By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The Globe and Mail editorial from November 4 urges the federal government of Canada to withdraw the expansion of euthanasia for mental illness.
The editorial comments on the 2022 Health Canada euthanasia report indicated that 13,241 people reportedly died by euthanasia in Canada, with Quebec having the highest euthanasia report in the world. The editorial quotes Quebec officials who are concerned that euthanasia is no longer a “last resort.”
The editorial quotes Dr. K Sonu Gaind, Chief of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, who consistently states that there is “absolutely no consensus” as to what constitutes an irremediable medical condition when it comes to patients with mental illness. This is important because the law requires that a person only be approved for euthanasia if they have an irremediable medical condition.
The editorial states:
However, Canada’s framework for approving a medically assisted death for someone suffering from a mental illness does not require that a trained psychiatrist make an evaluation. Instead, doctors (with some expertise) are expected to make a case-by-case determination. even when those with decades of experience are flummoxed.
A delay until March is not enough; Ottawa needs to withdraw its amendments that include mental illness in the law for MAiD. There are too many uncertainties, most crucially the inability to determine who is suffering from a truly irremediable mental disease and who will recover given enough time, treatment, and hope.
Editor’s note. This appears on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and reposted with permission.