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View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, as members of the House well know, there are few issues as complex and as personal as medical assistance in dying. Medical assistance in dying forces us to reconcile many fundamental values: equality, respect for life and individual autonomy. We accept that reasonable people can disagree on the best way to achieve balance in respect of all the implicated interests and values.
As a government, we must make choices on behalf of Canadians that we believe are the right ones for each individual and for all of us collectively. Bill C-7 reflects our best assessment of sound policy that is constitutionally valid. We believe it is consistent with the views of most Canadians who participated in our consultation processes. We further believe it is responsive to many of the concerns and recommendations of numerous and varied experts whose opinions were shared in round tables, expert panel reports, academic articles and other sources.
We certainly know some members of the House believe the safeguards in the existing law reflect a more appropriate balance. We respect these differences of opinion. That is what we are here to do. We are all here to reflect the diversity of views of the Canadians we represent. However, we believe our chosen course of action is the correct one. It is the product of deep reflection and significant consultation, and puts the interests of each individual at the centre of their own medical choices.
We remain committed to the removal of the 10-day reflection period for persons whose death is reasonably foreseeable. We heard over and over again that this safeguard does not provide the protection it was intended to and that instead it aggravates these already difficult situations.
We are also committed to the proposal that would enable those whose death is reasonably foreseeable to make arrangements with their MAID provider for a waiver of final consent in the unfortunate eventuality that they lose their capacity to consent to MAID before the scheduled day. Without this change, some who are found eligible will choose to die sooner than they want, depriving themselves of precious remaining time with their families, rather than risk losing the option to die by their preferred manner of death.
While we understand the ethical and philosophical concerns with the idea of administering MAID to persons who are no longer able to consent, the practical reality of those who wish to spend a little more time with their families is of prime importance. Any expression of resistance would put a stop to the administration of MAID. This is clear in the bill. All that would be permitted is for the practitioner to carry out the person's own clear and precise wishes as to the date and manner of their death.
I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage my colleague to help us limit the unnecessary suffering of Canadians and help us ensure this important legislation receives royal assent prior to the December 18 court deadline.
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, I remain confident Bill C-7 is the right approach for Canada now. It would advance the interests of individual choice and autonomy in medical decision-making. If an individual determines for themselves that they are suffering intolerably and make a voluntary request for MAID as well as receive all the information they need to make an informed decision, including being offered alternative treatments and services, I believe we owe it to them to respect their decision.
At the same time, it would ensure requests from the newly eligible, whose death is not foreseeable, would be handled with great care and attention, with the input of experts and time to identify and explore other treatment options. We trust practitioners will do more than the minimum standards set out in the safeguards in all appropriate cases.
View Lenore Zann Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Lenore Zann Profile
2020-10-27 17:14 [p.1333]
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank our hon. colleague for his passionate speech. I found it informative and extremely emotional. As somebody who was brought up as a Catholic as a young girl, I too feel people should have their own choice as to how they end their life if they are in great pain and suffering.
What would my hon. colleague say to our colleagues on the floor who are having trouble with this bill because their constituents have said it could be used the wrong way to perhaps put people to death who are having some kind of problem? What would he say to those people so they see his perspective?
View Darren Fisher Profile
Lib. (NS)
Madam Speaker, I know the Audrey Parker situation so well and I want to thank the member for putting those words into Hansard one more time, because they are so important as it pertains to Bill C-7.
I wonder if the member could tell me her personal opinion on whether the bill provides the level of safeguards that the Canadian public will be comfortable with and need?
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