Next Debate on Canada Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide Pushed to December

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

Next Debate on Canada Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide Pushed to December

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 6
, 2009

Ottawa, Canada ( — The next debate on the bill in the Canadian Parliament that would legalize assisted suicide has been pushed backed to December. The news comes after a new poll showing Canadians have strong concerns about how the legislation would adversely affect the elderly and disabled.

Alex Schadenberg, the director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, informs that MP Francine Lalonde, the bill’s sponsor, has now traded her date for the second hour of debate on C-384 twice.

The original date for the second hour of debate was November 16, but Schadenberg learned that she had traded with another Bloc MP to move the date back to November 19. Yesterday, Lalonde pushed back the date to December 1 with the vote taking place the next day.

"I can only guess that she is attempting to get more time to find support for her bill. The information that we have indicates that C-384 will be strongly defeated," Schadenberg said.

He tells he suspects she may also be wanting to distance the assisted suicide bill from Harold Albrecht’s (Cons MP) motion 388, which covers Internet suicide predators.

"Harold has received all party support for his motion that attempts to clarify the criminal code with relation to Internet suicide predators," he said.

Schadenberg also cited Stephen Fletcher, a Conservative MP who intends to abstain from the vote on the assisted suicide bill.

Fletcher is a cabinet minister from Manitoba who is a C4 quadriplegic after a car accident 15 years ago that severed his spinal chord in his neck. He says Fletcher has a new editorial saying he cannot support C-384 because of how it is written but cannot vote against C-384 because he supports limited euthanasia.

"I met with Fletcher yesterday and I must say that he is an amazing man. He has overcome insurmountable challenges to achieve both the ability to do what he is doing today," the anti-euthanasia activist said. "The meeting was cordial and we were able to discuss where we disagree and where we agree. I hope to meet with him again soon in order to establish common ground."

Schadenberg also talked about how the Quebec College of Physicians has endorsed assisted suicide and is attempting to build support for the bill. He says the Canadian Medical Association has also expressed concern with the statement of the Quebec College.

He is calling on pro-life Canadians and others who oppose assisted suicide to contact their MPs now.

"We need to maintain the pressure on members of parliament. Next week the MP’s will be on a break and will be available in their home riding offices. If you haven’t spoken to your MP yet please do it. You will be surprised how interested they are in this issue right now," he said.

Meanwhile, a new poll conducted by the polling firm Environics for a Canadian pro-life group shows residents of Canada support legalizing assisted suicide, but do so with considerable reservations. The poll finds 61% said they favored legalization if a patient consents but large majorities also have concerns.

Support for assisted suicide included 75% of Quebecers but that support drops to 56% in Ontario, 52% in Atlantic Canada and 51% in Saskatchewan.

However, the poll also found 70% of Canadians worried that if legalization occurs, sick, disabled, or elderly persons would be euthanized without their consent. In addition, 56% were concerned that elderly persons would be pressured to accept euthanasia due to rising health care costs.

Related web sites:
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition –

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