Letter to the Editor – Helping People Live Well
May 24, 2023 – Barrhead, AB
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This month Parliament debated Bill C-314, The Mental Health Protection Act which was
introduced by my colleague, Conservative MP Ed Fast. I strongly support this Bill which
reverses the Senate’s expansion in Bill C-7 of assisted suicide to those with solely mental
illnesses. This drastic expansion was endorsed by the Liberal government.
Just as the vast majority of Canadians don’t support expanding euthanasia to children, most
also recognize the danger of expanding euthanasia to those struggling with mental health.
As I have spoken with constituents across our riding, I have heard a clear call for the
government to focus on helping people live and die well by investing in suicide prevention and
palliative care instead of making assisted suicide more accessible to vulnerable populations, like
those with mental illness.
The medical community in Canada has also warned against this aggressive push to expand
euthanasia to those with mental health conditions cannot be done safely. “We haven’t seen a
slippery slope in Canada. We have fallen off a cliff,” says Dr. Sonu Gaind Chair of the MAID
team at Humber River Hospital in Toronto and chief of psychiatry.
The alarming impact of the expansion of euthanasia has been revealed in a powerful new series
called “MAID in Canada” by Unveil Studios – directed by three brothers from Alberta. They
document the voices of mental health advocates, veterans, disability activists and doctors and
reveal how Canada is fast becoming the most permissive country for euthanasia. In one
episode, quadriplegic and survivor Jean Swenson urges us to focus on eliminating the problem,
not the person.
Every time I have risen to speak against assisted suicide, my focus has been on protecting
vulnerable communities as well as emphasizing that life is worthy living. My friend Lia says “As
someone who struggles with mental illness, I don’t need someone to tell me how to die. I need
someone to tell me to stay.”
Every life has dignity and value and we need to be far better as a nation at communicating that
to those who need to hear it that we love them and cherish them.
Arnold Viersen, MP
Peace River – Westlock