Email Your MP: Voice Your Choice against unfair assisted dying legislation
Updated May 16, 2016: It has come to this. Bill C-14 is set to go to a free vote in the House of Commons this week after coming back from the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Very few amendments have been made to the legislation since it was tabled in mid-April, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assurances that his government was open to improving their bill.
As it stands, Dying With Dignity Canada cannot in good conscience support Bill C-14 because it does not comply with the Supreme Court’s decision in Carter v. Canada and it threatens to violate the Charter. If passed in its current form, the proposed law will restrict rightful access to assisted dying in the following ways:
- The clause in Bill C-14 limiting assisted death to Canadians whose “natural death is reasonably foreseeable” will deny access to assisted dying to all but the terminally ill. It risks violating the rights of Canadians with advanced degenerative illnesses like ALS who are suffering intolerably but whose deaths aren’t necessarily imminent. This is far narrower in scope than the Supreme Court’s decision in Carter v. Canada and likely violates Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- The bill effectively discriminates against individuals based on their diagnoses and excludes those individuals from accessing their right to die with the help of a doctor. Without the option to make advance requests for assisted dying, Canadians with dementia, or other degenerative illnesses that rob patients of their competence, will be effectively excluded from access. This is completely unacceptable and goes against the spirit of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on physician-assisted dying.
In the opinion of Dying With Dignity Canada, no new law is far better than this bad legislation. There will be no legal void if a federal law isn’t passed by June 6, when the Supreme Court’s decision comes into effect. Rather, the Carter ruling carves into the Criminal Code strict but fair eligibility criteria for who can access physician-assisted dying. In addition, provincial regulations that are already in place are adequate to ensure that vulnerable Canadians are shielded from abuse.
What you can do
Help defend the rights of desperately ill Canadians whose choice will be at risk if Bill C-14 is enshrined into law. Use our updated Email-a-Rep tool to tell your MP to vote against this cruel, discriminatory legislation in the House of Commons this week.
Here's how it works:
- Enter your postal code and click "Find" so the tool knows which MP to send your message to.
- Then, enter your name and email address. (Phone number is optional.)
- You can use the default text, or you can customize it to make your message even more powerful.
When you're done, click "Send my email." Your message will be sent to your local MP — and the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice will be copied on the email, too.
Once you’re done, send the link to your friends and family, and post it to social media. The future of assisted dying in Canada depends on what we do over the next several days. So act now!