Key stakeholders react to assisted dying bill
A long-awaited bill tabled Thursday could radically change the future of end-of-life care in Canada by paving the way for patients to legally seek medically assisted death.
The controversial piece of legislation, known as Bill C-14, answers several key questions on assisted dying and lays out strict conditions that patients would need to meet to qualify for the life-ending procedure.
Here are what key stakeholders have to say about the bill:
Sara Fox, daughter of Gillian Bennett, who ended her life because of dementia
“I feel extremely disappointed that dementia is not included. I think that it is cruel that it is un Canadian. I’d like to think if I end up with dementia I would have the same options as someone who has lung cancer or pancreatic cancer,” she told CTV News.
Anne Sutherland Boal, Chief Executive Officer at the Canadian Nurses Association
“The federal government took a moderate approach to this complex issue and provided specifics around the definition, consent and eligibility requirements to receive medical assistance in dying,” she said in a statement.
“The Canadian Nurses Association was pleased to see the federal government respond to the need to ensure that registered nurses and nurse practitioners are protected from criminal prosecution when participating in medical assistance in dying.”
Dr. Cindy Forbes, President of the Canadian Medical Association
“The overall approach announced today is both thoughtful and comprehensive,” she said statement. “The CMA both welcomes and supports the federal government’s response and encourages Parliamentarians to support the advancement of this bill through the legislative process.”
“Today’s federal commitment to exploring mechanisms to support patient access and respect the personal convictions of health care providers will be critical to the pan-Canadian framework on medical assistance in dying,” added Dr. Forbes.
Shanaaz Gokool, CEO of Dying With Dignity Canada
“We are deeply disappointed because we would expect this of the former administration, not from a government that came into power vowing to respect Canadians’ Charter rights. These harsh, discriminatory rules fly in the face of that expectation and will create unfair barriers to access to medical aid in dying. We expected better.”
Dr. Paul Saba, Coalition for Physicians for Social Justice
“What people need here in Quebec and in Canada is good medical care, and when they are at the end of life, they need good quality palliative care,” he told CTV Montreal.
Dr. Charles McVety, President of the Institute for Canadian Values at Canada
“It is sad that our government is now treating precious life so flippantly to allow doctors, nurses and pharmacists to kill people, even without the consent of the patient or the person's family,” he said in an emailed statement. “This legislation is dangerous, reckless and could lead to horror. All we have to do is examine the cases in Europe and Hadamar Hospital to realize the insensitivity underlying this bill. We call upon all citizens of like mind to stand up for the in-firmed and not allow them to be killed."
Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice
“We sought to ensure that we found the best solution for our country and that solution was looking at personal autonomy and making sure we provide the necessary protections of the vulnerable,” she told CTV’s Power Play.
“Within the legislation we referenced specially the issues of mature minors, advanced directives and mental illness to ensure that we can take the appropriate time to study.”
Dr. K. Sonu Gaind, president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association
“A more considered and less rushed approach to the complex issue of MAID and mental illness is welcome,” he said in an emailed statement. “The lack of established standards and guidelines, compounded by barriers to mental illness services and treatments, leaves people with mental illness vulnerable and must be addressed before making (Physician-Assisted Dying) available to them.”