Canadian Backer of Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide Postpones Debate to 2010

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 25, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Canadian Backer of Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide Postpones Debate to 2010

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 25
, 2009

Ottawa, Canada ( — MP Francine Lalonde apparently needs more time to gather votes for her bill to legalize assisted suicide as the member of the Canadian Parliament has postponed the debate on her legislation a third time. The bill, C-384, was originally scheduled for a debate and vote last week.

Not having enough votes, Lalonde initially moved her legislation back to December.

Now, Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells that the new scheduled date for the debate on C-384 is Tuesday, February 2 of next year — with a vote the following day.

"We are convinced that Lalonde is trying to delay the debate and the vote on C-384 because she knows that the bill will be defeated," Schadenberg told today. "By delaying the vote she is gaining time to create a national debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada."

Despite Lalonde’s decision, EPC will continue with its plans to host a media conference on Tuesday at Parliament Hill.

There, Steven Passmore, the disability advocate who was born with cerebral palsy, will speak out against C-384 and conducting media interviews.

Schadenberg says the delay on the debate and vote on the assisted suicide bill doesn’t make it any more palatable.

"Remember: C-384 gives medical practitioners the right to directly and intentionally cause the death of their patients, if the patient ‘appears to be lucid,’ and is suffering chronic physical or mental pain or is terminally ill," he explained. "That means that a person who is not terminally ill but ‘appears to be lucid’ and is living with chronic depression can be directly and intentionally killed by a medical practitioner."

"We need to maintain the political pressure on every MP in Canada. We need you to send hand-written letters to your MP or to every MP," he urged pro-life and anti-euthanasia advocates.

A recent 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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