Alex Schadenberg

Special to The Interim

  1. It removes the requirement that a person’s natural death must be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for death by lethal injection.
  2. It permits a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who is incapable of consenting, if that person was previously approved. This contravenes the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision which stated that only competent people could die by euthanasia.
  3. It waives the 10-day waiting period when a person is deemed to be “terminally ill.”
  4. It creates a two-track law. A person who is deemed to be terminally ill would have no waiting period while a person who is not terminally ill would have a 90-day waiting period. If the bill is passed, a future court decision will likely strike down the 90-day waiting period because it would be argued that this provision represents an inequality in the law.
  5. It falsely claims to prevent euthanasia for people with mental illness. The euthanasia law permits MAiD (medical aid in dying) for people who experience physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and which cannot be relieved in a way they consider acceptable. Mental illness, which is not defined in the law, is considered a form of psychological suffering. If the government wants to exclude euthanasia for mental illness, the bill would need to define psychological suffering in a manner that excludes mental illness.

Alex Schadenberg is executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. This article originally appeared in the November EPC newsletter and is reprinted with permission.