People with disabilities oppose Bill C-7 expansion of euthanasia in Canada

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Roger Foley

The Parliamentary Committee on Justice and Human Rights had its third hearing on Bill C-7, the bill to expand Canada’s euthanasia law, on November 10. Tuesday’s hearing heard testimony from several advocates and people with disabilities concerning the effect of Bill C-7 upon their community

Kathleen Harris, reporting for CBC news, stated that people with disabilities are warning that Bill C-7, which expands access to MAiD (euthanasia) devalues the lives of vulnerable people. Roger Foley, who was offered MAiD rather than self-directed home-care. 

Harris reports:

Speaking to MPs on the justice committee via Zoom from his hospital bed in London, Ont., Roger Foley pleaded with policymakers to focus on providing more assistance and home care to Canadians with disabilities. He said he has been denied proper care and was “coerced” into choosing MAID because his acute care needs were too much for hospital staff to handle.

Foley, who suffers from an incurable neurological disorder, said he was told he would have to pay $1,800 per day in hospital costs or face a forced discharge, even though he couldn’t get the necessary supports to live at home.

“Assisted dying is easier to access than safe and appropriate disability supports to live.,”

Harris reported that Krista Carr, the executive vice-president of Inclusion Canada, fears that state provided suicide will become an acceptable response to disability.

…She said the community of Canadians with disabilities and their families have long feared that having a disability would become an acceptable reason for “state-provided suicide.”

“Bill C-7 is our worst nightmare,” she said, adding that equating assisted death to an equality right is a “moral affront.”

Carr said family members worry their loved ones will choose MAID to end their suffering because they feel they have no choice. She said that situation would relieve political leaders of their responsibility to provide adequate medical care, housing and income supports.

“The lives of people with disabilities are as necessary to the integrity of the human family as any other dimension of humanity, and this threat to the lives of people with disabilities is a threat to us all.”

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition encourages you to submit a brief to the Committee explaining your concerns with the bill. Please share personal stories in your brief. 

Editor’s note. This is excerpted from a post on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.