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Tell your Member of Parliament to oppose euthanasia for mental illness

by | Jan 25, 2024

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Canada’s federal Justice Minister, Hon Arif Virani stated in December 2023 that the government is considering “hitting the pause button” on euthanasia for mental illness. Members of Parliament will return from their break next week. 

The government has not stated its intention on the issue but you need to tell your representatives that you oppose euthanasia for mental illness.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) launched a campaign to stop euthanasia for mental illness. 

Join our campaign by ordering parliamentary post-cards (above) that state: I demand that the government reverse its decision to permit “MAiD” for mental illness alone. The cards are ordered for free by contacting EPC at: 1-877-439-3348 or email: office@epcc.ca.

EPC also launched a petition to the Justice Minister and the Justice Critics urging the Canadian government to reverse the decision to permit euthanasia for mental illness and demanding that Canadians with mental illness not be abandoned to death by euthanasia (“MAiD”).

EPC is also sending a copy of Tyler Dunlop’s book: Therefore Choose Life—My Journey from Hopelessness to Hope to every Member of Parliament.

Background

When Canada expanded the euthanasia law in March 2021 (Bill C-7), one of the expansions in the law was to permit euthanasia for mental illness alone. At that time the government decided to approve euthanasia for mental illness but with a two-year moratorium to give the government time to prepare.

Early last year the government delayed the implementation of euthanasia for mental illness for another year. Canada is currently scheduled to permit euthanasia for mental illness on March 17, 2024.

Last year, the Hon Ed Fast sponsored Bill C-314, a bill that would have prohibited the government from permitting euthanasia for mental illness. Bill C-314 was defeated by a vote of 167 to 150 but 8 Liberals, every NDP and every Conservative Member of Parliament supported Bill C-314. This led to the government considering reversing their position on euthanasia for mental illness.

Canadians oppose euthanasia for mental illness.

In February 2023, the Angus Reid Institute published a poll indicating that 31% of Canadians supported euthanasia for mental illness alone, with the highest support being in Quebec (36%) and the lowest support being in Saskatchewan (21%). In September 2023, the Angus Reid Institute conducted another poll which indicated that support for euthanasia for mental illness had dropped to 28% of Canadians.

Globe and Mail editorial

published on November 4, 2023, quoted Dr. K Sonu Gaind, Chief of Psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, who stated that there is “absolutely no consensus” as to what constitutes an irremediable medical condition when it comes to patients with mental illness. The comment by Dr. Gaind is important because the law requires that a person must have an irremediable medical condition to be approved for euthanasia.

The Federal government sponsored a conference on euthanasia for mental illness in October in Victoria BC where it was argued that certain addictions are linked to mental illness and therefore euthanasia for mental illness could include people with addictions.

Similar to people with disabilitiespeople with mental health issues are more likely to live in poverty, to be homeless or to struggle to obtain the medical treatment that they need.

Editor’s note. This appears on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and reposted with permission.

Categories: Euthanasia