Canada’s House of Commons passes Bill C-7 – permitting euthanasia for mental illness

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On March 11, the Liberal government, with the support of the Bloc Quebecois (BQ), forced a shut-down of debate on Bill C-7, Canada’s euthanasia expansion bill.  It then passed Bill C-7, with the Senate amendment approving euthanasia for mental illness alone, once again with support from the BQ. But because the House of Commons did not pass all the Senate amendments, the bill goes back to the Senate.

BACKGROUND 

Bill C-7 was introduced in February 2020 as the government’s response to the Quebec Superior Court’s “Truchon” decision. The Truchon decision struck down the part of the law requiring that a person’s natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” before they could be killed by euthanasia. 

The government not only did not appeal the Truchon decision, Bill C-7 goes much further than Truchon required.

Parliament went on to passt Bill C-7 in December 2020. Bill C-7 then went to the Senate for further study and a vote.

The Senate amended Bill C-7 to clearly allow euthanasia for people with mental illness alone and for incompetent people who asked for death by lethal injection in their advanced directive.

The Senate amendments to Bill C-7 came back to the House of Commons  where Justice Minister David Lametti decided to reject the amendment approving euthanasia for incompetent people who asked for it in their advanced directive. However he approved euthanasia for mental illness alone with the caveat that the latter be stayed for 24 months to give the government time to develop protocols.

But there is good news.

Incredible numbers of Canadians woke up to the reality of what euthanasia for mental illness alone would mean for Canada. More than 53,000 people signed our petition opposing Bill C-7 and more than 18,000 people signed our petition opposing euthanasia for mental illness.

Almost universally, people with disabilities recognized that Bill C-7, directly affects them.

Many medical professionals responded to Bill C-7, especially since the law is out-of-control without even providing them with effective conscience protections.

The battle is not over.

Many people have contacted me feeling tired and down. They cannot believe that Canada’s government would permit euthanasia for people with mental illness alone. I also feel tired, but never down.

The fact is that the Liberal government, the BQ and the euthanasia lobby have clearly told Canadians where they stand. 

They are not concerned about the lives of people with disabilities or those who live with chronic conditions. 

They are not concerned about people who struggle with mental illness or other psychological conditions. 

They are not concerned about people who are at a vulnerable time of their life. 

They are not concerned about honesty and transparency.

More and more our message is accepting the challenge of caring for our family, friends and neighbours. Protecting the equality and life of people with disabilities and other chronic conditions is about recognizing that we live in solidarity with others.

Caring for and protecting others is based upon recognizing that each human being has equality which  cannot only be recognized by words but by actions.

Death is truly dignified when it is shared with those who care about that person until their natural death.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.