Madam Speaker, I appreciate having this opportunity tonight to address the government's very irresponsible and dangerous legislation, Bill C-7. This is the government's effort to expand euthanasia and to remove many safeguards that people in the disability community, as well as experts, have said are vital.
The government prorogued Parliament limiting debate and now is rushing through this legislation. We are hearing many concerns from people across Canada and even from people in the government's own caucus. The member for Richmond Hill said he supports leaving in place the 10-day reflection period, but it is not just members. There are actually ministers who have concerns about the impact that the legislation will have on people with disabilities.
I want to read a quote from the minister whose responsibilities include disability inclusion. The minister said, “I absolutely acknowledge and am quite preoccupied by the power imbalance between practitioners and patients, particularly patients who have been in systems that have discriminated against them and ignored their voices their entire lives. I have grave concerns with the particular circumstances of the individual that you spoke of. Quite frankly, I can tell you, he is not alone.” The minister further said, “I regularly hear from families who are appalled by the fact that they take their child, potentially their older child, in and are offered unprovoked MAID. I think that has to stop.”
We are hearing concerns from people in the disability community, reflected by the minister, that already people with disabilities, when they are having interactions with the health care system, are getting proactively proposed and encouraged toward euthanasia. They are even told if they reject those pushes, they are being selfish. This is very concerning.
We have heard from the disability community how this bill would enshrine in law discrimination against people with disabilities. It would create a situation where a person without a disability who is experiencing suicidal ideation might be offered suicide prevention, but a person with a disability who presents with the same challenges and sense of existential angst would be offered suicide facilitation, and in fact, encouraged in the direction of euthanasia even if they have not asked for it.
Conservatives proposed reasonable, common-sense amendments to try to leave in safeguards. They are safeguards we know members of the government caucus would actually support if they were given the freedom to vote their real convictions on this.
We proposed amendments to leave in place a 10-day reflection period. That reflection period can already be waived, but as a default, we think a reflection period makes sense so that we do not have same-day death and we do not have people who make the request and die the same day. That is why a reflection period, which can be waived in certain circumstances but is provided as a default, is important.
We have proposed that people be asked on the day they receive euthanasia whether or not they want to go through with it. Right now with the mechanism for advance requests that the government has put in place, there is no requirement that patients would be consulted on the day they receive euthanasia.
We propose specifically an amendment that the Minister of Disability Inclusion seems to support, even if the Minister of Justice does not. It is an amendment that requires that it be the patient who brings it up, not the physician, so that someone does not go into the hospital, a person with a disability, and get told they should think about taking their life. If that conversation is going to happen, it has to be the patient who starts it.
These are reasonable, common-sense amendments and the government rejected 100% of the common-sense Conservative amendments. They were not just Conservative amendments. They were amendments put forward by experts, by people in the disability community and by people who have been ignored in the government's rush to move this forward after it prorogued Parliament.
This is an issue of life and death and of how we respect people living with disabilities, how we recognize and ought to affirm the value and dignity of all human life, and the fact that people living with disabilities ought not be pushed in one direction, which people who are able-bodied are not.
That is what is in front of us and I implore all members of Parliament to look at the details, consult their own conscience, consult their own constituents, maybe even talk to members of their own caucus who have concerns, and support common-sense—