(Lighthouse News – July 3, 2018) Two years have gone by since the passage of Bill C-14, the law that legalized euthanasia in Canada. Peter Stockland, the publisher of the Cardus Foundation’s “Convivium” magazine, marked the anniversary with an in-depth article on how the law has evolved since it was first implemented. He says it’s clear that the rules around Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) continue to be relaxed, as evidenced by some new statistics that came out just last week. “There was a 30-percent increase in the number of medically assisted deaths in the last half of 2017 from the first half.”
But he says what’s particularly interesting is that the Health Canada report on those numbers also looks at why 10% of the requests for MAiD were denied. “90% of requests for medically assisted death have been granted, and Health Canada wants to know why the 10% weren’t granted, and that’s a complete reversal of what the regime was supposed to be. The regime was supposed to be a series of safeguards in which you had to demonstrate that you were eligible (for MAiD), but now it’s been completely turned around. It’s totally upside down.”
Stockland says it’s hard to know if the move to relaxing the eligibility rules for MAiD was a deliberate intent when Bill C-14 was written, but it is clear that the political climate surrounding the drafting of the bill was not favourable toward those seeking to restrict access. He says the government put together a law that they thought would “at least appear to be a compromise, but it wasn’t. In the committee hearings that preceded the bill, it was obvious that the bill had been drafted in such a way that it would placate the voices (asking for more access to euthanasia), because they were just going to keep doing it anyway; people against medically assisted death had lost, and nothing (was) going to stop it.”
Stockland says there is a faint glimmer of hope that the trend can still be reversed, but that would require concerted action on specific cases of euthanasia which are in violation of the original Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Carter case. “The law is subject to review in 2021, (and) what some people I’ve talked to have said is that there’s a practice that’s going on here that totally disregards even the limited safeguards that are in place. And once those take hold without any kind of prosecution – without any kind of investigation – it becomes almost impossible to rewrite the law.” He says people who are concerned about this need to “turn their attention to saying ‘why is there not a legal investigation going on’ in specific cases that violate the safeguards that were originally put in place.’”
You can listen to the full Lighthouse News broadcast here.