We all have to step up to the plate

Dear Editor,

Exactly eleven years after Canada signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), March 11, the government of Canada passed the amended Bill C7 regarding “MAiD.” This bill relaxes most safeguards around euthanasia, such that one no longer has to be at the end of life to have state-approved assisted suicide. One only needs some type of disability or disease that is “unbearable.” The Bill includes “medical assistance in dying” for mental illness, an addition made by the Senate (their role is to approve bills, not to add to them). The Government did not consult with mental health experts before accepting this addition. Testimony by experts in disability issues, people living with disability, Indigenous leaders, and many others, warning of the dangers of the Bill, was ignored.

Last week, the vote was cut off and the Bill pushed through by a closure motion from the government, supported by the Bloc Québécois. Contrary to affirmations by Liberal and Bloc MPs that opposition to the Bill was limited to the “religious right” of the Conservative Party, all NDP members and 2 of 3 Green Party members voted against it. Three Liberals voted against it and several abstained from voting. Clearly the government is concerned more about pushing through their legislation rather than heeding the alarm bells of the opposition, or listening and protecting those who are most vulnerable. In making MAiD more available than supports for living, the government has shown they cannot be relied on for end of life support.

Now more than ever before, we all have to step up to the plate and accept the challenge of caring for our family, friends and neighbours. Protecting the equality and life of people with disabilities and other chronic conditions is about recognizing that we live in solidarity with others. Caring for and protecting others is based upon recognizing that each human being has equality which cannot only be recognized by words but by actions. Death is truly dignified when it is shared with those who care about that person until their natural death.


Dr Luke Savage

Three Hills, AB.