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Results: 61 - 75 of 1285
View Jeremy Patzer Profile
Madam Speaker, when we watch a movie and a person is standing on a bridge, people are coming to help that person, to reaffirm the value of his or her life. Those people are not taking the person by the hand and leading him or her up to the bridge. No, they are trying to take the person off of the bridge, to walk the individual back from the edge.
I find it absolutely appalling that the government is doing what it is doing. I mentioned in my speech that we have had the Bell Let's Talk Day. We also voted on a motion in the House for the 988 suicide prevention hotline. Immediately after that, the House also voted in favour of Bill C-7. What are we trying to do? Do we support people or do we not?
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-03-11 17:42 [p.4936]
Madam Speaker, as I begin my speech today, I am grieved to the core of my heart by the amendments from the other place that reveal an even greater lack of compassion for the most vulnerable in our society through expansion of Bill C-7 to those with mental illness. These amendments go well beyond what the House voted on last year and go well beyond the Truchon decision itself.
The Senate-Liberal Bill C-7 justifies a fulsome debate and more amendments in addition to the one introduced by my colleague from Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. I must respond to Canadians' alarm with the worrisome evolution of assisted suicide propagated by the other place and the Liberal government.
Opening the door to mental illness as a stand-alone reason to request assisted death is a frightening revelation of the lack of compassion and care for those who need and deserve it most. What is the underlying intent of such an outward attack on the value of the lives of vulnerable people? The message to those who face mental illness as well as those who have dedicated themselves to the care and treatment of anxiety, personality disorder, panic attacks, gender dysphoria, mood disorders, dissociative disorders, sleep disorders, on and on, is no longer a message of hope and “Let’s talk”.
Where is the merit in collecting race-based data when they ignore the pleas of indigenous leaders, palliative care and mental health professionals, physically and mentally disabled Canadians raising strong concern over the lengths gone to by both places to normalize and prioritize assisted suicide? It is this legislation in itself that will cause greater harm to the marginalized and the disadvantaged. A culture of suicide prevention is what we in this place should all strive for as caretakers of the people’s business.
In a letter recently penned to federal and provincial parliamentarians as well as health care regulators, indigenous leaders, including Siksika Health Services' CEO Tyler White, former lieutenant governor of New Brunswick Graydon Nicholas, retired senator Nick Sibbeston, indigenous health and suicide prevention advisers and elders, the desire for a culture of assisted life is made clear, “Bill C-7 goes against many of our cultural values, belief systems, and sacred teachings. The view that MAiD is a dignified end for the terminally ill or those living with disabilities should not be forced on our peoples.”
They are concerned that the government will not respect their indigenous beliefs and values by shutting down a palliative care facility. No doubt they should be concerned as this would not be the first example of a left-leaning government in Canada shutting down a palliative care facility, which also sought to stay true to its calling to provide a service perpetuated by a unique belief and values connection to their communities, a place where assisted suicide is not offered, a place to die a natural death with dignity.
They have called on the Liberals to respect their right to determine how health services are delivered in first nations communities. Indigenous leaders have been working tirelessly on strategies to combat the crisis of suicide in their communities. At the same time, the government is creating an environment that enables assisted suicide. The Liberal government is turning its back on indigenous people.
Renowned Dr. John Maher, an ACT psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of severe mental illness, was frank in his assessment of the proposed amendments. He has made clear that the long, drawn-out process of mental health treatment makes it irrational to offer or provide assisted death to patients. In his experience, not only is initial treatment expected to last up to three years in which symptoms are brought under control, but several more years need to be accounted for in order for patients to thrive under their condition. Dr. Maher is clear that not only is it possible for those who live with mental illness to survive, but they can live satisfying lives.
The Canadian Mental Health Association stated, “As a recovery-oriented organization, CMHA does not believe that mental illnesses are irremediable.” Psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and professors from the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Health Authority have expressed grave concern over the inclusion of mental illness as grounds to request assistance in dying. They appeal to the dedicated and wise leaders of our country to “please help protect the young people of Canada, our greatest resource for the future.” Today, we will see who the dedicated and wise leaders are.
Rather than champion hope for those suffering with mental illness and those who care for and provide treatment for their healing, the Liberal government hides behind an all-encompassing MAID regime. It cannot continue to offer suffering Canadians a skeleton of suicide prevention measures with one hand and an ever-expanding assisted death regime with the other.
As Dr. Maher has confirmed, better results can be realized through a culture of life and attentive treatment.
I had the personal privilege, and that is exactly what it was, an incredible privilege, to serve as a nurse’s aide in a long-term mental hospital, taking care of patients with very deep scars. I have given daily care to precious elderly residents in seniors homes and level 4 nursing homes. I have assisted students with special needs in elementary and high school education. Every experience has made me laugh and made me cry. Without any reservation, all these human beings have made such a significant difference in the quality and purpose of my life.
This bill is also deeply disturbing to veterans and their families. I have no desire to share their names here today or their personal experiences. Many are my personal friends. Those veterans who suffer with mental illness as a result of their service see this as another blow to their value to their country.
There has been an ongoing long-term lack of access to mental health care for themselves and their families, exacerbated by VAC's downgrading of OSISS to an online service and its failure to replace coordinators who were on the ground with them, backlogs that mean the care they need is so far away that hope turns to despair, while mental health counselling for their spouses and children who are deeply impacted by their loved one’s injuries must prove that their treatment is required for the health of the veteran.
There are a growing number of suicides in our armed forces and veterans communities already. At a time when a culture of life and of accessible and timely treatments is what is needed, the government is sending them the opposite message.
As I close, I want to encourage every member of the House, every member of the other place and every Canadian to watch a YouTube video called “Tell Me to Stay”. It is a plea from the young woman whose words will end my intervention today.
These are Garifalia’s words:
“Unless you have attempted suicide before, you will not understand how patronizing it is to hear health care practitioners and politicians talking placidly about suicidality as if it were different from MAID. Suicidality is supposedly about wanting to die, the argument goes, whereas a request for MAID is a rational and well-thought-out desire to end one’s suffering, not merely a desire to die for the sake of dying. And yet, if you had told me when I was 16 years old that I could live and not suffer, I would have chosen that option over the death that I sought.
For me, both then and now, any delineation between MAID and suicide as methods of ending suffering is a distinction without a difference. The outcome is the same—one is just medicalized.
People talk about safeguards as if they would prevent someone like me from accidentally or intentionally slipping through the cracks. As a highly intelligent individual with over 10 years of experience in pretending to be okay, let me be clear: The proposed safeguards will not catch me. Had I been able to access MAID in the depths of my struggle, the full life that I have since lived would never have happened...
As someone who endures ongoing and at times debilitating psychological suffering, I firmly believe in and support physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual responses to suffering. What I do not support is the creation of a two-tiered system that would offer suicide prevention to one person and suicide assistance to another.”
She continues to say, “I ask you to prioritize the mandatory review so that the Government of Canada can do its due diligence and consult with Canadian society appropriately first, rather than recklessly expanding the legislative framework based on one judge’s reasoning, thereby undermining the democratic process on which our country is built. I ask you to heed the feedback of disability rights groups, indigenous communities, and international legal scholars, all of whom have spoken out against Bill C-7. Finally, I ask you to prioritize the needs of the vulnerable and the marginalized—the indigenous, the disabled, and the mentally ill.”
March 11, 2021, will be remembered as the one-year anniversary of the COVID pandemic. If this bill is passed, March 11, 2021, will be the day the Canadian government chose to tell Canada's disabled, mentally ill, marginalized and vulnerable people that they are not needed, not valued and not worthy of care.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, just focusing on the timelines, I really wish I could have posed this question to the previous speaker, the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands, because in response to one of his questions, he said that we need to have this conversation now and deal with this issue now, because it cannot wait.
I moved a motion three times in the last sitting week to extend hours into the evening, not asking anybody to do anything more than just stay in their place to debate this very important topic, and on all three occasions the Conservative Party voted against it. It is as if its members were saying that they do not want to talk about this issue.
I am wondering if the member who just spoke can shed some light for me on why Conservatives did not want to debate such a very important issue.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-03-11 17:52 [p.4938]
Madam Speaker, my question is this: Why does that side of the floor not even show up to debate, if this is so important? Where is their proof? This issue has been debated in the past for what it was, and now it is something entirely different.
We passed four different pieces of legislation in this House in just this week alone, so I will not take this from the member when the Minister of Justice, in response to the member for Kelowna—Lake Country, implied that because of our delaying, which was actually our responding to the needs of Canadians as they were coming at us in waves, somehow we deserved to not have this debate go forward any longer. Who is playing games here?
View Luc Thériault Profile
View Luc Thériault Profile
2021-03-11 17:53 [p.4938]
Madam Speaker, several times, I have been touched by the speeches and have been able to understand where my Conservative colleagues are coming from. I am in favour of any speech urging more social measures to help the most vulnerable and marginalized people.
When we consider the position of the Conservatives, who voted against Bill C-14 and Bill C-7, we get the impression that the only solution for dying with dignity is palliative care.
Unfortunately, palliative care and suicide prevention require investments in health and social services. How can the Conservatives get so worked up over the idea that these conditions could be trivialized, when they made cuts to health transfers, reducing the escalator from 6% to 3%? It takes money to offer social services, suicide prevention services and access to care. I cannot follow their logic.
For 50 years, holding up palliative care as the only solution has not resolved the end-of-life issue, as they know full well. Why do the Conservatives not sit down with us in 30 days? They could invite anyone they like, and we could have a cross-party discussion to find solutions.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-03-11 17:55 [p.4938]
Madam Speaker, the government agreed to a motion to bring in a framework for palliative care across this country and has done nothing. We cannot compare palliative care to assisted suicide when it does not exist to the extent it should in this country.
If he wants to talk about money, I assure him that the government has been printing it faster than it can spend it and in these circumstances has not done anything to help those who are facing a bill that says they have no value.
I repeat what the young woman said in regard to this legislation, which is basically that there is no way any safeguards the government tries to put in place will work, because those who are mentally ill need the opportunity to live, not to be faced with a circumstance in which their government says, “You do not really have any value. Here is an option for you, and by the way, we will will not focus on mental health and palliative care the way we should.”
View Lianne Rood Profile
Madam Speaker, I have heard from thousands of my constituents in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex who feel this bill, with its changes, is getting the elderly, chronically ill, disabled and those suffering from mental illnesses to choose death over choosing to live. I am wondering if the member agrees that Canada's laws on doctor-assisted death are putting undue pressure on the elderly, those in long-term care, or those who have a disability or a mental illness to choose death when it is not even their preference?
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-03-11 17:57 [p.4938]
Madam Speaker, I really appreciate that question, because the truth of the matter is that there is not a focus in the Liberal government on valuing life. There is not a focus on valuing children, on valuing families, on valuing our elderly or on valuing our veterans.
There is no question that the amendment we brought forward today is the only way to fix this legislation. Mental illness should not be a means of getting assisted suicide. I am very disturbed, as are the thousands and thousands of Canadians that the government refuses to listen to.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2021-03-11 17:58 [p.4938]
Madam Speaker, the member indicated that the message being sent is that persons who are mentally ill are not needed, valued or worthy.
What I would reiterate for her is that this issue about persons with disabilities and their competence and autonomy was squarely before the court in Truchon. What the court squarely found in paragraph 681 of the decision is that there is a “pernicious stereotype” about persons with disabilities, and that is “the inability to consent fully to medical assistance in dying.” The decision goes on to say:
Yet the evidence amply establishes that Mr. Truchon is fully capable of exercising fundamental choices concerning his life and his death. As a consequence, he is deprived of the exercise of these choices essential to his dignity as a human being due to his personal characteristics that the challenged provision does not consider.
As such, he must be provided access.
The issue is clearly about providing value and dignity and worth to persons—all persons, including persons with disabilities—and ensuring that they have the competence and autonomy to make decisions, including very serious decisions, after careful consideration, about the timing of their passing.
I wonder if the member for Yorkton—Melville would like to comment on that aspect of the Truchon case.
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
View Cathay Wagantall Profile
2021-03-11 17:59 [p.4939]
Madam Speaker, no, I am not interested in responding to the Truchon case, because we are long past that. We are at the place where the government has decided it is more than happy to go along with what the Senate has put forward and to give people with mental illness, on its own, the ability to choose assisted suicide.
That is not in the best interests of Canadians. It is not in the best interests of anyone who, in the case of mental illness, cannot be in a solid state of mind when they are considering assisted suicide.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
View Dane Lloyd Profile
2021-03-11 18:59 [p.4947]
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Sarnia—Lambton.
Today will be a historic day for Canada, a day that will be looked back on for decades to come as a day of infamy for the rights of vulnerable, disabled and mentally ill Canadians. Years from now, our country will be rocked by a political scandal when it is revealed how tens of thousands of vulnerable Canadians ended their lives through medical assistance in dying. We will discover how many of these vulnerable Canadians, whose deaths were not reasonably foreseeable and who suffered from depression and other mental health challenges, were allowed to end their lives with little to no safeguards.
Righteously angered families will demand justice from the government. They will demand parliamentary inquiries and they will fight through the courts to reveal the truth that, for decades, the government failed to support vulnerable Canadians and, instead, allowed them to end their lives in the absence of real assistance. On that day, a prime minister will stand across the way in the House to give a tearful apology for the lives of so many lost as a result of the Liberal government's negligence. Parliamentarians will vote for serious reform to affirm the lives of vulnerable people and reinstate firm restrictions to protect the rights of the disabled and mentally ill. Together on that day, we will vow never again to stand idly by and let legislation pass in the House that would put vulnerable lives at risk.
The vote tonight will determine whether that is the bleak future this country will have, and today we have a choice, as parliamentarians: Do we stand up for the rights of disabled Canadians, those suffering with mental health challenges, or do we vote for radical legislation that will imperil the lives of many of them? Tonight I will vote with a clean conscience knowing that I have done my duty to uphold the rights and dignity of Canadians, and I urge MPs in the House to look deep into their consciences and ask themselves if they want history to remember them as those who went along and voted for this travesty.
Some members of the House may scoff at my claims, but if they will not take it from me, they should take it from the very people whose lives are being held in the balance because of this vote. They should take it from those in the disability community who have been speaking vocally about the pressure they face from society to end their own lives. They should take it from suicide survivors who know that under this legislation, their lives would have ended before they could recover and live fulfilled lives. The Liberal government likes to praise itself for its deference to the experts, but in this case, it is kowtowing to special interests who are pushing a radical agenda.
If the Liberals really wanted to craft a bill that reflected what the experts are saying, they would heed the words of Dr. Sonu Gaind, the former head of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. I will note that Dr. Gaind is live-tweeting tonight's proceedings. He has raised the alarm that doctors under this legislation, many of whom are not equipped to make judgments on whether a patient with mental health issues will be able to recover, will also be given the power to grant death to these patients. He has raised serious concerns about the motivations of this legislation that seek to grant more autonomy for privileged people to end their lives, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, seriously risk further marginalizing the lives of those who do not have the privilege of being able, of having a sound mind or of having access to the best mental and physical life supports.
He has raised the alarm that nowhere has anyone considered the risk of this legislation for those who are suffering with suicidal ideations. Where are the protections for those contemplating suicide? We recently commemorated International Women's Day and I became aware recently that women are twice as likely to receive medical assistance in dying and twice as likely to attempt suicide. What analysis has been done to ensure that women, particularly disabled women and those suffering with mental health challenges, will not be marginalized by this legislation? I think this can be said of a lot of racialized communities and others as well.
Disability groups have pointed out that, in a cruel irony, today is the 11th anniversary of Canada's decision to adopt the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Did the government plan this slap in the face to the lives of disabled people who struggle every day to live their lives and who will now soon live with the added struggle of the constant pressure to seek assistance to end their lives?
This year, of all years, there is no excuse for ignorance when it comes to the plight of those suffering mental health challenges, the disabled, and those who are contemplating suicide. We have seen the significant impact that suicide is having on our society. In some cases, death by suicide has outstripped deaths from COVID-19. In a year when we have learned so much about the gaps in assistance and its fatal consequences, how can we move forward with this out-of-touch and radical legislation that seeks to make it even easier for vulnerable people to receive death? The situation that we have been placed in, as parliamentarians, in response to these proposed amendments from the Senate, is precarious.
Canadians are still adapting to the groundbreaking decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case. They are still grappling with the subsequent legislation passed in the last Parliament, which legalized medical assistance in dying. Now with the Truchon decision, we have been called to enact new changes less than five years into the coming into force of the previous medical assistance in dying legislation. If that were not enough, now we are being asked by the Liberal government to go even further than the Truchon decision, which did not even consider mental illness as an exclusive justification for seeking and being granted medically assisted death, and we are being called on now to pass this legislation in a rushed manner.
I suspect, and I know in my riding, that if we ask the average Canadian if they want medical assistance in dying for minors or for those solely with a mental illness, we would receive a resounding no; yet, the overwhelmingly Liberal dominated Senate has taken it upon itself to push the agenda of special interests forward, to the detriment of vulnerable peoples. It was not that long ago that the Supreme Court ruled that there was no right to a medically assisted death. The Carter decision, I believe, was in many ways a deviation from the previous law, but today, to many, it may seem quite conservative because, at least in that case, the courts had a desire to place clear parameters around this novel practice.
It is clear to me that the Minister of Justice wants to implement a radical agenda that would almost see euthanasia legalized for every occasion. I think he said as much in his vote when he voted against the previous legislation. The Liberals did not feel that Carter went far enough. They did not feel that Truchon went far enough. They could not get a pass through the House, so they got a pass through the Senate. The justice committee did not contemplate mental health, and inasmuch as the committee did contemplate mental health the testimony it heard advised against including mental health.
There are so many Canadians who are going to be devastatingly hurt by the recklessness of this legislation, and Canadians have not had an opportunity to fully pass judgment on this legislation. When we have an election in the next few months or years, we need the government to stake out a clear position on where it wants to go with euthanasia, before Canadians go to the polls. I do not recall any party, in the last election, putting forward a policy that said it wanted to seek mental illness inclusions in the medical assistance in dying regime. The government does not have a mandate from Canadians to pass this radical legislation.
It is time to be on the right side of history and stand with vulnerable Canadians against this dangerous and radical legislation.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2021-03-11 19:08 [p.4948]
Madam Speaker, by way of clarification, first, the constant pressure that the member referred to simply does not exist. There is no evidence anywhere in this country of any discipline or criminal prosecutions against any medical practitioner in the entire history of MAID's being available the last five years.
Second, the notion of the impact on the vulnerable would be addressed by one of the Senate amendments that we are proposing to adopt, which is to collect race-based data and data on persons with disabilities.
Third, respecting the issue of the courts' never having dealt with the issue of mental illness, while it not addressed squarely in Truchon, it was addressed in a case that comes out of that member's province, the E.F. case, through the Alberta Court of Appeals, which found that mental illness should be a condition for which MAID is made available.
Would the member opposite agree that the community of persons with disability is not a monolith? Chantal Petitclerc, the senator who sponsored the bill, is a person with a disability. Steven Fletcher, a former Conservative cabinet minister, is a person with disability. Both have spoken eloquently, as have the litigants in the Truchon case, about the need to ensure that their autonomy and their competence is respected.
Would the member agree with that statement?
View Dane Lloyd Profile
View Dane Lloyd Profile
2021-03-11 19:09 [p.4949]
Madam Speaker, I think it is incredibly sad that the hon. parliamentary secretary would discount the testimony, the views and deeply held beliefs of so many disabled Canadians. I would just say that it is easy to claim that there is no evidence when the government has never set up any regime to collect evidence that would suggest there are abuses happening. The government is not looking for abuses, and so it claims that these do not exist. It is time for the government to start putting in a regime that would hold every member in this profession accountable so that we could get the facts and the data.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-03-11 19:10 [p.4949]
Madam Speaker, does my colleague not find it inconsistent that when considering the Senate amendments, the government ruled that the advance consent one was beyond the scope of the bill, even though it had put some advance consent measures in the bill? Moreover, it then decided that mental illness was acceptable to include as not out of the scope of the bill when that had not even been mentioned originally.
View Dane Lloyd Profile
View Dane Lloyd Profile
2021-03-11 19:10 [p.4949]
Madam Speaker, my thanks to the member for her thoughtful question and her advocacy on this issue. I guess that is something we should be thankful to the government for, that it actually found some aspect of the Senate's amendments objectionable.
Frankly, I think that a political game is being played here. The Liberals have claimed that Conservatives have been obstructing debate and that they had to force this closure. The fact is that Canadians have been caught unaware by the government's radical changes of adding mental illness to this. As Conservatives, we are only standing up for the right of Canadians to have time to actually digest this legislation and the radical new changes that the government is including. Canadians have only been given a couple of weeks to digest what is literally life-and-death legislation.
The Liberals like to say that the Conservatives are holding this up, but the fact is that they were trying to sneak this in in the dead of the night, and we are not going to let them do it. If I can judge by the hundreds and thousands of emails I am receiving from Canadians, who are furious about this, we are only hitting the tip of the iceberg here and Canadians need more time to review this legislation.
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