A Bloc Quebecois MP’s Private Members’ Bill, C-384, on the right to die with dignity, is frighteningly naïve, and should not be supported.

The proposed legislation would amend the Criminal Code to allow a medical practitio-ner to aid a person who is experiencing severe physical or mental pain, or is suffering from a terminal illness, to die with dignity once the person has given his or her consent to die.

It sounds noble: ending pain and suffering and supposedly giving the right of a person to decide themselves to die with dig-nity. The reality is, once society starts deciding who is to live and who is to die, compassionate reasons can readily be replaced with criminal greed. Such poorly defined euthanasia legislation (how do you define mental pain?) is an assault on the elderly, sick and infirm who have entrusted decision making to others for their compassionate care. In fact the bill will make the elderly even more of a target by the greedy, impatient opportunists, some of whom are their very own children.

Shamefully, elder abuse, physical, mental and financial is a rapidly growing concern in Canada. Were this legislation to pass, it is not difficult to imagine the death of elderly Canadians who otherwise would have no desire for premature death – but whose close family members made the decision to encourage an early inheritance.

Many elderly people, on medications or not, have difficulty deciding on issues, have times of depression and are susceptible to being influenced by others. This poorly worded legislation does not take into account the subtle and not so subtle abusive coercion that could cause a proud senior to ask for euthanasia as an escape from the abuse rather than face the shame of reporting close family members’ abuses.

I think C-384 is an evil piece of legislation that must be defeated. We need better, stronger laws to protect the elderly, not laws that put the elderly at greater risk. I will be voting to defeat this bill and I encourage others to do so too.

Peter Goldring is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Edmonton West.