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View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
There are only three countries in the world that have both MAID and palliative care. Those are the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Apparently there's the Australian state of Victoria, and there are nine U.S. states and D.C. itself. We just did a quick survey, and those are the only places in the world that have both palliative care and MAID.
Is it really our intention to restrict our study of palliative care just to those jurisdictions? If we find out that Finland has a superb palliative care system but no MAID, are we not going to pay attention and look at that?
This is an attempt to blur together two issues that are different and discrete.
If you put MAID aside for a moment, I think Canada and Canadians want a superb palliative care system. End-of-life care and making sure that every Canadian can get access to quality, gold standard palliative care exists whether you have MAID or not. MAID is the process of choosing to end one's life and includes all of the considerations that go into that process once you decide to do it. It involves all sorts of other considerations, as we know—mature minors, mental health, advance directives.
I'm going to emphasize again that this issue was very well canvassed and well debated in the last Parliament, because our Parliament had to debate it after the Supreme Court struck down and gave Parliament a certain amount of time to enact legislation, which we did.
With great respect to Mr. Thériault, I don't think we have to restrict ourselves only to those countries that have palliative care and MAID in order to understand best practices of palliative care. I think we would be unduly restricting ourselves.
Now, particularly since I now know we're not studying MAID but simply studying palliative care, why would we want to restrict ourselves just to countries that have MAID? By the way, even their MAID systems are not necessarily the same as ours; there are quite significant differences in the way they do it, in the consent processes. I'm not even sure how helpful a comparison.... The mere fact that a country such as Luxembourg has MAID and has palliative care doesn't automatically make it an excellent comparator for Canada.
If it's the will of the committee and of Mr. Thériault to restrict us just to those jurisdictions, so be it. I just don't think that's wise.
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