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Assisted Suicide Legislation Missing Protections for Physicians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON — Yesterday, the government tabled Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying), that responded to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to allow assisted suicide.

The legislation included many of the recommendations proposed in the Conservative dissenting report from the Special Joint Committee, including recommendations to exclude minors; include stringent safeguards to protect those with underlying mental health challenges; and recognize the risks involved with advanced directives.

“I am pleased that these recommendations have been included in the bill. While we could all debate the effects that Carter decision will have on society and the value of life, there appears to be no appetite for parliament to challenge the Supreme Court of Canada.

“Canada is an extremely charitable country and our interactions with one another and care for the vulnerable is something we can all be proud of. I also believe that Freedom of conscience is another important fundamental Canadian value and it is secured for us in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. With great freedom comes great responsibility.

“Most importantly, I am concerned that this legislation requires the participation of physicians. While the decision to end one’s life may be a personal one it will impact others. For many physicians, ending the life of another is a direct violation of the Hippocratic oath. I urge the Liberals to ensure that physicians have their conscience rights protected and enshrined in Bill C-14.

“I also call on the Liberals to correct their broken election commitment to invest $3-billion in long-term care, including palliative care.  Access to palliative care is an essential part of end-of-life decision making.  A pan-Canadian strategy on palliative care is one initiative that has unanimous agreement from the Special Joint Committee and stakeholders, including the Canadian Medical Association.”

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