For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 17, 2020
TORONTO, ON – The Federal Government has been granted a further extension to the stay of invalidity in the Truchon decision, giving the government more time to review changes to the medical assistance in dying law before the court decision comes into effect. The Quebec Superior Court’s Truchon decision was not appealed, despite pleas from more than 70 organizations. The Attorney General of Canada has been hesitant to pursue the extension, instead leveraging the court’s deadline to prompt extreme haste in the handling of Bill C-7.
Meanwhile disability rights organizations including Inclusion Canada and a number of constitutional lawyers who presented before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs have noted that the deadline of the Quebec Superior Court should not in any way rush the due diligence of the Canadian Senate, which is currently reviewing the highly discriminatory life and death bill. In the words of Isabel Grant, Archie Kaiser, and Elizabeth Sheehy, “It is a cruel charade to pretend that a trial court decision by a single judge requires an emergency response by federal legislation.”
Upon hearing news of the extension, Inclusion Canada’s President, Robin Acton, commented “Yes, it’s only appropriate that the government has been given more time. This issue isn’t one to be rushed. It appears that many Parliamentarians have yet to truly understand the issue at hand. Our concerns aren’t just about safeguarding people with a disability from coercion or even a premature death. This is about protecting an entire Charter protected group from discrimination and social devaluation, which is the very work of the Charter.”
Bill C-7 has been heavily critiqued for creating a shortcut to an assisted death for people with disabilities who are not dying. Disability rights advocates contend that the bill violates not only the Charter but also the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Bill C-7 directly opposes advice provided by the previous UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilitiesthat “access to MAiD should be restricted to those who are at the end of life; having an impairment should never be a reason for assisted dying to be permitted.”
Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of Inclusion Canada maintains that “Bill C-7 is so clearly unconstitutional. If it is passed as written, I am confident that the law will be challenged. If there’s one thing I know about the disability rights community in Canada, it is that we will not stop defending the equality rights and dignity of people with disabilities in this country. We haven’t stopped before, and we won’t now. But it is shameful that the onus always falls on our shoulders. We are pleading with Parliamentarians to take the time to get this right. And, as it stands, Bill C-7 is not right. If it takes longer to make it so than the time granted by the court, so be it.”
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Media Contact: Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer, Inclusion Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org
Inclusion Canada is a national federation of 13 provincial-territorial associations and over 300 local associations working to advance the full inclusion and human rights of people with an intellectual disability and their families. We lead the way in building an inclusive Canada by strengthening families, defending rights, and transforming communities into places where everyone belongs.