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Results: 1 - 15 of 552
View Leslyn Lewis Profile
View Leslyn Lewis Profile
2023-11-27 14:06 [p.19066]
Mr. Speaker, the poor, the homeless, the abused, veterans, seniors, youth, adults suffering with disabilities and those people suffering with depression and mental health conditions are among the most vulnerable in our society. They are falling through the cracks of Canada's medical assistance in dying regime. They are the ones who will be at risk when the MAID laws in Canada are expanded in March 2024.
Last year, death by euthanasia increased by 30% from the year before. Every day in Canada, 36 people use MAID to end their lives, which is the highest in the world.
Last week, I hosted a forum with Canadians who are disturbed by the expansion of Canada's euthanasia regime to include the mentally ill. This expansion is not about compassion; it is a betrayal of the most vulnerable. I call upon the government to reverse its course and instead provide help and hope for Canadians suffering with mental health conditions.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2023-11-22 15:59 [p.18855]
Mr. Speaker, the next petition I have is from Canadians from across the country who are concerned about the comments of Louis Roy, of the Quebec college of physicians, when he recommended to a committee here in this place that euthanasia be expanded to babies from birth to one year of age. This proposal for the euthanasia of children is deeply disturbing to the Canadians who have signed this petition and they want to emphatically insist that infanticide is always wrong.
The folks who have signed this petition call on the Government of Canada to block any attempt to allow for the euthanasia of children.
View Martin Shields Profile
View Martin Shields Profile
2023-10-27 12:19 [p.18052]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present this petition on behalf of my constituents in the Bow River riding.
The petitioners are calling on the government to repeal medical assistance in dying for those for whom mental illness is the sole condition and protect Canadians struggling with mental illness by facilitating treatment and recovery, not death.
Conservatives agree that Canadians with mental illness should be treated with dignity and facilitated with the treatment options they need. Recovering from mental illness is possible, and we should never give up on Canadians.
View Arnold Viersen Profile
View Arnold Viersen Profile
2023-10-19 10:28 [p.17638]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition signed by people from across the country who are concerned about comments that Louis Roy of Quebec's College of Physicians made at committee around babies from birth to one year of age being eligible for euthanasia.
The citizens who signed this petition, residents of Canada, call on the Government of Canada to block any attempt to allow the killing of children by euthanasia.
View Ed Fast Profile
View Ed Fast Profile
2023-10-18 15:26 [p.17600]
Mr. Speaker, today, this House will vote on whether to protect the mentally ill against assisted suicide, but yesterday the justice minister falsely claimed that euthanizing vulnerable Canadians was good public policy and the only way to comply with Canadian law. Meanwhile, we are hearing more and more reports of Canadians crying out for help and being offered assisted suicide instead. Is this the sorry state of our mental health system? Millions of Canadians oppose the government's fascination with assisted death.
Will the government now bring a full stop to this madness?
View Mark Holland Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Holland Profile
2023-10-18 15:26 [p.17600]
Mr. Speaker, of course, there is not one among us in this House who does not have people they love who are deeply vulnerable and have been in a state of mental health crisis. Every single person in this House wants to make sure those people get the support and strength they need. That is why we are making critical investments there.
We also have to make sure, for the people who are trapped in mental illness and in deep, profound suffering, that we examine the best way to deal with those circumstances. That is why we are working to reconstitute the joint committee so that we can look at this process and look at how to responsibly deal with these issues in a way that respects and protects vulnerable people.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2023-10-18 17:19 [p.17612]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties, and if you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion.
I move:
(a) the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying be re-appointed, in accordance with Recommendation 13 in the second report of the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying;
(b) five members of the Senate and 10 members of the House of Commons be members of the committee, including five members of the House of Commons from the governing party, three members of the House of Commons from the official opposition, and two members of the House of Commons from the opposition who are not members of the official opposition, with two Chairs of which the House Co-Chair shall be from the governing party and the Senate Co-Chair shall be determined by the Senate;
(c) in addition to the Co-Chairs, the committee shall elect three vice-chairs from the House, of whom the first vice-chair shall be from the Conservative Party of Canada, the second vice-chair shall be from the Bloc Québécois and the third vice-chair shall be from the New Democratic Party;
(d) the quorum of the committee be eight members whenever a vote, resolution or other decision is taken, so long as both Houses and one member of the governing party in the House, one from the opposition in the House and one member of the Senate are represented, and that the Joint Chairs be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and authorize the printing thereof, whenever six members are present, so long as both Houses and one member of the governing party in the House, one member from the opposition in the House and one member of the Senate are represented;
(e) the House of Commons members be named by their respective whip by depositing with the Clerk of the House the list of their members to serve on the committee no later than five sitting days after the adoption of this motion;
(f) changes to the membership of the committee, on the part of the House of Commons, be effective immediately after notification by the relevant whip has been filed with the Clerk of the House;
(g) membership substitutions, on the part of the House of Commons, be permitted, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2);
(h) where applicable to a special joint committee, the provisions relating to hybrid committee proceedings contained in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons shall also apply to the committee;
(i) the committee have the power to:
(i) sit during sittings and adjournments of the House,
(ii) report from time to time, to send for persons, papers and records, and to print such papers and evidence as may be ordered by the committee,
(iii) retain the services of expert, professional, technical and clerical staff, including legal counsel,
(iv) appoint, from among its members such subcommittees as may be deemed appropriate and to delegate to such subcommittees, all or any of its powers, except the power to report to the Senate and House of Commons,
(v) authorize video and audio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings and that public proceedings be made available to the public via the Parliament of Canada's websites;
(j) the committee submit a final report of its review, including any recommendations, to Parliament no later than January 31, 2024; and
(k) following the presentation of the final report in both Houses, the committee shall expire; and
that a message be sent to the Senate requesting that House to unite with this House for the above purpose and to select, if the Senate deems advisable, members to act on the proposed special joint committee.
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
View Chris d'Entremont Profile
2023-10-18 17:23 [p.17612]
All those opposed to the hon. member's moving the motion will please say nay.
It is agreed.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay.
View Ed Fast Profile
View Ed Fast Profile
2023-10-17 15:19 [p.17557]
Mr. Speaker, once again, we hear reports of Canadians crying out for help with their mental health, but being offered assisted death instead.
The government refused to listen to mental health experts, to veterans, to disabled people and to indigenous Canadians. It did not listen to the family whose mother begged for help, but instead was euthanized before her kids could even say goodbye.
Canadians overwhelmingly oppose this overreach on assisted suicide. Tomorrow, we can end this madness by passing Bill C-314.
Will the government give Liberal MPs a free vote? This is for the whip, yes or no?
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2023-10-17 15:20 [p.17558]
Mr. Speaker, the mental health of Canadians is a fundamental priority for me and everyone in this chamber. The issue of MAID is a deeply personal and complex choice. It involves balancing the protection of the vulnerable, as well as the autonomy and freedom of choice of individuals. Those decisions always need to be made commensurate with the charter protections that exist.
This is why we need to be vigilant in terms of ensuring our decisions are informed by evidence and expertise. Our government is moving to restrike the joint committee of parliamentarians to deliver that expertise and advice. I hope the official opposition can support us in that endeavour.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, the fourth and final petition I will table for today is from petitioners who are deeply concerned about proposals to legalize the killing of children under the rubric of so-called medical assistance in dying. The petitioners find these proposals deeply disturbing, and they call on the Government of Canada to block any attempt to allow the killing of children in Canada.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2023-10-05 17:46 [p.17349]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak on an issue that has been fairly extensively debated over the last number of years. Members will recall that the reason we are having today's debate goes back to 2015, when a Supreme Court of Canada decision ultimately obligated parliamentarians here in the House to develop and pass a law that took into consideration the ruling made by the Supreme Court, with the necessity for the government to provide a framework.
It was not a very easy challenge when that decision was ultimately made. I do not know how best to put it, but the Government of Canada, at the time run by Stephen Harper, ultimately sat on the issue until there was an election. That election saw a change in government, and it was one of the first orders of business that the Government of Canada, under the current Prime Minister, had to deal with.
Over the years, I have been engaged in many different types of debates on all forms of legislation. When I am talking to young people who are trying to get a sense of what we do here in Parliament, I talk about legislation, and I will often make reference to Bill C-7. For Bill C-7, a very passionate debate took place on the floor of the House of Commons back in Centre Block. I can recall it vividly because of all the different emotions that were being expressed on the floor and all the discussions that took place.
It was not taken lightly. If we take a look over the years at the number of Canadians who have been consulted in one form or another with regard to medical assistance in dying, we are not talking about tens of thousands. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, in many different forms. They came together to voice opinions and concerns. In fact, we had a standing committee that did an incredible number of consultations, not only with individuals in our communities but with many different stakeholders.
In the debates that I have seen, I do not think we referenced our health care professionals and the important role they played in the debates. I want to start off by talking about that, because I think it is really important that, as Bill C-314 will ultimately be voted on, we understand and appreciate the number of discussions and the amount of effort that took place for the current legislation we have, which was amended.
As we saw, there were some issues that ultimately came out of Bill C-7, which caused another government bill to come to the floor. Again, a lot of repeat discussions took place and it ultimately passed. I think that is why the member has made the decision to propose his private member's bill. The changes that were made in what I think was Bill C-39, although I am not 100% sure and the member can correct me if I am wrong in his closing comments, are what might have brought forward this particular piece of legislation.
To be clear on what Bill C-314 does, it proposes to permanently exclude the eligibility to receive medical assistance in dying on the basis of a mental disorder alone. Wording is really important. I know that in the original debates with all the different stakeholders, and I made reference in particular to our health care professionals, the quality of the presentations and the understanding of the serious nature of the issue were, I would suggest, second to no other out of the debates I have witnessed, in particular given some of the things we heard coming out of committees.
As I reflect on that debate, I think that, in good part throughout the process, we saw many members of Parliament put their party position to the side and reflect in terms of what each believed as a parliamentarian. Maybe it was a crossover of personal beliefs versus the canvassing that many people no doubt had in terms of their constituents and wanting to reflect the general will of their constituents.
At the end of the day, when we think of medical assistance in dying and the issue of a mental disorder, I do not think that we want to try to simplify the message. As we all know, I am not a medical professional, but I have an immense amount of respect for what our medical professionals have to go through in order to be put into a position, because it is not just any and every doctor or nurse practitioner; there is a whole lot more that is involved. Towards the end of the debate, particularly on the second piece of legislation dealing with this particular issue, we had members who stood up and said, “Well, just put in your order”, almost as if someone were going through a drive-through and then it is done. We all know that is, by far, not the case.
I will fall back on the fine work that our standing committees have done. I am going to fall back on the issues and how they were explained, in good part, by the different stakeholders. I am going to stand by what the health care professionals brought forward to us. I will look at the information that was provided and ultimately reflect on what I believe in this particular situation and what a vast majority of the constituents I represent would want me to say on this particular issue. I will do this with very much a sympathetic heart, understanding the difficult situation that, unfortunately, far too many people have to face.
We can have as much sympathy as we want for those individuals who are looking at the possibility of getting medical assistance in dying, but it is one thing to sympathize and it is another thing to empathize. Based on everything I have looked at and listened to over the last number of years, I have not been convinced that this is, in fact, the direction that we should be going with regard to Bill C-314. I am just not convinced.
I think that what we ultimately need to do is continue to monitor and look at ways in which we can ensure that there is no abuse of the MAID legislation. We need to continue to show compassion in every way we can. We need to continue to listen to what the experts, individuals and stakeholders are telling us and try to build more value to the legislation so there is a higher sense of comfort in the broader community, which I believe there is today. The mechanisms are there, and there are opportunities to continue to be able to review.
View Monique Pauzé Profile
View Monique Pauzé Profile
2023-10-05 17:57 [p.17350]
Mr. Speaker, I am going to address the subject of Bill C‑314; that goes without saying. However, I feel especially compelled to condemn the excessive and inappropriate nature of this initiative from the hon. member for Abbotsford. His bill is being tabled in reaction to an important, sensitive social issue, namely medical assistance in dying.
The fact that my colleague from Abbotsford wants to amend the Criminal Code to include the notion that mental disorders should not be considered grievous and irremediable medical conditions for access to medical assistance in dying is a proposal that does not even need to be made. Mental illness is an extremely complex issue, even a controversial one in medical circles. There are many reasons for that. To begin with, it would be imprudent and dangerous to rush the process of providing access to medical assistance in dying when the sole underlying medical condition is a mental disorder. However, that is not what is happening right now. The Criminal Code will be revised in due course, if necessary. On this point, experts feel that the current provisions of the Criminal Code are adequate to allow for further work on medical assistance in dying.
What I want to speak out against today is what I see as the official opposition's blatant politicization of this issue. Everything looks normal, or almost, when one reads Bill C-314 objectively, but it is the whole message surrounding the introduction of this bill in the House that I want to condemn. I would like to be able to say that some members just do not understand, but I cannot even use that explanation as an excuse for their behaviour.
Although I agree that being unable to afford a home and dealing with inflation and rising grocery prices are not pleasant experiences, associating them with medical assistance in dying for mental disorders is the worst kind of populism. This just shows an appalling ignorance of the many realities experienced by people living with with mental illness or just plain ignorance in general. This is a position of contempt toward people who are working on many fronts to lead a somewhat normal life, despite the suffering caused by their mental condition. With Bill C-314, the Conservatives are putting on their agenda generalizations and falsehoods that they think will win them votes, and I do not see anything good about that.
This debate is a societal debate. When the official opposition claims that the work that will be done next spring is to allow Canadians who are “losing hope”, the phrase used by the leader of the official opposition, to access medical assistance in dying, I think that is completely irresponsible. There is a difference between a request and the acceptance of the request. That is the first thing the member should take into consideration. Just because a request is made does not mean it will automatically be accepted. I want to come back to the fact that the Conservatives are driven by purely vote-seeking motivations and that these statements are false. At press conferences, they tell Canadians that the intention is to provide medical assistance in dying to people whose only condition is depression or other mental health problems. Come on. Depression is reversible. Suicidal ideation is also reversible. They need to stop for a minute and think. In my opinion, it is completely irresponsible to say such things. However, it gets worse. In March, the leader of the official opposition went so far as to include the following generalizations in his preamble:
Those going to The Mississauga Food Bank [are] seeking help with medical assistance in dying, not because they are sick but because they are hungry...
Here is another quote:
...1.5 million are eating at food banks, and some are asking for help with medical assistance in dying because they cannot afford to eat, heat or house themselves.
Honestly, my colleagues cannot be serious. There are plenty of other passages from Hansard I could quote. In any case, if the Conservatives seriously believe that not being able to afford a house or dealing with the challenge of finding a place to live during post-secondary studies are two factors that lead people to want to end their lives, then I would say that things are an absolute mess.
We expect the official opposition to put an end to its demagoguery and simplistic approach, and instead take a more collegial approach where real discussion can take place and where all opinions can be expressed to allow a full understanding of what is at stake. The Bloc Québécois believes that the strategies and messages coming from the official opposition on such an important and sensitive issue do nothing to advance everyone's understanding of the issue.
The subject we are studying deserves serious consideration. We have a duty to Quebeckers and Canadians, and it is certainly not to tell them a bunch of nonsense, as the opposition leader did last March in the quotes I cited earlier. Medical assistance in dying is not a form of treatment for people with depression or suicidal ideation. It is the last resort, after decades of care, interventions and numerous therapies have all failed, when suffering is never-ending and the disease is incurable. I cannot emphasize that enough.
We believe that suffering is not exclusive to people who have a degenerative disease or who are at the end of their life. There is no need to rush this work, since the outcome has not yet been decided, contrary to what the Conservatives would have everyone believe with their message and their populist election strategy.
In its report, the Expert Panel on MAID and Mental Illness made 19 recommendations and proposed more stringent safeguards. For example, in recommendation 10, the panel proposed that a psychiatrist independent from the treating team and an independent assessor be consulted. Recommendation 16 involves the implementation of prospective oversight. There are other recommendations.
Under no circumstances would the Bloc Québécois condone providing access to medical assistance in dying in this medical context without the following: a thorough analysis of the practices and standards being considered; discussion with civil society groups, patients' rights representatives, professional associations and other stakeholders; a clear interpretation of the criteria regarding incurability, irreversibility and enduring and intolerable suffering; and the establishment of all of the safeguards and legal processes related to the ability to consent.
Members can count on the member for Montcalm, the Bloc Québécois critic on this file, to do a very thorough job.
I invite all members of Parliament, especially the members of the official opposition who might be tempted to repeat their dangerous generalizations and falsehoods, to read all of the recommendations. There are recommendations that have to do with the assessment process. The Criminal Code requires consultation with a specialist, and the key recommendation is for that specialist to be a psychiatrist. There is also the prospective oversight that I was talking about earlier.
The recommendations relating to implementation fall into three categories: consultation, training and data collection. Simply put, in order to access medical assistance in dying when a mental disorder is the sole underlying condition, there must be a significant history of treatment and therapy. Nothing is taken lightly.
In closing, we have to consider our capacity to pay for the health needs of the patients in question. We have to provide care to these people with irreversible illnesses. As a compassionate and empathetic society, we must take care of patients who meet the eligibility criteria for medical assistance in dying and provide them with a gentle and dignified death. Let us allow this work to continue early next spring without polarization or disinformation.
View Don Davies Profile
View Don Davies Profile
2023-10-05 18:06 [p.17351]
Mr. Speaker, in March 2023, legislation to extend by one year the temporary exclusion of eligibility for MAID where a person's sole medical condition is a mental illness received royal assent and immediately came into force. This means that persons suffering solely from a mental illness will be eligible for MAID as of March 17, 2024. Bill C-314, the bill before the House today, would remove this eligibility at least until we have satisfactory answers and guardrails to ensure that we can extend this profoundly permanent step with confidence. In my view, we do not have that necessary confidence today, and I think the majority of Canadians and health professionals, and the data, concur.
Data released in September 2023 from the Angus Reid Institute found that a majority of Canadians, 52%, worry that treating mental health will not be a priority when MAID eligibility is expanded to include individuals whose sole condition is mental illness. A vast majority of Canadians, 80%, are concerned with the mental health care resources available in this country, namely that they are not sufficient. Overall, one in five Canadians says they have looked for treatment from a professional for a mental health issue in the last 12 months, and in that group, two in five say they faced barriers to receiving the treatment they wanted. These obstacles appear to be more of an issue for women, among whom 45% of those who sought treatment say it was difficult to receive, and young Canadian adults aged 18 to 34.
A majority of Canadians support the previous rules governing MAID, first passed in 2016 and then updated in 2021, but there was more hesitation when it comes to this next step. Three in 10 say they support allowing those whose sole condition is mental illness to seek MAID, while half are opposed.
I will turn to some of what the professionals are telling us, starting with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. A survey recently of CAMH physicians found a lack of agreement on whether or not mental illness could be considered “grievous and irremediable” for the purposes of MAID and what criteria could be used to determine whether a person is suffering from an irremediable mental illness. The survey also found significant disagreement among physicians on whether or not a request for MAID can be differentiated from suicidal intent. These physicians also highlighted the concerns they had about access to mental health care in the context of expanded eligibility for MAID.
Canada's mental health care system has experienced chronic underfunding, leading to a significant shortage of community- and hospital-based mental health care across the country. Between one-third and one-half of Canadians with mental illness were not getting their mental health needs met before the COVID–19 pandemic exacerbated the mental health crisis and increased the burden on our mental health system and therefore on Canadians. The results of that survey replicate the findings from the Canadian Psychiatric Association's member consultations in 2020 and the conclusion of the Council of Canadian Academies' expert panel working group report in 2018.
Let me turn to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canada's premier organization dealing with mental health:
CMHA's position, first articulated in a national policy paper in August 2017, and later, in testimony to the Senate in November of 2020, is that until the health care system adequately responds to the mental health needs of Canadians, assisted dying should not be an option....
First, it is not possible to determine whether any particular case of mental illness represents “an advanced state of decline in capabilities that cannot be reversed.”
Second, we know that cases of severe and persistent mental illness that are initially resistant to treatment can, in fact, show significant recovery over time. Mental illness is very often episodic. Death, on the other hand, is not reversible. In Dutch and Belgian studies, a high proportion of people who were seeking MAID for psychiatric reasons, but did not get it, later changed their minds.
Third is the issue of whether this distinction for mental illness vis-à-vis all other types of illness is inherently discriminatory. Denying access to MAID for mental health reasons alone does not [necessarily] mean that those with mental illness suffer less than people afflicted with critical physical ailments.
That is true. The statement continues, saying, “What is different about mental illness specifically, is the likelihood [or not] that symptoms of the illness will resolve over time.”
We do not have the benefit of appropriate guidance from the Supreme Court of Canada on this issue, and that is something we need to take into account.
It is also noteworthy that with only 7.2% of Canada's health budget dedicated to mental health care, Canada spends the lowest proportion of funds on mental health among all G7 countries. For example, in the U.K., the National Health Service spends 13% of its budget on mental health care. According to the OECD's recent analysis of spending on mental health worldwide, it concluded that even that is too low, given that mental illness represents as much as 23% of the disease burden. The historical underfunding of mental health has been most pronounced in community-based mental health services and I think that ought to be taken into account.
According to the Canadian Psychiatric Association, perhaps Canada's foremost experts on mental health diagnosis and treatment, its members are profoundly split on this issue. The CPA's most recent member consultations in 2020 found that 41% of respondents agree that persons whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental disorder should be considered for eligibility for MAID, 39% disagree or strongly disagree, and 20% were undecided.
According to CPA president, Dr. Grainne Neilson:
Balancing the commitment of psychiatrists to provide treatment, care and hope for recovery with a person's lived experience of suffering and right to enact personal choice in health-care decisions, including MAiD, is a fundamental challenge, particularly where death is not naturally reasonably foreseeable.
Equitable access to clinical services for all patients is an essential safeguard to ensure that people do not request MAiD due to a lack of available treatments, supports or services. Poor access to care is particularly relevant for people of low-socioeconomic status, those in rural or remote areas, or members of racialized or marginalized communities.
The Canadian Psychological Association, another very important group in this matter, states the following:
Many mental disorders are managed, not cured. Medications for mental disorders are largely palliative. While it is possible that medications and psychotherapy may successfully treat an episode which then doesn’t recur, it is often the case that mental disorders require management across a lifetime.
In assessing whether a condition is incurable and irreversible, consideration must be given to equity of access to interventions. Wait lists for publicly funded services are long. Services, like psychotherapy offered in communities by psychologists, are not funded by Medicare. Needed services are not always available in rural or remote communities. To fully address whether a condition is resistant to intervention, that intervention must be accessible.
It is not.
The mental functions required to give consent to MAiD are the very ones sometimes impaired with a serious mental disorder, despite the grievous and irremediable suffering the disorder imposes. Consideration must be given to how to assess capacity despite the impairment in thinking that can accompany serious mental disorders.
I believe that we must act cautiously and prudently, and we must take a phased approach in this area. As has been noted by all parliamentarians, this is an intensely sensitive issue with grave moral and consequential concerns.
Adequate time, in my view, is needed to facilitate a comprehensive national conversation about acceptable safeguards and the availability of medically assisted dying for those suffering from psychological or mental health conditions alone, so that we minimize negative impacts on people living with mental health problems and illnesses when they are most vulnerable, and on their caregivers and health professionals.
I think holding that national conversation must involve people living with mental health problems and illnesses, and their experiences because they play a central role. We must get their input into what mechanisms must be there to minimize the risk of wrongful death.
It is going to be my position to support this bill and I think we must move very cautiously. I do not think that we can say that we can never move into this area, but I think we can say with confidence that now is not the prudent time.
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