FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Harold Albrecht responds to Bill C-14 Medical Assistance in Dying

April 14th, 2016
Ottawa, Ontario
Office of Harold Albrecht, MP
Harold Albrecht, MP Kitchener-Conestoga

Today the Liberal Government tabled their legislation regarding Physician Assisted Suicide. This legislation is being announced as a result of the Carter decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada last year. It is important to note that while the Government has introduced this legislation today, the Prime Minister when asked in Cambridge said that the Government is willing to make a number of changes to the legislation in the future. This could likely include opening up the door to Canadians with solely psychiatric illnesses, advanced directives, and children.

“Let me first say that I am glad that the Government decided not to follow the recommendations made in the Liberal-dominated Special Joint Committee Report and decided to consider the dissenting report created by myself and other Conservative Members of Parliament. However, this legislation falls short in protecting vulnerable Canadians and as a result I will not support it.
Bill C-14, as it is written, includes dangerously vague language and does not make clear a number of safeguards that should be included in Physician Assisted Suicide legislation. This legislation allows nurses to make end of life decisions, when the committee was told that these are actions that should only be taken by physicians. It does not include clear conscience protections for physicians and other health care workers who object to administering or referring patients for Physician Assisted Suicide. Furthermore it does not create a pre-judicial oversight mechanism that would protect vulnerable Canadians from coercion and physicians from malpractice”
Harold Albrecht, MP

“Without a right to palliative care, Canadians will soon be receiving publicly funded physician assistance to die because it is not available. This will infringe their s. 7 Charter right to life, liberty and the security of their persons and their s. 15 equality rights as Canadians with disabilities and seniors”
David Baker, B.A., LL.B., LL.M., L.S.M., counsel Canadian Association for Community Living, Council of Canadian with Disabilities dbaker@bakerlaw.ca

“The fact that some eligibility criteria are inevitably quite open to interpretation make it problematic that an assessment of competency and informed consent by two physicians is seen as sufficient to ensure compliance. I continue to support a prior review system as reflected in the Vulnerable Person Standard, which is supported by a wide and inclusive coalition of patient and disability advocacy groups, health professional organizations, health care institutions and individuals with a wide variety of ideological and religious affiliations”
Trudo Lemmens (LicJur, LLM bioethics, DCL) Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto