Conservative Table Bill to Repeal MAID for those Struggling with Mental Illness
On Monday, my Conservative Colleague Ed Fast, Member of Parliament for Abbotsford, along with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre and Senator Denise Batters, tabled Bill C-314: A private member’s bill to stop the Liberals’ expansion of MAID (medical assistance in dying) or assisted suicide to vulnerable Canadians with mental illnesses.
The Liberal Government continues to ignore the growing chorus of concerned experts and advocates who say expansion of MAID to the mentally ill risks the lives of vulnerable Canadians.
In one year, by March of 2024, the Liberal Government will recklessly expand MAID to provide access to assisted suicide for those struggling exclusively with mental illness.
Medically assisted deaths in Canada rose by 35% from 2020 to 2021. These numbers were higher among vulnerable groups including the elderly and the poor.
54% of Canadians say their mental health has deteriorated over the past few years. This is particularly so among young people. Only 17% of Canadians between 18-24 say their mental health has not worsened.
To open up MAID to Canadians suffering from depression or other treatable illnesses—or mental illnesses where the irremediability is unclear—is as reckless as it is negligent.
As Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre stated: “Canadians struggling with mental health deserve hope and treatment. Instead of working to provide Canadians with a life worth living, the Liberals have given up on the most vulnerable.”
Rather than keep their election promise to fund provide additional funding for mental health care—one of the few Liberal spending initiatives Conservatives are on board with—they have chosen to give up on, or worse, kill the most vulnerable Canadians.
As John Maher, Psychiatrist at the Canadian Mental Health Association, president of the Association for ACT and FACT and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics in Mental Health writes:
“Inducement to suicide while simultaneously denying mental health care to two-thirds of Canadians who urgently need it is an unconscionable failing. MAID for mental illness absolutely violates the Supreme Court requirement to preserve life whenever possible. Directly undermining suicide prevention efforts is an insidious and ablest perversion of our mental health care duty. Mental illness is treatable, and death is not treatment.”
As one advocate (who is himself a survivor of a suicide attempt) stated: “The state of our mental healthcare system is a result of choices that governments have made, not us. In such a context, to conclude that recovery is impossible for some people while profound systemic failings are concurrently contributing to their suffering, is a little like a hostage taker gaslighting their captive and framing their death as a mercy. The compassionate solution is to stop taking us hostage in the first place.”
Unlike the Liberals, Canada’s Conservatives are listening to the experts and those affected.
Unlike the Liberals, Conservatives believe in promoting a culture of life, and upholding the value and worth of vulnerable Canadians.