Canadian Senate sends Bill C-14 back to parliament with amendments, the worst parts of the bill remain intact

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Canada's Senate passed Bill C-14, with its amendments, by a 64 to 12 vote, and therefore sent the bill back to parliament for acceptance or amendments.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition argues that Bill C-14 must be amended or defeated.

Bill C-14 will now go back to parliament where they will either accept the Senate amendments or send the bill back to the Senate. 

The Senate made seven amendments to Bill C-14. The only amendment to receive media attention is the amendment that replaces that a person's "death must be reasonably foreseeable" with a person having a "grievous and irremediable medical condition and after the condition has begun to cause enduring suffering that is intolerable to the person"

CBC news reported that the six other amendments are:

1. requiring a person to give informed consent to receive MAiD after having had a palliative care consultation, and after having been informed of treatment, technology and support options available to relieve suffering.2. a provision that prohibits a beneficiary from assisting a persons assisted death or signing the request for assisted death.3. require the federal minister of health to make regulations on the provision and collection of information for the purpose of monitoring MAiD and on the use and disposal of that information, and the information on death certificates.4. requiring a two-year deadline for independent reports on assisted dying.5. An amendment to the language of the bill to make the French and English versions consistent.6. An amendment to fix a drafting error in the bill.

The amendment that prohibits beneficiaries from assisting a death underscores the most grievous problems with Bill C-14, that being the lack of effective oversight of the law and the fact that the bill enables anyone to participate in acts of euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The most grievous sections of the bill have not been amended:

1. Bill C-14 allows anyone to cause death by euthanasia or assisted suicide. 

• Bill C-14 - Section 227(2) states: No person is a party to culpable homicide if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2. 
• Bill C-14 - Section 241(3) states: No person is a party to an offence under paragraph (1)(b) if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2. 
• Bill C-14 - Section 241(5) states: No person commits an offence under paragraph (1)‍(b) if they do anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.‍2.

No jurisdiction in the world offers legal immunity to anyone who does anything for the purposes of assisted dying. These sections must be struck from the bill.

2. Bill C-14 continues to provide medical practitioners or nurse practitioners total immunity for decisions or acts that contravene Bill C-14.

• Section 241.3 states: Before a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner provides a person with medical assistance in dying, the medical or nurse practitioner must: (a) be of the opinion that the person meets all of the criteria set out in subsection (1); 
• Section 227(3) states: For greater certainty, the exemption set out in subsection (1) or (2) applies even if the person invoking it has a reasonable but mistaken belief about any fact that is an element of the exemption.

I cannot understand why people remain so blind about the implications of the language of the bill. Bill C-14 remains the most wide-open bill in the world. It is even worse than the Belgian law. 

Recent studies from Belgium indicate that more than 1000 assisted deaths occur without request each year.

Bill C-14 must be amended or defeated.

Belgian Psychiatric euthanasia request based on sexual attraction

Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sébastien

Sébastien

BBC News has reported that a Belgium man, known as Sébastien, is seeking euthanasia based on psychological suffering in order to end his struggle with his sexual attractions.

The BBC article by Jonathon Blake explains that in Belgium, euthanasia for psychological suffering requires three doctors to approve the act (one of the doctors should be a psychiatrist), The law says that they must be suffering incurable, constant and unbearable physical or psychological suffering. The article states:

Sébastien has undergone 17 years of therapy, counselling and medication and believes he has no other option. 
He claims to be attracted to young men and adolescent boys and is scarred from a difficult childhood; his mother was ill and there was a strict Catholic ethos. 
"My whole life has led me to this, really," 
"I have always thought about death. Looking back on my earliest memories, it's always been in my thoughts. It's a permanent suffering, like being a prisoner in my own body," 
"A constant sense of shame, feeling tired, being attracted to people you shouldn't be attracted to - as though everything were the opposite of what I would have wanted."

The article examines differing views on psychiatric euthanasia. Psychiatrist Caroline Depuydt, who works at a psychiatric hospital in Brussels, encourages her patients to try further treatment.

We always have something that could work. Time, medication, psychotherapy - something that we must try and keep going with that. And the psychiatrist must give hope to the patient that it's never finished,

Gilles Genicot, a lecturer in medical law at the University of Liege, and a member of the euthanasia review committee says that you can never rule out the option of euthanasia.

Sébastien's case does not fulfil the legal criteria for euthanasia. 
It's more likely he has psychological problems relating to his sexuality. I cannot find a trace of actual psychic illness here. 
But what you cannot do is purely rule out the option of euthanasia for such patients.
They can fall within the scope of the law once every reasonable treatment has been tried unsuccessfully and three doctors come to the conclusion that no other option remains. 
Sébastien's request for euthanasia has been accepted initially, he now faces further assessments to determine whether his case fits within the law.

When asked whether he would change his mind, Sébastien states:

"If someone could give me some kind of miracle cure, why not? But for now, I really don't believe it any more. And I'm too exhausted also, whatever may be out there." 
Although he is calm - almost matter of fact - about wanting to end his life deliberately, he acknowledges the effect this will have on the people around him. 
"The hardest thing now is telling my family. If I get a yes, that's what's going to be most delicate."

Belgian Psychiatrist, Lieve Thienpont, published a study, last year, on the first 100 requests she received for euthanasia for psychiatric reasons. The data states:

  • 77 euthanasia requests were made by woman, 23 were men,
  • of the 48 approved requests, 35 died by euthanasia, 
  • 1 died by palliative sedation (sedation with withdrawal of water),
  • the average age was 47,
  • 58 were depressed, 50 had a personality disorder,
  • 12 were autistic, 13 had post traumatic stress disorder, 11 had anxiety disorder, 10 had an eating disorder, etc.

Last year, there were 2021 reported euthanasia deaths in Belgium. Recent studies indicate that more than 40% of the euthanasia deaths are not reported.

Garnet Genuis MP: Without amendments, euthanasia Bill C-14 "will protect no one."

Garnett Genuis is the Member of Parliament from Sherwood Park / ­Fort Saskatchewan.

Garnet Genuis   

Garnet Genuis

 

I want to be clear that I do not believe in an all-or-nothing approach. Many of my colleagues and I who have broad philosophical concerns about what is happening here are still willing to vote in favour of legislation that does not re-criminalize euthanasia, if it advances positively in the direction of saving some lives, especially minimizing the risk to vulnerable persons. However, this legislation does not contain meaningful safeguards. Without amendment, it will protect no one.

We know that this law has written exceptions. However, it has exceptions to the exceptions; and may I say it has exceptions to the exceptions that are not at all exceptional?

This legislation has a requirement for the provision of written consent. However, if people cannot provide written consent, someone else can do it on their behalf.

This legislation prescribes a waiting period. However, the waiting period does not apply in the event of possible imminent death or loss of capacity.

There is so much ambiguity here.

The government has said that mental illness is excluded. However, in section 241.2(2) the legislation clearly states that physical or psychological suffering qualifies a person to seek premature death.

The legislation says that death must be “reasonably foreseeable”. May I say that death is reasonably foreseeable for all of us? It is those who think that death is not reasonably foreseeable who probably need the medical attention. Why not put in the word “terminal”? When I was learning to drive, my mother thought that death was “reasonably foreseeable” every time we got into the car. That is no criterion.

There is a requirement that two physicians sign off. However, given the huge ambiguities, obviously doctors are likely to have a wide range of interpretations of the rules. The estimates are that there are 77,000 physicians in this country, and the likely practice of doctor-shopping will ensure that people who think they meet the wooly and ambiguous criteria can somewhere find two physicians.

The member for Victoria said earlier today that this is something doctors do every day. No, it is not. Doctors do not take lives every day. This is fundamentally different from the normal practice of medicine. When we have so many different doctors and opinions to choose from, these are not effective safeguards.

Given these five comically ridiculous exceptions to the exceptions, there is no doubt that detailed provincial legislation or regulation will be required in every case. Therefore, it is not at all clear to me what this law is supposed to accomplish.

Further, there are two key areas where the prevailing rules under this law would leave us demonstrably worse off than the Carter ruling alone.

First, there is a terrifying clause in this bill, which states that if someone kills someone else but can demonstrate, at least beyond a reasonable doubt, that he or she had a reasonable but mistaken belief that the criteria applied then that person cannot be penalized. We can find that at 241(6). Therefore, we can kill someone who did not consent and escape prosecution on the basis of reasonable but mistaken belief. Whatever is done, I implore the government to take this very dangerous section out. This is going even beyond the Belgian model.

Second, this legislation provides no protection for conscience rights, despite the court's clear statement that nothing in this decision required particular health care practitioners to be involved, and despite the clear assurance of the Canadian Medical Association that access does not require taking away section 2 conscience rights.

This legislation constitutes a perfect storm. Ambiguous criteria, no advance legal review, no conscience protection, and allowances for doctor-shopping are not meaningful safeguards at all. The bill leaves patients, seniors, the sick, and the disabled vulnerable to error and systemic abuse. We have seen this in Belgium before. I have quoted the studies during questions and comments. We do not want to go down this road in Canada at all. . . .

This article was published by Choice is an Illusion on May 2, 2016.

Belgium Warns Canada: Oversight of euthanasia is an Illusion

New Online Video Series: "Belgium's Advice to Canada."

Oversight of euthanasia is an Illusion.

Many doctors in Belgium no longer report cases of euthanasia because euthanasia is now considered a ‘normal medical procedure'. In this, our fourth and final video in "Belgium’s Advice to Canada:Oversight of euthanasia is an illusion", doctors, victims and advocates warn that effective oversight of euthanasia in Belgium is truly an illusion. The video features Etienne Montero, Lawyer Dean of the Faculty of Law of Namur; Tom Mortier, PhD; Prof Dr Benoit Beuselinck MD, PhD, Oncologist; and Marnix Coelmont, Teacher and Advocate. 

As Canadians deliberate controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 deadline, EPC is releasing select clips from our upcoming film, Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception, to be released in late June.

Please consider making a donation to the production of this film. We need and appreciate your support of any amount. Link to donate.

The first three videos in the series were:
The first video in the series is: “Medical Assistance in Dying - Don’t Go There!
The second video in the series is: Safeguards Are An Illusion.

The third video in the series is: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights!

https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/

Belgium's Advice to Canada: Protect Doctor's Conscience Rights!

New Online Video Series: "Belgium's Advice to Canada."

Protect Doctor's Conscience Rights!

The first two videos in the series were released last week.
The first video in the series was: “Medical Assistance in Dying - Don’t Go There!
The second video in the series was: Safeguards Are An Illusion.

Today EPC is releasing the third video in the series Belgium’s Advice to Canada titled: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights!” Two doctors from Belgium discuss the contentious issue of conscience rights in their country since the law on euthanasia was passed 15 years ago. The online video features Prof Dr Benoit Beuselinck MD, PhD, Oncologist, Belgium; Catherine Dopchie, MD, Oncologist, Belgium; and Marnix Coelmont, Teacher, Advocate.

As Canadians deliberate on the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 imposed deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” - select clips from our upcoming film, Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception, coming June 2016.

Please consider making a donation to the production of this film. We need and appreciate your support of any amount. Link to donate.

The final video in the series will be released on Thurday, May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada.

https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/ 

Belgium's Advice to Canada: "Safeguards Are An Illusion"

The first video in the series: “Medical Assistance in Dying - Don’t Go There! was released two days ago.

As Canadians debate the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 Supreme Court imposed legislation deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” from selected clips from our upcoming documentary film, Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception

In January 2016, a film crew went to Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. Victims and advocates offer a stern warning to Canada and any country considering enacting laws that allow assisted death. 

The first video in the series was: “Medical Assistance in Dying" - Don’t Go There!.

The second video in the series is: Safeguards Are An Illusion.
Link: http://www.vulnerablefilm.com/advice-from-belgium.html.

Vulnerable – The Euthanasia Deception is produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in association with DunnMedia & Entertainment

Upcoming Videos:
May 3: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada

EPC needs your financial support to complete this most important documentary film. Donate here.

www.vulnerablefilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/

Link to the promo video: Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception.

Link to the short video: Mark Pickup - The problem with assisted suicide.

Testimonies from the upcoming film Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception

As Canadians debate the controversial Bill C-14 in light of the June 6 Supreme Court imposed legislation deadline, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is releasing four short videos entitled: “Belgium’s Advice to Canada” from selected clips from our upcoming documentary film, Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception

In January 2016, a film crew went to Belgium, where euthanasia has been legal since 2002. Victims and advocates offer a stern warning to Canada- and any country considering enacting laws that allow assisted death. 

The first video in the series is “Medical Assistance in Dying - Don’t Go There!
Link: http://www.vulnerablefilm.com/advice-from-belgium.html.

Vulnerable – The Euthanasia Deception is produced by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition  (EPC) in association with DunnMedia & Entertainment. 

Upcoming Videos:
April 28: “Safeguards are an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 3: “Protect Doctor’s Conscience Rights” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada
May 5: “Oversight is an Illusion” - Belgium’s Advice to Canada

EPC needs your financial donations to complete this most important documentary film. Donate here.

www.vulnerablefilm.com
https://www.facebook.com/vulnerablefilm/

Link to the promo video: Vulnerable - The Euthanasia Deception.

Link to the short video: Mark Pickup - The problem with assisted suicide.