More than a dozen patients are killed by euthanasia daily in Canada, where Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government legalized euthanasia just under four years ago and has announced it will enforce broader new regulations allowing patients who are suffering — but not terminally ill — to have access to Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).
MAiD is the government’s euphemism for a procedure that allows doctors and nurse practitioners to administer fatal drugs to patients.
The province of Quebec’s health minister, Danielle McCann, told a news conference on Jan. 21 that people with “mental-health issues who aren’t responding to treatment” would also have access to the procedure, which was recently used to euthanize a depressed man in British Columbia against his family’s objections.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin’s September 2019 ruling struck down the criteria that patients seeking doctor-assisted death be “near death” and imposed a March 11, 2020, deadline for her province to make MAiD available to those with incurable illness. Rather than challenging the court decision, at the Trudeau government’s direction, the federal Department of Justice has launched a public “consultation” process in preparation for sweeping expansions to the new euthanasia legislation.
In addition to the consultation, which is receiving little media coverage, the Department of Justice also instigated a five-year legislative review to begin this summer. “While this ruling only applies in the province of Quebec, the government of Canada has accepted the ruling and has committed to changing the MAiD law for the whole country,” says the consultation preamble.
Canadians had until Jan. 27 to answer an online questionnaire that assumes public consent to euthanasia, but asks citizens to rate the importance of regulations such as the 10-day waiting period between the request and execution of MAiD.
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