Proposed legislation attacks vulnerable Canadians who need to be protected
Analysis by Alex Schadenberg
The Interim

On June 15, MP Francine Lalonde (Bloc Québécois – La Pointe-de-l’Île) introduced Bill C-407, an act to amend the Criminal Code for the right to “die with dignity.”

This bill would amend Sections 222 and 241 of the Criminal Code. Section 222 of concerns homicide. The prohibition on euthanasia in Canada is found in Section 222. The prohibition on assisted suicide in Canada is found in Section 241.

Bill C-407 leaves the current wording in the Criminal Code unchanged, but adds a new subsection, (7), to Section 222 on homicide and a new subsection, (2), to Section 241. These new subsections to state that the Criminal Code is not in effect under circumstances defined in the bill.

Bill C-407 legalizes both euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is not about allowing a “death with dignity;” in fact, it legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people suffering chronic physical and mental pain.

Bill C-407 does not require that a person at least try effective treatments for any chronic physical or mental pain. It states that a person qualifies for euthanasia even if he has refused to try effective treatments.

The bill is also not about “death with dignity” for competent people. It legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who “appear to be lucid.” What does that mean?

Bill C-407 is not about “physician aid in dying.” It allows anyone to euthanize, or assist in the suicide of, anyone, as long as they are “assisted by a medical practitioner,” and act in the way indicated by the person who asks to die.