In June of 2016 our Canadian Government passed Bill C-14, providing guidelines for medical assistance in dying (MAID). This bill has caused a great deal of debate within our country. There were a number of safeguards set up in the initial iteration of this bill that some people have fought against, demanding more lenient elements to be incorporated into the bill.
Before Bill C-14 passed, a letter sent to Canadian Christian Reformed and Reformed Church in America congregations said, “the Centre for Public Dialogue has argued that if medically assisted death must be a legal reality that legislation and policy should: protect vulnerable people from involuntary euthanasia; protect the conscience rights of medical care providers and institutions; be subject to careful tracking and legislative review; and enhance palliative care options.”
In Quebec, a Superior Court Judge recently deemed Bill C-14 “too restrictive” and struck down the requirement that a patient’s death be reasonably foreseeable in order to be eligible for MAID. The court gave the federal government until March 11, 2020 to address this issue. This has resulted in a speedy push for consultation with Canadians and an accelerated timeline for legislative review and changes. Canadians, have a limited time to offer our opinions on this, through January 27! The government has provided an online portal to participate in a survey that will be reviewed as they work towards a resolution. Please consider adding your thoughts to this very important online consultation We encourage you to reflect on the survey response suggestions offered by CRC partner the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
Beyond the immediate issues raised by the Quebec court there are three key proposals to expand access to MAID:
- "mature minors" — people under age 18 considered by doctors to be capable of directing their own care.
- Cases involving "advance requests" — where a patient stipulates they would like their life to end at a later time when they are no longer competent to give consent.
- And people who wish to end their lives solely because of mental illness.
(To view the full article on CBC News, click here)
We wrote in a brief to the House of Commons on May 2, 2016, “Bill C-14 provides minimum standards for the protection of vulnerable persons from harm in a MAID regime.” Some of the proposed changes would break safeguards embedded in Bill C-14 that were designed to protect vulnerable persons who may be subject to coercion, and would increase the likelihood of euthanasia without consent.
Please give prayerful consideration to this conversation and reach out to your church community to participate in the online survey to have your voices heard. You can also use this action alert to raise the issue directly with your MP as they consider MAID in the next few weeks and months.
The Centre for Public Dialogue
Chaplaincy & Care Ministry
Christian Reformed Church in North America