Canada’s Indigenous community leaders oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Francois Paulette

Francois Paulette

Last week Jorge Barrera from APTN News reported that Robert Falcon Ouellette, the Liberal MP from Winnipeg Centre, said that he will vote against Bill C-14, the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.

According to the APTN News report:

Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to 10 years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society.

“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat”

“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult,”

“I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”

Robert Falcon Ouellette (Liberal MP)

Robert Falcon Ouellette (Liberal MP)

CBC reporter, Sonja Koenig reported that Canada’s Indigenous community is concerned about legislation that legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide. Bill C-14 was introduced in the House of Commons on April 14.

“”We don’t play God,” said Francois Paulette is the chair of Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Health Authority Elders’ Advisory Council. “God is responsible for bringing us into this world, and taking our life. It is pretty straightforward.”

According to the Koenig story Indigenous leaders have not been consulted. Dr. Alika Lafontaine, the president of the Indigenous Physicians Association said,

[S]o far, there’s been no meaningful consultation with Indigenous groups.

Lafontaine says even though the new legislation has been tabled [introduced] , it isn’t too late.

“Even if these regulations are written up, there is still an opportunity to create our own in-house solutions when it comes to medically-assisted dying in our communities.”

Paulette spoke to the issue at a Dene leadership meeting Wednesday in Yellowknife.

Canada’s Indigenous communities need to organize in opposition to assisted dying before Bill C-14 becomes law.

Editor’s note. This appeared on the webpage of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.