented to death by lethal injection before becoming incompetent.
This amendment to the law contravenes the Carter decision which required that a person be capable of consenting to die.
The goal of the euthanasia lobby was to amend the law to allow “advanced consent” for euthanasia. Canada’s Liberal government appears to be working closely with the euthanasia lobby.
By eliminating the 10 day waiting period, a terminally ill person can request euthanasia and die by euthanasia on the same day. Studies show that the “Will to Live” fluctuates over time.
The government should wait before amending the law. In June 2020, the government will begin its consultation on 5 years of euthanasia in Canada.
Used with permision of the EPC.