Thank you, Madam Chair.
I would like to speak in support of this amendment, and I thank Mr. Manly for bringing it forward.
To me, it simply isn't the same. In practice, if one reflects—others may agree with me—it's not the same to have implementation in regulations as having it as a requirement in legislation. The whole point of this amendment, as I read it, is to make sure this is being done.
Right now we're going through this bill, but we already know that we will be going through a study, which should have been commenced in June and wasn't because of prorogation.
We're here dealing with a bill when, in many ways, we don't have sufficient data: data is inconsistent between provinces; certain data is coming from some provinces and no data from others. To my mind, that's partly because there is no requirement within the legislation that this data be collected. This would be very informative.
Here we're dealing with a bill that four years ago looked very different, when it was first passed. This is a revision of an earlier piece of legislation, and we're doing it without sufficient data, in my view.
This would be very helpful. If you look at the specifics of this amendment, you see that it speaks exactly to who is choosing this, why they may be choosing this, what resources were available to them and how this came about. It's exactly the sort of thing we should be looking at in a review now, and any review in the future.
That next review is going to be very important. There is already signalling by the Liberal government that, in that review, they intend to pursue an expansion from where we are now. It seems pretty basic to me that we should have the kind of data spoken to in this amendment, so as to have a fulsome discussion and really understand what we're talking about and what the real, lived experience is of those who have decided to access this, as well as those who decided to access it and then perhaps changed their mind at some point, because we've heard that this happens as well.
I'm in support of this amendment, and I thank Mr. Manly for bringing it forward.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I think some of the most important testimony we heard, in the very limited testimony time that was allotted at this committee.... We had only four days. One of those days was the ministers responsible, so really we had only three days of testimony. One of the most important takeaways from the testimony I heard, among the physicians, psychiatrists and MAID practitioners we heard from, came from those representing the persons with disability community.
Mr. Manly mentioned that this particular amendment is supported by Inclusion Canada. Inclusion Canada is an organization that represents the interest of persons living with disabilities, but the persons living with disabilities community—provincial organizations, local organizations and national organizations—are virtually universally opposed to Bill . Realizing that the numbers are against them, they want to at least make the appeal for safeguards.
There was a report prepared by advisers to the vulnerable persons standard. These are doctors and physicians working in the Canadian health care system. It's titled “Failing People with Disabilities who Experience Systemic Suffering: Gaps in the Monitoring System for Medical Assistance in Dying”. I would certainly recommend it to all committee members.
They make the following case:
The existing monitoring reporting system is the result of a federal-provincial negotiation. At the time it was first...developed in 2018, comprehensive proposals for a more robust system were put on the table by a broad cross-section of experts and disability organizations. However, these were rejected by the federal government....
They go on to list a number of cases where they've identified gaps in the monitoring and reporting system:
Several cases of people with disabilities who requested and received MAiD raise very serious concerns that the eligibility criteria for access are not being adhered to in all cases. Nor is the process for obtaining informed consent and guarding against “external pressure,” as the legislation requires, always being managed in a way to fully explore alternative courses of action. In some cases, it appears that multiple pleas for access to needed supports have gone unaddressed, eventually leading the person to give up and apply for and accept MAiD in apparent defeat.
They mention the case of Archie Rolland, who was transferred against his will from a residence that provided highly specialized care to a geriatric long-term care facility in Lachine, Quebec: “Without staff adequately trained to communicate with him and provide essential care, he spent the remaining days of his life documenting the suffering that this caused and advocating for humane and capable care.”
How inspiring it is that some individuals who are dealing with a really low point in their life—we all saw the testimony of Roger Foley—who, in spite of the challenges they're facing, take the opportunity to try to advocate on behalf of people who may walk down the road that they're travelling. I find it inspiring that they do that.
One of the things being said by these groups, these persons with disabilities organizations and Inclusion Canada, is that there need to be more robust safeguards. They support this amendment.
With that, Madam Chair, I'd like to indicate my support as well for this amendment, PV-3.
Madam Chair, this amendment was intended to be preventive, because, when the appeared before the committee, he told us that he absolutely wanted the act to be reviewed quickly so that all the sensitive aspects ignored in Bill could be studied. One of those aspects was that Bill C-7 excluded the whole issue of mental illness.
Therefore, the purpose of my amendment is to look not only at mental illness, but also at neurodegenerative diseases, which had also been dropped from the bill. When we studied these diseases, we received witnesses who were even willing to move the discussion further even more. They said that they agreed with passing Bill C-7 to amend the Criminal Code, meaning Bill , but that we should then get to work quickly to deal with those issues.
There was also the whole issue of mature minors. It is the contention of the Canadian Bar Association and of Mr. Ménard that the Carter decision, the Baudouin decision, and the court go much further: they imply that mature minors, mentally ill persons and persons suffering from neurodegenerative diseases should have access to medical assistance in dying.
I was asking myself the following question, which is perhaps for the department's legal experts.
Since Bill C-7 does not provide for a review of the act, does this automatically fall under section 10 of Bill C-14, which provides for a review of the act every five years?
If the act is amended, it becomes a new act. Does the new act mean a five-year delay before the review is undertaken?
In that sense, my amendment seeks to prevent us from studying and discussing the sensitive issues ignored in Bill C-7 in four or five years, when we have reached an agreement and the minister has come to testify. This had to be done quickly, since Bill C-14 already contained a provision that should have prompted us to review the act last summer.
I would like someone to answer my questions. That is why I introduced this section. I was told that I could not table a section like that because it would be too early and we could not review Bill C-7.
Bill C-7 is not legislation in itself. It is one part of a piece of legislation called the Criminal Code. Right now, court judgments are telling legislators that they are ignoring a major part of the problem and the people involved. If we don't want to end up with legislation that will be challenged in the Supreme Court once again, or slapped with a court order, we should already be at work, discussing it ourselves, and taking responsibility.
If people with neurodegenerative diseases heard today that the act would be reviewed in four or five years because that is what section 10 says, they would certainly challenge it in the Supreme Court. However, depending on how the legal community interprets section 10, my amendment would allow the act to be reviewed and considered now, after Bill C-7 is passed.
Keep in mind that I had asked the minister if he agreed.
The minister told me that he did and that it was a matter of agreement among the House leaders. I thought that was sort of weak as an answer or an intention. That is why I am introducing this amendment today. I did not have the answers to the questions I am asking you and I did not want to take any chances.
Who will give me answers? I want answers. I don't want to just be told it's out of order.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Mr. Thériault, for moving this amendment.
I think it's an interesting amendment. I think it's a timely amendment. It just raises a number of concerns that I have, and I do have some questions about the amendment.
Mr. Maloney just referenced our committee's having to deal with this, but my reading of this is that the amendment as proposed by Mr. Thériault says that “their application must be undertaken by any committee of the Senate, the House of Commons or both Houses of Parliament that may be designated or established for that purpose.” It says “designated or established”, similar language to what's used in Bill . We, the justice committee, would not necessarily be the committee tasked with this review.
The reason why it's important, I think, to consider this amendment is that we're moving at lightning speed on a brand-new-to-Canada area of law. Up until Bill , providing assisted dying was strictly prohibited within our Criminal Code. This is what's being amended and what was amended with Bill C-14. Bill C-14 was a response to court decisions, and Bill C-14, which was passed by the previous Liberal government, involved a mandatory five-year review. It used similar language to this amendment. It was not prescriptive as to whether it would be a review conducted by a joint committee of both Houses, a specified committee within the House of Commons, or a new committee put together for the purpose of the review.
As we know, that review, which was to take place this past summer, did not take place. Could a review have taken place in some capacity? Well, we were able to do a lot of things this summer. We all recognize the challenges faced with COVID. However, here's why it's important. The minister has signalled a number of topics for the review: minors, persons whose underlying issue is mental health only and not some other disability or injury, advance directives. You'd think that a review like that would inform new legislation. Unfortunately, with the decision in Quebec.... That was not appealed to the Quebec Court of Appeal, and it was not appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The position I would take is that, when you have new legislation, part of the role.... We have a joint.... In Canada, we have a Minister of Justice and an Attorney General. The Minister of Justice is responsible for justice legislation, like what we have before us today, but the Attorney General has a distinct responsibility as well. The Attorney General's job, among other things, is to defend, within the court system, Government of Canada legislation. The did not do that. In fact, at the first opportunity....
So, you have a brand new, shiny bill—created with a majority Liberal government—called Bill . It provides for medical assistance in dying. It has a number of safeguards. It includes a requirement that one's death must be reasonably foreseeable. Well, the court decision struck down that aspect and said that, no, a person's death does not have to be reasonably foreseeable. Instead of seeking clarification, instead of defending the legislation....
There's a reason why, at the limited committee meetings we had, we heard overwhelmingly from the persons with disabilities community about their concerns with Bill . Many of those people we heard from, including individuals who appeared before this committee, would not have been eligible for assisted dying under Bill , but now would be eligible under Bill . They're concerned with the message that sends to their community.
This is why this provision is important. The government did not initiate. The government still hasn't initiated.
Provincial legislatures are up and running. The House of Commons is up and running; we're having this committee here today. People are used to meeting virtually. To my understanding, all of our witnesses at this committee on this bill and future bills are going to be, by and large, appearing remotely. We heard from physicians, from people in the disability community, from MAID assessors, from MAID providers, from psychiatrists and from a broad spectrum of Canadians. Other parliamentary committees, even today, are doing the same type of thing that we are doing.
This legislative responsibility that we had in Bill to have a committee look at the state of assisted dying in Canada five years after the passage of Bill C-14 was supposed to have been completed already. It hasn't even started, and now we hear that maybe it will start in January.
Some of the things that were supposed to be studied in this review are things that we're dealing with on Bill right now. The Truchon decision did not deal with advance directives, but this legislation has advance directives in it. The Truchon decision did not say that the 10-day reflection period was unconstitutional. It didn't say that having two witnesses, two doctors, including a doctor who specializes in the ailment that the person has.... It didn't raise any of those things. It didn't say there was anything wrong with them, yet those changes are included in Bill C-7.
We could debate whether we agree or don't agree with those changes, but what is not subject to debate is that those changes were necessary to respond to the Quebec court decision. They simply were not. They were added into this legislation.
Parliament, in its wisdom, in passing Bill said that after five years we're going to study this. Implicit in that is that the study would inform future legislation. Instead, five years later we have new legislation that raises tremendous concerns across Canada.
I certainly went into this study with a open mind to look into Bill . We heard from witnesses. The more I hear, the more concerns I have. We have palliative care doctors saying that there is no protection for conscience rights and that there is no protection for people who have had MAID suggested to them, maybe repeatedly, when it's not something they are considering. The disability community said that this makes them second-class citizens and that this is a “nightmare” scenario. Those are their words, not mine. Those are the words we heard from enabling accessibility and from other groups like Canadians with Disabilities. We heard from Roger Foley, a person who took the time to appear before this committee to make the case. It was a very selfless action on his part because he is doing this for people who are going to be in his situation in the future.
We have to listen to those voices.
The five-year thing didn't work, because here we are. Yes, we know there were issues this summer, but here we are and November is almost over. We're coming into December. There is no reason this study couldn't have started. The reason it hasn't started is that maybe they don't want to hear what it has to say before they pass more legislation, like Bill .
In a vacuum, where we did not have the benefit of this study, we have Bill . How many days did we spend studying Bill C-7? Four. This relates directly to the amendment being proposed by Mr. Thériault. We had four days to study something that profoundly changes the law in our country—completely different. Should Bill become law, the law when it comes to assisted dying in Canada will be profoundly different than it is today. That's without any debate. There's no argument that what we're doing right now is going to have a profound impact.
As a parliamentarian, I did not participate in the debate or the votes on Bill . I would have liked, though, to have the benefit of that parliamentary study, whether it was the justice committee, a hybrid committee, or a committee of the Senate and the House. I would have liked to have the benefit of a robust study, hearing from a variety of witnesses who could have informed us in our deliberations now.
Without the benefit of that, we have this committee. In this committee, we took four days. The first day was taken up by the ministers, who, of course, enthusiastically supported their legislation. Of course they do. This isn't a partisan thing, because when we were in government, we would enthusiastically support our bills.
I haven't seen a sincere effort to reach across the aisle and say that we recognize the diversity of our country, that we recognize there are 338 elected parliamentarians who are all here to do a job, that we recognize that we are all equals around the table and that no one party, mine included, has a lock on good ideas. Every party represented here today, if we're honest with ourselves, may bring things of value to the table.
We have moved, and we have talked about 10 Conservative amendments. None of our amendments would have been earth-shattering. Some of them, in fact, just put back safeguards that the Liberal government itself saw fit to put into Bill . I want to be abundantly clear that without even the benefit of this parliamentary review that's in Bill , the government, the same government that passed Bill C-14, the Liberal government, is peeling away the safeguards that it included in Bill C-14.
Some people might say they don't work. How do you arrive at that conclusion without the benefit of the parliamentary study that you saw fit? People like to cite different groups. We can all do that. When we all do that, I think it should inform our decision-making. It doesn't mean any one group is 100% right, and I don't believe any one group that we heard in our limited testimony is 100% wrong.
Frankly, when I see the receptiveness of the government to some of the very fair, well-thought-out and appropriate amendments the Conservatives raised.... I hope it's not leading to the conclusion that the Liberals feel they know it all and they have a lock on good ideas. I'm willing to agree with some of the amendments from other parties, and I happen to agree with this one.
I agree with BQ-4, because I hope we're not banging our heads against the wall. If the government ignored a five-year study, well, maybe it will ignore a one-year study. They ignored the one that was supposed to take place after five years; maybe they'll ignore this one, which is supposed to take place after 12 months.
I hope this isn't the case. I hope we can send the message that if there is any area of law that deserves safeguards, that deserves a deliberate look at the implications in the application of the law, it's assisted dying. There's no question about that. It's literally life or death. It may not be the group that's here today. It may be some future parliamentarians, but I want future parliamentarians to be informed by a robust study before they make new decisions and amendments.
Frankly, those of us on the justice committee right now did not have the benefit of that type of study. I refuse to accept that the four days that we spent on witness testimony—the first day being the ministers—was a robust study of this bill. It wasn't. This bill and the people who appeared before it.... How about the people who didn't get to appear? How about the Canadians who didn't get to appear? They didn't have their say. I know some of them have been sending in briefs that help to inform us as parliamentarians.
We can't have the thinking that one group knows best or that one party knows best. We're not going to properly study things before making legislation. That cuts across party lines. It doesn't benefit any of us. It does a disservice to Canadians if we think we can do up a first draft of legislation, put a stamp on it and say it's good to go and it doesn't really matter what people have to say about it. Frankly, that's what we saw this time. I think four days was clearly not enough. We've been saying that all along.
Now we're studying it clause by clause, but we're studying it clause by clause with the limited benefit of the limited testimony we've heard. The testimony we have heard leads me to the conclusion that the safeguards that were in Bill should have stayed in Bill . They should not have been stripped out. Further expansion of MAID in Canada should have followed only after a robust parliamentary study, as was contemplated in Bill C-14. We, as parliamentarians, have an obligation to put in those safeguards, which include review of the legislation, so that we can protect the people.
I believe everyone around the table wants to protect vulnerable Canadians. We may all have a different approach to that, but there's absolutely no harm in including a parliamentary review.
I support this amendment. I believe it sends the right message, and I think it will also help inform future parliamentarians on future legislation dealing with MAID. We, this group, this current justice committee here in November 2020, did not have the benefit of this type of review. I hope future parliamentarians do have the benefit of this type of review. That is why I am pleased to support BQ-4.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
We did hold four meetings, yes, because the court granted us two extensions. We got them because, after the election, we did not get moving quickly enough. In an effort to respond quickly to the court order, the government decided to amend the MAID provisions by proposing two safeguards based on whether or not a person's natural death is reasonably foreseeable. That's the question I would like to put to a legal expert right now. Mr. Garrison just mentioned that, if we adopt this amendment, we would be obligated to conduct two reviews, perhaps simultaneously. I do not believe that. It just means that Mr. Garrison wants a special committee, and I want one too. We want a special committee and we are reiterating through the motion that “within 12 months after the day on which this Act receives royal assent, a comprehensive review of the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to medical assistance in dying...”—which means January, February, and March, because the bill will receive royal assent in December.
Mr. Garrison was talking about MAID, but Bill C-14 deals with provisions around MAID. So I do not see dual intent, except that the intent of parliamentarians is reiterated here, that it be done within the next year, no later than the next year, and that it last no longer than a year so that we can agree on what we need to add or not add to the MAID provisions.
Bill therefore leaves out several factors that many people would like us to discuss. The decision was made to pass Bill C-7 quickly. However, the first thing I said at the beginning of this study was that, while we were debating, we had to always keep in mind that people were still suffering. During this pandemic, those individuals, the patients not infected with COVID-19, are bearing the brunt of all the disruption in the health care system.
Our deadline was extended twice, and we were required to act on a court order. I feel we need to reiterate to the government—especially since Mr. Garrison said the leaders would not agree on this—that we want to do this kind of study, as parliamentarians and as a committee. That's what the motion says. It doesn't contradict what is set out in section 10 of the MAID, although it is perhaps a little more specific. Nor is it exclusive. So I feel it's important to reiterate that and send a message to the executive branch: we must stop dragging our feet.
Because we don't anticipate court judgments and legal challenges ahead of time, and we don't do our job as lawmakers, court orders come back to haunt us as parliamentarians.
I feel that people expect us to be able to say that we're taking action on Bill C-7. In my view, a third extension would have been improper, considering those who are suffering. If we did not express our views on this issue here, we would again be leaving a note of uncertainty in the message we're sending to the executive branch, which, in my opinion, has a great deal of influence. I feel it's important that we're able to adopt this motion, and I'm even more convinced that it does not preclude the requirement in section 10, but that it clarifies, reiterates and completes it, in that it adds perspective and a time frame.
At the same time, it sends a message to all those waiting to challenge this in court. Remember what we were told: some will argue that we've gone too far and some will argue that we haven't gone far enough.
However, after the four days of parliamentary work we have just completed, we will be able to immediately send the message that Bill is a balanced response to a court order, and we, as parliamentarians, are thinking more deeply and at greater length about all the sensitive issues. It seems to me that issues as thorny as those we have been working on for a good number of hours must be handled in that way.
I rest my case.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I too, would like to speak in support of the BQ amendment. Let me first say that I agree with Mr. Thériault to the degree that his amendment is not duplicative, that it is complementary, and that it reinforces on the government something that the government failed to do when Bill was passed.
Mr. Moore, in his comments, noted that he was not here during the debate on Bill . I was here on the debate on Bill C-14. I was a member of this committee, as were you, Madam Chair. I can say that at the time, the provision in the bill mandating a five-year review was considered to be a very important part of the bill. At the time, we were in uncharted territory. We had a Supreme Court decision in Carter that struck down the blanket criminal prohibition on medical assistance in dying. We were certainly starting from the parameters of Carter. There was, however, much that was unknown in terms of how to provide for a legislative response that satisfied what the Supreme Court called on Parliament to do, which was to strike a balance between respecting individual autonomy while at the same time protecting vulnerable persons through a carefully monitored and designed system of safeguards.
The process, starting with the special joint committee on physician-assisted dying, through to the passage of Bill , was over a period of six months, from January 2016 to the end of June 2016. Between the special joint committee and the justice committee, we literally heard from a wide range of witnesses in a process that, although not perfect, was a marked improvement from the process that we had with respect to Bill .
The purpose of establishing that five-year review was in recognition that it would provide sufficient time to determine what worked and what didn't, whether the safeguards were appropriate and whether there were changes needed. It also provided a period in which Bill could be implemented across Canada. I certainly thought at the time that this would have been the first step. There would have been a review and then a possibility for amendments to Bill C-14.
None of that happened, however. We didn't get a review in June of this year. Mr. Maloney made reference to the fact that there is COVID. Well, yes, there was then, and there is now. I don't believe that is a legitimate excuse for why a review could not and should not have taken place. The fact is that before COVID, this government decided to pre-empt that review, because Bill was introduced before COVID. It went considerably beyond the scope of the Truchon decision and removed, as we have heard, many important safeguards in Bill . The idea that somehow COVID got in the way of a parliamentary review just doesn't add up.
The attitude of the government was “we know best” in moving ahead with legislation that fundamentally changes the landscape around the medical assistance in dying regime without undertaking any kind of review. The minister and members of the government bragged about their online consultation, which they say informed the drafting of Bill .
I would note, Madam Chair, that several witnesses—including some who did participate between the online survey and the limited consultations that occurred I believe in February—came before our committee over the very short time in which we had hearings to indicate that all of those consultations were with a predetermined outcome. They did not believe that the government was interested in hearing all perspectives, but rather that it had a specific objective upon which the government wished to legislate and was seeking an outcome to validate proceeding in the manner that the government ultimately did with the bill we have before us, namely, Bill .
I would also note that in addition to that consultation being predetermined in terms of its outcome or bias, as evidenced by a number of witnesses who stated this, the online consultation disadvantaged many vulnerable and marginalized Canadians. For those who don't have access to the Internet and those who have visual, mobility or cognitive impairments, their views, their perspectives, were ignored or were certainly made more difficult by what I think is really an insensitive process. People living in remote and northern communities, where were they during the online consultation?
Now we have this very unacceptable situation where we have a very bad piece of legislation that has been repudiated by every national disability rights organization in Canada and by over a thousand physicians, and we don't have a review. What is needed is that comprehensive review. It should have happened before Bill .
It hasn't happened, but with this particular amendment, we would reinforce the need for that to happen, and for that to happen immediately, so that we can have true and meaningful consultation from all segments of Canadian society impacted by medical assistance in dying—by all of those groups—and do it in a comprehensive way and hear from voices that went unheard as this government has sought to ram through Bill .
I happened to be at a press conference this morning where there were many voices, including indigenous voices, that have gone unheard in the four meetings we have had to hear from witnesses. I've said it before and I'll say it again: It need not have been this way. It shouldn't have been this way. It is this way because of what I would submit has been a reckless approach on the part of the government.
At the very least, this amendment underscores what should have happened and what absolutely needs to happen, and that is a review, not five years from now but in a manner that is as expeditious as possible. Certainly a one-year time frame is more than reasonable.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'll be fairly brief. I see the time we're running up against here.
Basically, I feel reviews are necessary. This is, as I referred to the other day, very significant, life-altering, pan-Canadian legislation that we're discussing. These are issues about procedures that a few short years ago weren't even allowed. We went into a whole new territory.
Now, with the changes to Bill , which I was not in Parliament to debate, many of what I would have thought—and obviously my side of the table believes—were reasonable safeguards have been rejected by others here on the committee and by their parties.
I don't quite understand, to be honest, the comments of my colleague Mr. Garrison that this goes against what he is hoping for. Maybe I didn't understand clearly what my friend had to say, but the amendment put forward by Monsieur Thériault speaks of it being within 12 months. It doesn't say after 12 months or at 12 months. It says within one year.
It also says that it will “be undertaken by any committee of the Senate, the House of Commons or both Houses of Parliament that may be designated or established for that purpose.” As I read this reasonable amendment, which I support, what is being sought here is a mandated review within 12 months, which may be undertaken by this committee or it may be undertaken by a special committee. The point here is that there's a mandate to make sure it happens.
Again, I thought Monsieur Thériault's comments were very good, that this complements the legislation we are clearly moving towards passing here. It sends a clear signal to those wondering, on both sides of all these arguments, where we're going. It sends a clear signal, to those who may be thinking of court challenges or who may just be feeling that this changes their environment and their world view, that we as legislators take this seriously.
Four days on such significant and important legislation is not sufficient, I believe. The rest of the committee did not agree. They wanted this through quickly. I think we should have heard from more witnesses. I don't know what's going to happen in the Senate.
To me, there's nothing here that is stopping what Mr. Garrison was speaking to, which is to get on with this and get on with a review, a review that should have happened and that was not pursued by the Liberal government, even though they were mandated to do it. That I still don't understand.
We sit here with legislation that goes way beyond the Truchon decision. We as legislators are making decisions, it seems to me, based on which health care professionals we choose to listen to and whether or not we choose to listen to the organizations for persons with disabilities.
This is very significant legislation. I don't at all think that it will lead to every piece of legislation having a review clause in it. This is legislation that is in its own category, in my view, in terms of significance.
This amendment simply puts all of us as legislators and the government on notice that there's a process that would require a careful, proper, more thorough and better-informed look at legislation that is so significant that we are making changes to the criminal law of Canada and we are making changes to the provision of health care and palliative care. This committee has chosen not to put in safeguards for conscience rights of physicians. We've heard from physicians who say that they will have to leave their chosen profession if there are no such safeguards.
An earlier amendment was not passed, but this would be the opportunity to look at the lived experience and dying experience of people who are within this system who choose to end their lives this way, who change their mind, and who choose not to go down this path. It gives us an opportunity to look at what supports are in place, what true options are in place for people facing these tough decisions, and for their families, quite frankly, because there's more than just the individual affected.
It's a very reasonable amendment that would bring forward.... I don't trust the fact, to be perfectly honest, that when a review was already mandated and the government chose not to do it.... Unless we have it in the legislation, I'm not confident that asking this committee to look at it will work.
The government has shown that it is prepared to put forward legislation in this area that goes far beyond court decisions, that goes far beyond the directions of the court to date, and therefore this review is absolutely necessary. Canadians would expect no less of us.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I will be brief.
Earlier on in the debate, specific to this amendment, Mr. Maloney made reference to the fact that the review of Bill didn't get done because of the pandemic, and I respect that.
However, I have to say that.... I watch Sunday football, and I watch referees review calls on the field all the time during the pandemic. I watch hockey, and I watch referees review calls all the time during the pandemic. When I was a firefighter, we reviewed the actions on scene after incidents all the time, and I'm sure it still happens during the pandemic. I review my bank statement during the pandemic.
I would suggest that it's not because of the pandemic that this review did not get done. Let's call a spade a spade here. First of all, it's because the government decided to prorogue Parliament, so that's really why it didn't happen.
My point is this. If we talk about sports and we talk about my bank statement, as two examples, and if today, during the pandemic, these reviews are still being done, is Bill , which deals with life-and-death decisions, not more important than sports and my bank statement? Absolutely, it is.
Mr. Thériault has brought forward what I believe is a great amendment. It at least gives us one more safeguard, for this committee to look back and review. Some of us won't be here in the next committee, so it provides that next level of safeguard, because quite frankly, Bill didn't get reviewed. It's vital, and it's due diligence on our behalf to see that going forward.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.