By Lethbridge Herald on May 6, 2016.
The Liberal government recently introduced the Medical Assistance in Dying Act (Bill C-14) which would amend Canadaâ€™s Criminal code to allow medically-assisted dying for patients whose death is foreseeable given their medical condition.
I am asking for your help as I prepare to vote on Bill C-14 when it makes its final appearance in the House of Commons at â€œThird Readingâ€ (the final vote before Bill C-14 is sent to the Senate for approval).
The new law would allow those who are eligible for publically-funded health-care services in Canada, who are at least 18 years old, to make a voluntary request (with informed consent witnessed by independent witnesses) for medically-assisted dying if they have a â€œgrievous and irremediable medical condition.â€ The procedure could be administered by a physician or nurse practitioner.
To request medical assistance to die, the person must meet the following criteria:
â€¢ They must have a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability;
â€¢ They must be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability;
â€¢ Their illness, disease or disability causes them physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and canâ€™t be relieved under conditions they consider acceptable; and,
â€¢ Their natural death has become reasonably foreseeable.
The June 6 Supreme Court deadline for physician-assisted dying is fast approaching. If no legislation is in place by this date, the Supreme Courtâ€™s guidelines become the law of the land. This means that potentially only one doctorâ€™s involvement would be required, there would be no waiting period between asking for assisted dying and having the procedure completed, and there would be no requirement for written consent.
I believe that my responsibility as the Member of Parliament is to listen to the people I represent. I have posted a survey on my webpage, http://www.RachaelHarder.ca, that asks one question: should I vote yes or no to this legislation? You will find further information about this legislation and several links to organizations in favour and organizations opposed in order to provide voices from each perspective before you vote.
The survey asks for your home address and full name. This information is required so that I know whether or not you are a voter in this riding. Incomplete votes cannot be taken into consideration. This information will not be shared with anyone outside my office.
This referendum is your opportunity to vote according to your own conscience and beliefs. Your feedback will help me better understand the wishes of my constituents. For your voice to be counted, please complete the survey by May 20.
Rachael Harder is the Conservative MP for Lethbridge. Her column appears monthly.