For immediate release from the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada
February 2, 2021
OTTAWA, ON – Experts from the United Nations have released a press statement declaring, “Disability is not a reason to sanction medically assisted dying… Disability should never be a ground or justification to end someone’s life directly or indirectly.”
These experts express “alarm at a growing trend to enact legislation enabling access to medically assisted dying based largely on having a disability or disabling conditions, including in old age… [and] concern at the lack of involvement of people with disabilities, as well their representative organizations, in drafting such legislation.”
ARPA Canada shares these critical concerns.
“The current government of Canada seems intent on expanding access to assisted suicide, particularly for disabled Canadians,” says André Schutten, Director of Law and Policy for ARPA Canada. “One of the main purposes of the government of Canada and the laws of Canada is to fully and equally protect the lives of those who are vulnerable, including those who suffer from disabilities. Many persons with disabilities, the vast majority of disability rights advocates, and organizations across the political spectrum are adamantly opposed to the expansion of medical assistance in dying. Yet every reasonable amendment proposed to Bill C-7 to protect vulnerable Canadians has been shot down.”
Bill C-7: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) seeks to expand the eligibility for MAiD to those whose death is not reasonably foreseeable, including those living with permanent disabilities. If passed, the bill would also permit advanced directives and relax a number of safeguards designed to protect vulnerable people from improperly receiving MAiD.
“Canada is one of the few countries in the world that has legalized assisted suicide,” Schutten continues. “The international community recognizes medical assistance in dying for what it is: a form of suicide resorted to because of poorly-managed suffering. Suicide is not the solution for suffering, regardless of whether this suffering is caused by a disability, a disease, or mental illness. We call upon the government to abandon its attempt to normalize assisted suicide for Canadians with disabilities and instead focus on relieving their suffering and assisting them to live well. Bill C-7 should be withdrawn by the government, or the Senate should vote it down. Euthanasia must not be expanded in Canada.”
The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada has been involved in the national discussion on MAiD for years. ARPA Canada was an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case, a participant in multiple government consultations for Bill C-14 in 2016 and C-7 earlier this year, and a presenter to Parliamentary committees.
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