Canadian Parliament Begins Debate on Bill C-384 to Legalize Assisted Suicide

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 6, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canadian Parliament Begins Debate on Bill C-384 to Legalize Assisted Suicide

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 6
, 2009

Ottawa, Canada ( — The Canadian Parliament last week began debate on Bill C-384 that would legalize assisted suicide in Canada. On October 2, the measure, received its first hour of debate after Québécois MP Francine Lalonde won a higher number in the lottery for private members bills.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has been one of the leaders in trying to defeat the bill and he provided an update today on the situation.

Since May, when Lalonde introduced the legislation, "many groups and individuals have helped the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition defeat C-384 by sending Stop Bill C-384 postcards, writing hand-written letters, or meeting with their member of Parliament," he said.

Parliament has received about 10,000 postcards thus far, he confirmed to

"We now need to inundate MPs with letters opposing Bill C-384," he said.

The first-hour of debate had eight speeches on C-384 with two in favor (Lalonde and Serge Cardin of the BQ speaking) and six opposed, including David Anderson (CPC), John McKay (Lib), Jacques Gourde (CPC), Marlene Jennings (Lib), Joe Comartin (NDP), and Paul Szabo (Lib).

Schadenberg says the members who rose to speak confirmed the legwork his group has done to identify where MPs stand on the bill.

He says the Canadian lawmakers are opposing the bill to legalize assisted suicide on three different positions.

"The first position is the MP who is totally opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Many MPs totally oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, but they do not represent a majority in parliament," he explained.

"The second position is the MP who believes that Canada needs to improve the quality and availability of end-of-life care and palliative care before it considers legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide. There are a significant number of MPs who hold this position," he added.

Schadenberg’s concern is this is a group of MPs who may change their position if improvements are made.

The third group of lawmakers oppose C-384 because of how it is written but do not oppose the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. He said this represents the smallest group of legislators.

Even though his numbers make it appear to him that the bill may be defeated, Schadenberg says pro-life advocates in Canada need to educate elected officials to get more in the first category.

"We must continue to build opposition to C-384 by focusing on why euthanasia and assisted suicide is always wrong," he told "We must convince enough MPs who oppose C-384 based on a the need to improve end-of-life care first – to opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide because it is wrong and threatens the lives of vulnerable Canadians."

"Just because we appear to be winning does not give us the right to relax but rather it should give us the energy to push forward for a complete victory," he continued.

ACTION: You can also send a letter online to your MP by going to the site:

Related web sites:
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition –

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.