On May 12, Francine Lalonde (Bloc, La Pointe-de-l’Île) introduced C-484, a private members bill to legalize euthanasia in Canada. It is the third time that she has introduced such a bill, with two previous attempts in 2005 and 2008 dying on the House floor when an election was called.
Bill C-484 would add an exception to the criminal code, ensuring that doctors will not face criminal prosecution if they help a person die. The minimal conditions it sets on those who can ask a doctor for assistance to kill themselves include the person must be at least 18 years old and who, after being given or refusing treatment, continues to “experience severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief,” or suffers from a terminal illness.
Introducing the bill, Lalonde said: “The time has come for this Parliament to find a way to decriminalize medical assistance in dying, which is of such vital importance to those whose suffering can no longer be relieved except by this ultimate compassion.” She cited three European countries and two U.S. states that legalized euthanasia to argue that there are no concerns about “abuses and the hypothetical slippery slope, has not in any way become reality.”
But Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said that is not true because there have been numerous reports from the Netherlands of people being euthanized against their wishes. Furthermore, there have been numerous cases in the Netherlands and Switzerland of otherwise healthy but momentarily ill or depressed people requesting assistance in killing themselves. Schadenberg says that once the door to euthanasia is open for some, it is opened for all.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition noted at the time that both previous bills were not limited to the direct and intentional killing of terminally ill persons, but was also applicable to people experiencing chronic physical and mental pain. The current bill also makes allowances for euthanasia for physical and mental pain.
Schadenberg told The Interim that if passed the bill would, “Give us the Netherlands overnight.”
He explained that “it is everything in one shot” with no limits on who could be euthanized. Such limits that are written into C-484, Schadenberg said, “are deceptive.”
LifeSiteNews.com reported that Lalonde’s number is 42 in the private members bill order of precedence, meaning that unless an election is called in late Spring or early Fall, it is likely that her bill will receive a vote at second reading.
Schadenberg is concerned that the bill could pass because many MPs don’t understand the issue, the implications of such a law and they are not inclined to look closely at the bill they could vote on.