A Bill intended to change the Criminal Code and allow physicians to kill their patients passed its first reading in the House of Commons, June 19, 1991. The Bill C-261, is the brainchild of the NDP member for Saskatoon-Clark’s Crossing, Chris Axworthy.
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Certain steps are required before a doctor inserts the needle and injects the poison.
The person must apply for a “euthanasia certificate.” There is a prescribed form for him which states that he has been told by two doctors (one a specialist) that he is suffering from an incurable illness, disease or impairment. This form, duly witnessed and accompanied by two others from the physicians, will go to a “referee in euthanasia” (who is appointed by the Attorney General). The referee must interview the applicant and, if satisfied, issue certificates to the applicant and the physician. The certificate lapses after three months. (Not stated in the bill is the fact there will be anew bureaucracy for euthanasia).
According to the terms of the Bill, if euthanasia (i.e., killing) is “performed with reasonable skill and care,” the physician and his assistant will be protected from criminal liability. The ‘privilege’ of killing is reserved to the doctor.
It is important to note that a person does not have to be ill to apply for euthanasia. “Impaired” is a widely-encompassing term, from needing glasses or hearing aids to loss of limbs, etc. Most of us will be impaired to some extent if we live long enough. Moreover, many people with “incurable” conditions (at least for today’s knowledge) such as diabetes, epilepsy or hemophilia live happy, productive and virtually normal lives with the aid of modern medicine.
Over the centuries the medical profession has created a realm of trust between the doctor and his patient. Bill C-261, with its plans for killer physicians, would replace that trust with the kind of fear – even terror – of doctors and hospitals that now prevails in Holland.