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ALBAS – Weighing in on Medical Assistance in Dying legislation

BEFORE I BEGIN MY MP REPORT, I would like to take a moment on behalf of the citizens of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, to express sincere condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752.

This heartbreaking tragedy has been felt across Canada including here in the Okanagan.

MP Dan Albas.

Please know that our thoughts are with you at this very difficult time.

Now on to my weekly report.

As some may be aware, medical assistance in dying was legalized in the last parliament based on a ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada.

During the last parliament I wrote multiple reports on Bill C-14, technically known as “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)”.

I also canvassed support for this bill and our region was largely supportive.

At the same time I also voiced some concerns with the proposed legislation, and several challenges have arisen in the legalization framework.

One of those challenges comes from the fact that in order to comply with the terms of the legislation, one must be considered to be “at the end of life” with the “reasonable foresee-ability of natural death” imminent.

This can mean that someone who may otherwise meet the criteria and wish to access medically assistance in dying may have to suffer for a period of time until end of life can be diagnosed as ‘imminent’.

In effect, this counters the original intent of the bill to medically assist individuals to end suffering from serious health challenges.

Recently a Quebec Superior Court has ruled this aspect of the bill unconstitutional.

As a result the federal government has undertaken to review of the current legislation to comply with the court ruling.

As part of the review process, the federal government has created an online questionnaire that citizens can participate in.

Please be advised that the deadline for submissions is Jan. 27, 2020.

It should be noted that parliament is also set to do its own review of the entire regime as the original legislation included a five year statutory review process and this will address areas outside of this Quebec court decision.

Since medically assisted dying has become legalized, over 6,700 Canadians have utilized the program.

That leads to my question for this week:

What are your thoughts about this potential change to the medical assistance in dying legislation?

MP Dan AlbasI can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

About Mel Rothenburger (7313 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ALBAS – Weighing in on Medical Assistance in Dying legislation

  1. Beverley Campbell // January 18, 2020 at 8:53 PM // Reply

    The legislation should simplify the process as much as is possible, I am completely against the current policy that allows you to ask for and obtain and make arrangements for assistance dying, BUT at the crucial moment, should your condition have worsened, rendering you unable to give immediate assent, you could lose the whole thing, leaving you to die in pain and misery and wholehearted bitterness over the failure of your plan. I think of that as torture and it needs to be stopped immediately. Once you have gone to all the time and trouble to make the plan and give your assent, you should not be required to assent again, just to protect the helpers against lawsuits, this could be the only reason for a re assent at the crucial moment, for goodness sakes look mercy in the eye and look at the reality of the situation.

  2. Ian M MacKenzie // January 18, 2020 at 7:39 AM // Reply

    Well overdue. Please complete this questionarre.

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