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Bill C-314 is defeated. Parliament is divided on euthanasia for mental illness.

by | Oct 19, 2023

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Bill C-314, the Mental Health Protection Act that was sponsored by the Hon Ed Fast (CPC), was defeated by a vote of 167 to 150 at second reading in parliament on Wednesday October 18.

The vote on Bill C-314 indicated that Canada’s Parliament is divided on the issue of euthanasia for mental illness. 

  • Every Conservative (CPC) MP voted YES to C-314. 
  • Every NDP MP voted YES to C-314.
  • Both Green MP’s voted YES to C-314
  • 8 Liberal MP’s voted YES to C-314 
  • 1 Independent MP voted YES to C-314

Sadly most Liberal MP’s voted NO to C-314.

The good news is that even though the Liberals pressured their MP’s to oppose Bill C-314, eight Liberal MP’s still voted YES. 

Thank you to Hon. Ed Fast for sponsoring Bill C-314 and for his professional campaign in support of the bill. Thank you to all of the Conservative MP’s, to all of the NDP MP’s, to the courageous Liberal MP’s and the others who supported Bill C-314.

Background

On March 17, 2021 Parliament passed Bill C-7 which expanded Canada’s euthanasia law by: 

  • removing the “terminal illness” requirement, 
  • removing the 10-day reflection period when someone is deemed to be “terminally ill”, 
  • adding a 90-day waiting period for someone who is approved for euthanasia but not “terminally ill”,
  • permitting euthanasia for someone who is incompetent but previously approved for euthanasia,
  • permitting euthanasia for someone with mental illness alone (with a temporary moratorium). Euthanasia for mental illness alone will become officially legal on March 17, 2024.

Bill C-314 would have protected people who are living with mental illness from medical assistance in dying (MAiD). The latest Angus Reid Institute survey indicated that only 28% of Canadians support euthanasia for mental illness while 82% of Canadians stated that mental health care should be improved before euthanasia for mental illness is considered. 

Many groups supported Bill C-314 including the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and the Society of Canadian Psychiatry.

Anike Morrison, who lives with a severe mental health condition, stated at the EPC Press Conference that in 2018 she fell into such a deep depression that she was hospitalized 5 times. She said that if MAiD had been presented as an option to her at that time as a solution to her emotional pain and distress.

I may not be here today. It was a very rough time. It     was only through the care of the psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists and social workers that I was able to get better and move through that time in my life.

Anike has completed her undergraduate degree, has travelled, and most importantly she loves her life. She is on the “other” side of that dark period.

This is not a “settled” issue. We will not be silent in the face of killing.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Mr. Schaderberg’s blog and is reposted.

Categories: Canada