FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2021
OTTAWA, ON – Bill C-7 which expands medical assistance in dying (MAiD) is headed back to the House of Commons after the Senate passed it with amendments that would extend access to MAiD even further. Three United Nations experts, every major disability rights organization in Canada and numerous medical and legal experts find this bill discriminatory against persons with disabilities and call for its defeat. Inclusion Canada is adamant in its position that MPs must do whatever it takes to stop this bill from becoming law.
The bill removes the clause from current legislation which limited MAiD to those who are at the end of their lives. In doing so, people with disabilities, a protected group under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, have been targeted for assisted dying. The Senate amendments have made a bad situation worse by extending MAiD to those who are suffering on the basis of mental illness and by allowing for advanced directives such that MAiD can be given to someone who is unable to give consent at the time.
“When Bill C-7 passed the House of Commons in December it was already seriously flawed,” said Krista Carr, Executive Vice President of Inclusion Canada, “Now the Senate amendments would expand access to assisted suicide far beyond what the Government had in mind. The Senate has made matters much worse. This bill and these new amendments must be stopped.”
Justice Minister Lametti continues to state incorrectly that the government had to enact Bill C-7 to comply with a lower court decision. This is false. Our government has never jumped in to amend the Criminal Code after the decision of one trial judge in one province. Minister Lametti has repeatedly expressed his concern for those who are suffering and want to end their lives. Where is his support for people with disabilities who are provided the option of suicide instead of ready access to the supports and services they need to live? The Canadian government’s abject failure to provide these resources and willingness to provide MAiD paints a deeply disturbing picture of the Canada healthcare system’s priorities. Canada must support people with disabilities to live with dignity and never provide them with a fast track to death.
Robin Acton, President of Inclusion Canada said, “Bill C-7 is fundamentally flawed and a threat to the lives of Canadians with disabilities. The government has decided to focus on providing an easier path to death when what is needed is a path to a meaningful life.”
The disability community calls on all members of Parliament to kill this dangerous bill, to stop the Senate amendments, and to fight for better lives for people with disabilities.
MEDIA CONTACT: Marc Muschler, Senior Communications Officer, Inclusion Canada. Ph: 416-661-9611 ext. 232 or Email: 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.