Back in 2016, the Trudeau Liberals introduced and ultimately passed Bill C-14, legalizing medical assistance in dying (MAID) i.e. assisted suicide, in Canada.
In September of last year, a Quebec court ruled that the existing law was too restrictive and called on the government to adjust it. The court argued that it was unconstitutional to limit MAID to those nearing the end of life and called on the federal government to expand access beyond those who were terminally ill.
While this ruling only applies in the province of Quebec, during the election campaign, Justin Trudeau announced that a re-elected Liberal government would expand federal legislation to bring it in line with the court ruling.
I was, and remain, firmly opposed to physician-assisted suicide. I expressed my concern at the time that to legalize MAID for one group would only be the first step down a slippery slope.
However, knowing the Liberal majority intended to pass the legislation, I worked hard alongside other concerned colleagues to build important safeguards into the existing law.
My first priority when reviewing laws around physician-assisted death has always been the protection of the vulnerable. As the Liberals prepare to reopen this discussion, we must continue to be vigilant to ensure children, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those experiencing mental illness have their right to life underscored and reaffirmed.
It is also vital that we continue to stand up for the rights of those medical professionals who feel participation in MAID violates their conscience, medical ethics or religious beliefs.
As part of this process, the Government of Canada is consulting Canadians about their views on MAID eligibility and I want to invite you to participate.
Please be sure your voice is part of this conversation by participating in the online consultation here.
The final day to submit your feedback is Monday, January 27.