March 1, 2024 12:27 pm

Opposition parties demand a halt to the expansion of assisted suicide for mental illness

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A special parliamentary committee will soon release a report that could influence the government’s decision on allowing medically assisted deaths for those with mental illnesses. Conservative and NDP members of the committee are calling for a pause in the planned expansion of eligibility for such cases, scheduled for March 17.

Committee member Michael Cooper, a Conservative MP representing St. Albert—Edmonton, argued that “Canada isn’t ready,” pointing to concerns raised by psychiatrists about the difficulty for medical professionals in determining the irreversibility of mental illness or the rationality behind a request for assisted death.

According to CBC, “The committee, made up of 15 MPs and senators, was tasked by the federal government last fall with determining whether the health-care system is prepared for the expansion.”

Cooper added that “these Liberals have put ideology ahead of evidence-based decision making.”

B.C. NDP MP Alistair MacGregor, a vice-chair of the committee, criticized the government for changing the law without proper consultation. He said it feels like they’re “building the plane while it’s flying mid-air,” leaving everyone in a legal mess.

The expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAID), originally set for March 17, has been delayed by the government once already. If they wait longer, they need to pass new laws by March 17. Health Minister Mark Holland will decide after the committee submits its report by January 31.

“Holland acknowledged the concerns raised by both experts who testified at committee and by provincial and territorial governments,” stated CBC.

Holland added that, “We certainly recognize that there is equivalency between physical suffering and mental suffering. But we need to make sure that the supports are there, that the training is in place.”

Even last week, a pro-euthanasia group, Dying with Dignity Canada, was advocating for extending MAID to minors, including children aged 12 years and up.

“In many jurisdictions across Canada, mature minors already have the right to make important decisions regarding their care. This includes the right to consent to or refuse lifesaving medical treatment,” stated the group.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) states that right now, “people whose sole medical condition is mental illness are not eligible for MAiD in Canada.” However, this is set to change in March 2024. Currently, only certain individuals with mental illness may be eligible for MAID if they also have a ‘grievous and irremediable’ medical “condition that is physical in nature.”



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Original Source: Opposition parties demand a halt to the expansion of assisted suicide for mental illness

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