In our previous blog post, we outlined troubling recommendations in a Parliamentary committee’s recommendations for Physician-Assisted Dying legislation. As many of you will have heard, the government tabled its proposed legislation, Bill C-14, in Parliament on April 14th .
Bill C-14 avoided the worst of the recommendations in the previous committee’s report (e.g. availability to minors and those with mental health conditions), but has significant shortcomings, such as a total lack of conscience protections for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who cannot be involved for reasons of conscience, and no requirement for a patient to receive a palliative care or psychiatric evaluation before receiving assisted death.
Bill C-14 is now before the Parliamentary standing committee on Justice which is conducting public hearings the week of May 2 and then considering amendments to the bill before sending it back to Parliament for a vote. There is significant pressure being brought to bear on MP’s to pass amendments in committee to loosen the eligibility restrictions and safeguards in C-14 to make assisted death more widely available.
The national office of our family of churches has put together this Urgent Action page to provide us with tools to help us quickly contact our MP’s to support amendments adding conscience protections to C-14, and holding the line on important restrictions to protect the vulnerable. Also available is this online tool offered by a health care conscience alliance enabling you to write directly to the Minister of Justice specifically regarding conscience protections. Given the June 6th deadline for the legislation to be passed, the committee’s work will be quick, so now is the time to contact your MP if you have not done so already.
Anyone with questions is welcome to contact Redemption’s own Geoffrey Trotter.