Euthanasia Prevention Coalition shunned by committee

Alex Schadenberg

Alex Schadenberg

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, the largest international anti-euthanasia group, was refused a request to provide an oral presentation to the Liberal-dominated Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs at Queen’s Park.

The committee is studying Bill 84, which will govern the implementation of doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia in Ontario after the federal government legalized the practices last Spring.

The committee held two days of public hearings on Bill 84, but chose not to hear from the EPC.

Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said, “The question is why didn’t they want to hear me?” EPC lobbies against euthanasia and assisted-suicide and intervenes in court cases that challenged Canada’s erstwhile Criminal Code prohibition against the practices.

Schadenberg said, “Don’t you think it’s funny that the group that is the leading group that is opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide has not been given the privilege even of presenting to the committee? Don’t you think it’s a little weird, maybe?”

He told LifeSiteNews the EPC would have warned the law did not provide any oversight of euthanasia and assisted-suicide and provided no protection for vulnerable people. The EPC submitted a written brief making these points. In it, they warned the self-reporting system is insufficient oversight considering that the practices it regulates involve the taking of human life.

Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews the EPC was in a “funny situation” because on the one hand it opposes euthanasia and assisted-suicide but on the other the organization was making suggestions on how to improve the bill to ensure better oversight by separating the killing doctors from decision-making authority. He said he believes it’s “morally neutral” at this point “to suggest that at least allow third party intervention” as an attempt to minimize abuse.

The NDP and Progressive Conservatives sought to extend public hearings by one day, but the Liberal majority (six of nine members) was opposed, calling it a delaying tactic. Kyle Richardson, press secretary for Government House Leader Yasir Naqvi, said the Liberals on the committee extended hearings for one hour on the second day. There were 25 slots for speaker and 51 individuals and groups vying for the spots.

At an earlier session, the Coalition of Health Care and Conscience, through Toronto Catholic Archbishop Thomas Collins, urged the government to include conscience protection for healthcare workers.

The standing committee began clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 84 on April 11, where it considered amendments to the bill submitted by MPPs. A conscience rights amendment submitted by PC health critic Jeff Yurek was defeated when the Liberal majority voted against it and the NDP member abstained.