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Results: 1 - 15 of 256
View Blaine Calkins Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blaine Calkins Profile
2020-12-03 17:41 [p.2940]
Madam Speaker, it is common practice in this room not to impugn the reputations of other members. I am listening to my colleague spreading misinformation in regard to what Conservatives may or may not have been thinking and he is talking about whether they need a date—
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-12-02 16:03 [p.2820]
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:
That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, special order or usual practice of the House, the report stage of Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), shall be disposed of as follows:
(a) on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at the conclusion of the adjournment proceedings, the motion to adjourn the House is deemed withdrawn, and the House shall proceed to Government Orders to resume consideration of the bill at report stage for a period not to exceed four hours, provided that at the conclusion of the time provided for debate or when no member rises to speak, whichever comes first, the Speaker shall interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith and successively every question necessary to dispose of the said stage of the bill, and the House shall adjourn until the next sitting day;
(b) any recorded division requested at the conclusion of debate at report stage on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, shall be deferred to the conclusion of Oral Questions at the next sitting day to dispose of the said stage; and
(c) during any period of debate held pursuant to this order, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
This being a hybrid sitting of the House, for the sake of clarity, I will only ask those who are opposed to the request to express their disagreement. Accordingly, all those opposed to the hon. member moving the motion, please say nay.
The House has heard the terms of the motion. All those opposed to the motion will please say nay. There being no dissenting voice, I declare the motion carried.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague can share with this House in particular his concerns about the possibility of same-day death if these amendments are not passed. These amendments include reintroducing a 10-day reflection period. Without this 10-day reflection period, there would be absolutely no time requirements. There is an assessment that would have to take place, but there would be no time limit on that.
There would be no legislated limit on how quickly a person could go through this process without that reflection period, which would create the possibility of a very quick turnaround time and someone not having the opportunity to reflect and really consider what their situation is. I wonder if the member can comment on that.
View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2020-12-02 16:14 [p.2823]
Madam Speaker, I would be happy to comment. Let me first note it is certainly interesting to do a speech one day and then answer questions the next, but it does not diminish the importance of this issue.
The ability to possibly access same-day death is certainly a great concern I have and that I have heard from many of my constituents about. My hon. colleague made a comment in one of his speeches that certainly resonated with me, and it is something I heard from a number of my constituents as well, when he said that one's worst day should not be one's last day.
There are safeguards required to ensure Canada's medical assistance in dying framework is strong and protects the most vulnerable among us. I believe the priority of all members of Parliament needs to be to ensure that is in fact the case.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-12-02 16:16 [p.2823]
Madam Speaker, in the speeches we have heard, a number of Conservatives have made the point that living should not be harder than dying. I wonder if that means the Conservatives are ready to support a guaranteed livable income to ensure that no Canadian lives in poverty or has economic disadvantage affecting their ability to make the best of their life.
View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2020-12-02 16:16 [p.2823]
Madam Speaker, I would simply say this: We are debating a bill that dramatically changes the framework for Canada's medical assistance in dying legislation. This bill was introduced prior to Parliament being prorogued and it is being rushed through. We have heard time and time again from experts. In fact, the Senate just wrapped up hearing from 85 different witnesses about how there is a tremendous amount of concern on this bill from all perspectives. For the justice minister to come and make the declarations he has, saying that somehow they have reached a consensus, is absolutely inappropriate.
Certainly, as we debate this bill, we need to focus on ensuring that Canadians are protected and that Parliament gets this right. This is a question literally of life and death for Canadians. Parliament has to get this right and it has to be fulsomely debated to ensure that we are able to get that balance struck appropriately.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2020-12-02 16:17 [p.2824]
Madam Speaker, could the hon. member comment on what he is hearing, in terms of a reaction, from his constituents on this amended bill?
View Damien Kurek Profile
CPC (AB)
View Damien Kurek Profile
2020-12-02 16:18 [p.2824]
Madam Speaker, I have heard from many constituents on this matter, quite frankly, from all sides of the debate saying two things. The first is that there is a tremendous amount of concern with the bill as it was presented and as it has been presented to this House. The second is that a lot of the very reasonable amendments put forward in committee were not adopted.
Certainly, that has posed a great deal of concern. I have heard from hundreds of constituents who have brought these very serious concerns to my attention. I am proud to stand for their interests in this debate on such an important subject.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2020-12-02 16:19 [p.2824]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here today because a lot of things need to be said about Bill C-7. For those who are not aware, it is an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to medical assistance in dying.
Members know I was in Parliament when Bill C-14, the predecessor of this bill, was debated. I heard the debate and discussions about the safeguards that needed to be put in place to make sure we did not go down the slippery slope that many other countries went down when they began to allow assisted suicide and branched further into euthanizing individuals.
Knowing all the discussion and thought that went into the reaction to the Carter case, I am very troubled and disappointed that when the Quebec lower court ruled the reasonably foreseeable death provision was unconstitutional or would not be accepted in Quebec courts, the government did not put this forward to the Supreme Court. I feel as though the Supreme Court was involved in the Carter decision in the first place, as it laid out the provisions it thought would be reasonable. A reasonably foreseeable death was one of them, so this should have gone back to it for commentary before coming to this place.
With that in mind, I am also disappointed that the government has not moved forward on the palliative care provisions that were also a clear recommendation from the special committee that studied the Carter decision. It said that without good quality palliative care, we do not have a real choice.
As members know, I brought a private member's bill to the House on this, which was unanimously supported here and in the Senate. I worked with the health minister of the day to put together a framework across Canada to get consistent access to palliative care for all Canadians, because 70% of Canadians have no access to it. As per the Carter decision and the special committee, if we do not have good quality palliative care, we really do not have a choice.
I was disappointed to not even see “palliative care” mentioned in the fall economic update. The words were not even there. The fact the government would prioritize expanding medical assistance in dying without the input of the Supreme Court and without putting provisions of palliative care in place seems to be the wrong priority. Let us let people live as well as they can for as long as they can instead of encouraging them to die. I think that is where we as compassionate Canadians want to go.
Another thing the Liberal government fell down on is the choice not to do the five-year review. When Bill C-14 came through, one of its provisions was about looking at the situation after five years so we would understand whether or not the rules that were put in place were being followed, were adequate and met the intended purpose. That was not done. This was a perfect opportunity for the government to do that work, because we heard anecdotally that in many cases across Canada, the existing rules and safeguards have not been followed. We need to get a quantitative analysis on that and understand how these things could happen and how we can prevent them from happening in the future.
It is disturbing, then, that the government has decided, without doing the five-year review, to make changes to what is happening with respect to medical assistance in dying beyond what was asked for by the Quebec courts. Doing something without reviewing what one already has in place is irresponsible, in my view.
Given that, I have some concerns. The government has removed many of the safeguards put in place in the bill to keep those unfortunate things that we worried about when we were discussing C-14 from happening. For example, there is the 10-day cooling-off period. As anyone who has had relatives suffering through irremediable conditions knows, they have good days and bad days, and on the bad days they can feel like they want to die.
My mother just died in October. At the very end, she was in a lot of pain. I talked to her about medical assistance in dying and it was not something she wanted; she wanted palliative care. I am fortunate that in Sarnia—Lambton we have palliative care. One day she told me she was really thinking about it, but the next day it was not something she wanted, so I really think that 10-day cooling-off period was an important safeguard.
I am sympathetic with one of the changes that was put in, although it should have been put in after the five-year review. It says that once people have signed off on all the documents and the independent witnesses and others who understand the condition have dotted all the i's and crossed the t's, a person perhaps will not be able to give consent immediately before the procedure. I saw this in my mother's situation. At the end, she would not have been able to verbally communicate or even write to indicate her choice, should that have been her choice.
However, removing the 10-day safeguard was a mistake. The Conservatives brought an amendment to try to put it back in and explained why it was important, but it was not received.
The other thing I found troubling was the removal of the independent witnesses. We cannot even get a will without having an independent witness. It seems to me that for something as important as determining one's date of death, it should be a provision.
In Ontario, there is another difficulty, which has to do with conscience rights. There are people who do not want to participate in medical assistance in dying for religious reasons or for personal reasons of conscience, and that is their charter right. This means they do not want to participate in the act and do not want to refer. They do not want to have anything to do with it. In Ontario, medical people are being forced to at least refer. That is still a violation of their conscience rights, and it is troubling that in the debates on Bill C-7, when I asked these questions the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice said there are plenty of safeguards in there and it is okay. No, it is not okay. They are still violating rights of conscience and that needs to be addressed as well.
A modified advance consent was opened up to allow people to indicate, 90 days in advance, that they want to have this procedure. Advance consent was studied by one of the committees chartered by Parliament. Its recommendations said that a lot of things need to be considered before we go down the advance consent path. The government has not really done its five-year review, and I remember the member for Vancouver Granville commenting on this very point. There is a lot to be thought out there, and if we do not do it correctly, we will once again have a situation where the intent of the bill is not going to be met. There are going to be new violations in the way we have heard anecdotally, and that will not be a very good situation.
I was happy to see in Bill C-7 the clarification to indicate that if the sole underlying medical condition is mental illness, individuals are not eligible for medical assistance in dying, although there is some controversy there. I have heard from groups across Canada that are calling on the government to allow individuals whose underlying suffering condition is mental illness to receive medical assistance in dying. I think it is not a good idea, and I believe this is in line with what was said by the committee that studied this part of medical assistance in dying. It said many of the mental illness conditions, such as depression, could be treated. These are treatable conditions, not irremediable conditions, and some are glad to see this loophole closed.
The bill intends to:
permit medical assistance in dying to be provided to a person who has lost the capacity to consent to it as a result of the self-administration of a substance
We talked about this when Bill C-14 was in this place. At that time, we were not sure about the method of application of medical assistance in dying, whether it could be done with a prescription or not, and there was a concern: What if the procedure went wrong and a person cannot give consent? What do we do then? I am glad to see that situation was addressed in the bill.
Overall, those are my concerns with Bill C-7, and I think the government needs to go back to the drawing board on it. As 50% of the Canadian public seem to be concerned about the existing bill, such as people with disabilities and mental illness, let us go back to the drawing board.
View Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, in 2016, the Alberta Court of Appeal unanimously granted a 58-year-old woman, known as E.F., access to medical assistance in dying. She suffered from severe conversion disorder, which meant involuntary muscle spasms that radiated from her face causing her severe, constant pain and migraines. Her eyelid muscles spasmed shut, rendering her effectively blind. Her digestive system was ineffective and she went without eating for up to two days. She had trouble sleeping, and because of digestive problems she lost significant weight and muscle mass. She was not ambulatory a needed to be carried or use a wheelchair. Her quality of life, on the court's record, was non-existent. The court also noted that the applicant's husband and adult children were supportive of her decision.
Does the member agree that E.F. should have had access to medical assistance in dying?
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2020-12-02 16:30 [p.2825]
Madam Speaker, I am not a lawyer, and I think these issues are best decided in the courts.
The Supreme Court, which studied the Carter decision originally, said there had to be an irremediable condition with a reasonably foreseeable death. Although there is definitely suffering in the situation described by the member, it does not seem like death was reasonably foreseeable, so it would not have met the Supreme Court's decision.
Until the Supreme Court has a chance to weigh-in on the Quebec court's decision, it would be unrealistic for a person who is not a lawyer to weigh-in.
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