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Results: 91 - 105 of 1285
View Rosemarie Falk Profile
Mr. Speaker, we absolutely have to take the pause because there has not even been a review of the existing framework, which was supposed to be done already. COVID can be used as the excuse, but I do not think we should just leave it up to chance that good things will be done or safeguards will be put in place.
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2021-03-11 19:44 [p.4954]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her speech, which truly was a speech of hope. As always, it is a pleasure for me to stand today to speak for the citizens of Oshawa, but especially those who are most vulnerable, those who today may be at their lowest point. Hope is exactly what they need.
Today, we are commemorating a year since we have been locked down with COVID. I think of all of us here and in our constituencies. I think the increased mental health issues, the suicides, the anxiety and the overdose deaths. I feel so sad that today the government brought in closure for this bill. It is shutting down debate on Bill C-7, and the irony is not lost.
This is a substantially different bill than was originally debated in the House. It is substantially different from the bill that was studied in committee. It is substantially different because it opens up MAID, medical assistance in dying, to those with mental health issues.
Last month, many of us contributed to Bell Let's Talk Day. I remember being a parliamentary secretary when Bell started this initiative. Everyone was very supportive of it. I was so happy that Bell took this on. I applauded and supported them. In the House were saying to those who were suffering from mental health issues that their lives were important, and we all embraced that House.
Last night I was watching T.V. and I saw the commercial put out by CAMH. It was quite sad. It is a man who is sitting alone, and it talks about “not today“. It is about someone who is down and at his worst and needs that support. I do not know if members have seen it.
It is important that we get the opportunity to debate principles. If we look at our legal system, it is based on the principle that it is wrong to take an innocent human life. When the state is making an exception to this principle, it is incumbent that we are very careful. Why? Because the results are permanent and irreversible.
The original bill that was provided to the House had many things that the people Oshawa could support. However, substantial changes have been made by the Senate that would open MAID up to those with depression and mental health issues. I cannot support this changed bill. Frankly, I am extremely disappointed and upset with the government. The Liberals are not even allowing us to properly debate this new bill. They have invoked closure.
Today, the minister said that there was consensus, but that is simply not true. The minister said of the original bill that there was no consensus on MAID for people with mental illness. Instead of allowing committee to call witnesses affected by the bill, and the experts, the minister wants to push this bill through tonight and close down debate. He wants to pass this bill and then create a committee of experts to study the bill. This is exactly the opposite of the normal process of the House. We are here today making Canadians aware of that, because this is unprecedented. I have never heard of this before. It is almost like the government telling us to trust it, that it is going to do do this, not to worry about it and to let us get this through. However, the minister and the government have a credibility issue.
I know I am challenging the minister, and I hope he questions me about it. He needs to make things clear. The original MAID bill was due for a legislative review after five years, which was supposed to happen last year. That did not happen. We know the government prorogued. We know it had the WE scandal it wanted to cover up. If it did not do its legislative duty for the original bill, how can Canadians trust the Liberals and the minister to follow through? Instead of challenging the Quebec court's decision, the minister did not even defend his own legislation, and I find this incredibly unusual.
We are talking about trust, and when people are depressed and at their lowest, they need a government they can trust. In Oshawa, we have one of the most prominent experts in palliative care. Her name is Gillian Gilchrist. She practised medicine for over 50 years. She started a palliative care clinic in 1981 and was the first chair. I called her today, and she told me that when people are on a cliff, they need someone to trust. They need someone to talk to. They need someone to care. They need someone to be there. They need someone to talk them down. She said our system needs more resources for people with mental health issues.
Proper medical care is expensive, but MAID is not. I heard the Liberals say today that no one is forced to choose MAID. However, we have heard colleagues today in the House, and I think some of our Bloc colleagues said over and over today, that we need more resources for health care. I would argue that we need more resources for mental health care, because when Liberals say that no one is forced to choose MAID, if there is no proper mental health help available and there is no one to talk to, no one to listen, no one to care and no one to say “not today”, I submit there is no choice. Until the government invests more in mental health care for that choice, the only option offered is MAID. How sad is that?
I am suggesting that the minister has to address his credibility problem. Today he said he has consensus for the bill, but in committee he said there is not consensus for MAID for people with mental health issues. I have a letter from Vulnerable Persons Standard. This letter has been signed by 129 organizations, which tells us that the minister does not have consensus.
The Liberals were mandated to do a legislative review of the original bill after five years. That would have been last year, but, as I said earlier, instead of doing what they were legislated to do, they prorogued to cover up a scandal because they have a credibility problem. I say they cannot be trusted to follow through on this one either.
This is not from Conservatives. Three United Nations experts have warned the minister that Bill C-7 will violate international human rights conventions to which Canada is a signatory, but the minister is closing down debate today. Canadian legal experts warned that Bill C-7 will violate the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but the minister is closing down debate today.
The people of Oshawa and the people of Canada expect us to debate these difficult issues and to study this bill at committee. This bill is sanctioning the taking of the life of someone who is mentally ill and the taking of someone's life when the mental health care system is not there for them, someone who is depressed, someone who is at their most vulnerable and someone who is reaching out to us for their voice and their life. What is more important than that?
Today I am sad because I fear our system will fail. It will fail Canadians with disabilities and with depression who want real choices. It will fail Canadians who want us to listen to their views, who want to be given the opportunity to hear from experts in committee, who want to make sure someone is there for Canadians with disabilities and depression to tell them “not today”.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2021-03-11 19:53 [p.4955]
Mr. Speaker, earlier the member posed a question for one of my colleagues about associations or groups that support the direction of this legislation. I would put it to him that the Quebec Psychiatric Association has raised valid questions about how this could be handled going forward, not purporting to have all of the answers but at least guiding some of the conversation, as well as Dying with Dignity.
Second, I would put to him that there is a serious danger with regard to the expiration of the last court deadline extension that was granted. If it lapses, then the safeguards, which the member opposite and some of his party colleagues have termed “insufficient safeguards”, such as the 90-day assessment period and having at least one expert among the panel of assessors being an expert in that particular condition, would lapse in their entirety.
He talked about choice at the end of his commentary. The narrative I would put to him is that we, on this side of the aisle, believe that this bill, in its current incarnation and with the amendments proposed by the Senate, is about facilitating choice, including very permanent and serious choices for those—
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2021-03-11 19:54 [p.4955]
Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the parliamentary secretary. He is a very smart individual who is arguing this with, let us just say, an extremely academic framework.
I asked earlier if the Liberals could come up with one association in favour of what they are doing. This letter includes 129 associations, not individuals, that are against what the Liberals are doing. He has not come up with names. He said they kind of have ideas.
My issue with the Liberals in terms of the choice on this is that they have no credibility. They were supposed to review the original legislation after five years, which was a year ago. Instead of looking after Canadians, the Liberals prorogued Parliament and let this go, and now at the last minute they are trying to push this through. They have no credibility. We cannot trust them.
View Christine Normandin Profile
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-03-11 19:55 [p.4955]
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening to my Conservatives colleagues speak all day.
It is clear to me that no matter what guidelines or safeguards are in place, they absolutely do not want to make medical assistance in dying available in cases of mental illness.
We have been talking about depression, so would my colleague acknowledge that there are some psychiatric illnesses that cannot be treated with drugs or other methods and that cause intolerable suffering?
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2021-03-11 19:56 [p.4955]
Mr. Speaker, my colleague is asking a valid question. It is not that we do not want MAID for people with mental health issues; the issue is that it has not been studied. I am surprised that my colleague from the Bloc is believing the Liberals. The Bloc members stood up today asking for more resources for the health care system. Of course, the Liberals are not going to be giving such to the provinces, which is provincial jurisdiction.
What I was talking about are valid choices, and also legitimacy in the process. The Bloc members believe that the Liberals will form a committee of experts after the fact. I say they have no credibility. They did not do the review when they were supposed to do it, and the member should not be naive in thinking they are going to convene the proper committee afterward.
View Dave Epp Profile
View Dave Epp Profile
2021-03-11 19:57 [p.4955]
Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague speaks with such an even and measured tone and yet with such power and eloquence.
It seems that the current government has a habit of picking and choosing when it wants to follow science, when it wants to follow medicine, when it wants to adopt United Nations resolutions and when it does not. I am going to quote an article from a week ago, reported by the CBC, citing the renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Mark Sinyor:
The United Nations Office of the Commissioner of Human Rights, for example, recently put out a statement condemning the practice [of MAID] for those with disabilities on the grounds that it will lead to a devaluing of their lives.
How is that consistent with following United Nations directives? How is that consistent with following science and medicine?
View Colin Carrie Profile
View Colin Carrie Profile
2021-03-11 19:58 [p.4956]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his work on this issue, because this is so important: this is life and death.
Regarding the United Nations, it was not just one expert with the United Nations who said that, but three. The Liberal government consistently quotes the United Nations when it is convenient.
What I am saying today to Canadians is that the Liberals have no credibility. They knew they had a legislative duty to review the original bill. They failed to do so. They did not do it. They prorogued Parliament because of a scandal. They want to twist the entire process backwards with this substantially new bill. It should be going to committee. We should hear from the people who are affected and the experts in the field, and then move forward with the process.
All we are asking for is a reasonable process to move forward with a life-and-death bill. Please, tonight, will my Liberal colleagues vote—
View Gérard Deltell Profile
View Gérard Deltell Profile
2021-03-11 19:59 [p.4956]
Mr. Speaker, I support medical assistance in dying, and I know what I am talking about.
Thirteen years ago, when I was a member of the Quebec National Assembly, I was part of the group that spent six years studying medical assistance in dying. It took six years for Quebec to come up with a policy on MAID. I voted in favour of that policy.
Five years ago, I was part of the parliamentary team that brought together senators and members of the House of Commons to discuss the first version of MAID at the federal level. A few weeks ago, I voted in favour of Bill C-7 in the House, and I was not alone: 15 Conservative members voted in favour of Bill C-7, including men and women from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.
I am in favour of MAID, and I am in favour of Bill C-7, but that is not what we are debating this evening. We are debating the senators' amendments to Bill C-7. The amendment we are most concerned about relates to the Senate's decision to open the door to MAID for people with mental illness. Quebec studied this issue for six years and never looked at the mental illness element. Five years ago in the House of Commons, mental illness was not part of the conversation. Mental illness was not a factor in the first iteration of Bill C-7. Even the current Minister of Justice told the parliamentary committee that there was no consensus around this issue in Canada.
Now some senators have decided to bring MAID for mental illness into the conversation without the notion ever having been debated or studied in the House of Commons, and the government is supporting the Senate's stance.
I am very surprised and disappointed because, earlier, the Minister of Justice said, “Canada is ready to accept this practice”. That is surprising. What is he basing that on? This is the same person who said a few weeks ago that there was no social consensus on the subject in Canada. Now, he is even saying that there is a consensus across Canada.
Everyone has the right to change their mind, but there is a way of doing that, particularly when the person in question is the Minister of Justice. Why did the minister not have, shall I say, the courage to address this issue in the original version? Why did he go through the Senate to say that we must move forward?
It is not just people like me who are concerned about this. Take, for example, the Toronto Star, which is not a very conservative group. An article on this issue in that newspaper said:
The potential for abuse is both obvious and frightening.
View Gérard Deltell Profile
That was in the Toronto Star, but it gets better.
The Justice Department's own website still states the following regarding extending MAID to those whose only underlying condition is mental illness, which is precisely what the Senate amendment is all about:
...could be seen as undermining suicide prevention initiatives and normalizing death as a solution to many forms of suffering.
The Department of Justice still has that posted on its website. This is the department led by the same Minister of Justice who today said that Canadian society was ready for this practice and that there was a consensus in society.
This is all to say nothing of the many groups, such as first nations, that oppose this, much like a number of psychiatrists' and psychologists' associations, because, at this point in time, there is still no scientific proof that mental illness is irreversible, unlike the other issues associated with MAID and with which I agree.
I am even prepared to reopen the debate and allow for consent from people with incurable cognitive or neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, which can cause terrible suffering. That is my opinion. I am open to that, but we all know people who have struggled with emotional or mental illnesses all their lives. These people have their ups and downs, and sometimes those downs are very low and may involve suicidal thoughts. Are we prepared to give them the option of medical assistance in dying in these circumstances?
As the Department of Justice website says, this could normalize “death as a solution to many forms of suffering.” Those are not my words. That is a quote from the Department of Justice.
In closing, there were a lot of questions suggesting that the Conservatives did not want to debate this bill. That is completely false.
First of all, the reason we are struggling to meet this very tight deadline is entirely the government's fault. It was the government that decided to prorogue Parliament for six weeks this summer, forcing the House to go back to square one with the review of this bill, which was already under way. The prorogation caused the House to lose 25 sitting days. What is more, the government dragged its feet. If this bill was so important to the government, it could have introduced it the day after the Speech from the Throne in September. Instead, this government waited seven days before introducing it. It dragged its feet, it took no action, and it is the government's fault we are late. That is where we are with Bill C-7.
Let us now talk about the Senate amendments. The Senate voted on a Wednesday evening. The very next day, we were prepared to debate the amendments, but first they needed to be brought before the House. However, the first thing the government did was say that the Conservatives were calling for an extension. We did no such thing. It was the government that requested an extension.
Rather than taking a stand and immediately tabling the Senate's amendments in the House, the government asked the court to extend the deadline. That was its choice and its right. This government accuses us of dragging our feet, and yet it took five full days to respond when everyone knew which amendments would be adopted and which would be declined. That was its right and its responsibility.
Twelve hours after the government tabled its proposal for the Senate amendments, the debate began in the House and lasted a full day. However, the government never put the debate on the Senate amendments back on the agenda for the subsequent regular sittings of the House. It could have done so on the following Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, or on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, or even today. Instead, it decided to move a closure motion today. That is its right, I acknowledge that.
However, I take exception to people, and in particular the government, saying that the Conservatives do not want to have this debate. That is completely untrue. This is not a matter of politics or party allegiance. The Conservatives have some serious concerns about making medical assistance in dying available to people with mental illness. The NDP shares this point of view and is against the bill, so members need to stop saying that this is a right-wing opinion. Some people are in favour of the bill, while others are against it. That is all.
I was one of the 15 Conservative members who voted in favour of Bill C-7. I support medical assistance in dying, but not for people with mental illness.
In a few minutes, we will vote on the amendment proposed by the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, which would remove the amendment that deals with mental illness and allow us to proceed with Bill C-7 as is.
I am calling on all parliamentarians: if they have any doubt whatsoever about MAID for people with mental illness, I am asking them to vote in favour of our amendment. They could then go on to vote for the rest. If they have any doubt, our amendment removes that provision and accepts the rest of Bill C-7.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-03-11 21:02 [p.4958]
I declare the amendment defeated.
The next question is on the main motion.
If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I invite them to rise and indicate so to the Chair.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Madam Speaker, the second petition raises serious concerns about Bill C-7, including the government's plan to eliminate the 10-day reflection period. The petitioners are also concerned about the government's plan to allow suicide facilitation for those struggling with mental health challenges.
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2021-03-09 17:17 [p.4779]
Madam Speaker, I unfortunately need to give notice that with respect to the consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), at the next sitting of the House a minister of the Crown shall move, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that debate be not further adjourned.
View Kelly Block Profile
Mr. Speaker, citizens across Canada, including constituents in my riding, have been writing me to express their horror at the Senate amendments to Bill C-7. Canadians affected with mental illness want hope, not death. Why is the government opening the door for their untimely death rather than providing legal protection and hope?
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