Bill C-7 is opposed by legal scholars, bioethicists, doctors, disabled people, and people across the political spectrum. There is no consensus in support of Bill C-7. Explore some of the statements that people have made against Bill C-7 below.
Bill C-7 fundamentally alters health care providers’ professional and legal obligations related to the standard of care by presenting the ending-of-life as another therapeutic option, without requiring that reasonable options are made available and explored first. In doing so, the Bill moves Canada beyond the most liberal MAiD regimes in the world and fundamentally alters long-standing legal and ethical norms of health care practice.
Trudo Lemmens & Mary J Shariff
I pick liveable income. I pick fully funded supports. I pick free education. I pick truly affordable and genuinely accessible home and community. I pick living with dignity. When is that Bill’s first reading?
Dignity Denied Co-Founder, Gabrielle Peters
The expansion of “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAiD) beyond those whose death is foreseeable will have a lasting effect on the Indigenous populations in Canada, who suffer from greater health inequalities than non-Indigenous peoples in areas of life expectancy, rates of chronic diseases, disabilities, mental illness, chronic pain, and access to health services.
Tyler White, Siksika Nation
ARCH urges the Senate to secure a commitment from the Government of Canada to refer Bill C-7 to the Supreme Court to determine whether the sections that allow for persons with grievous and irremediable medical conditions whose death is not reasonably foreseeable to be eligible for MAID respect the Charter rights of people with disabilities.
Robert Lattanzio, ARCH Disability Law Centre
Pain, discomfort, avoidable health complications and suffering can be caused by a lack of access to supports and services when a person returns to life in the community. Living alone, financially strapped and with no support could drive any one of us to choose medical assistance in dying.
Bill Adair, Spinal Cord Injury Canada
As I proceeded through rehabilitation then a career in non-government organization leadership and a law practice focused on human rights and health law I have seen that my story is not the same for far too many people facing tragic circumstances and catastrophic injuries. Indeed, all too frequently I observe that
in the face of broad discrimination and barriers, my disabled peers and clients seriously contemplate suicide due to environmental rather than physical maladies. David Shannon
In many cases people who are poor, racialized, and disabled are not awarded the assistances and quality of life due to government imposed economic constraints that will unduly tilt the calculus towards MAID. This is harmful and wrong, and will push people already in vulnerable situations towards death.
As medical doctors, we feel compelled to voice our dismay at how individuals who have little lived experience of the realities involved in the everyday practice of medicine suddenly and fundamentally changed the nature of medicine by decriminalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.
MAiD to MAD, a statement signed by over 1000 physicians
I implore the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to expand the scope of the field of scholars and other interested parties from which it gathers views on the expansion of MAID. The current body of bioethicists and philosophers who have hitherto represented themselves as the professional and disciplinary experts on the subject for legislative purposes on the issue have little background knowledge on the social epistemology of disability and are not recognized as experts in philosophy of disability by practitioners in this subfield of philosophy. In short, they should not be regarded as authorities on the current social situation of disabled people and what is required to improve it.
As disabled people, we are conditioned to view ourselves as burdensome. We are taught to apologize for our existence, and to be grateful for the tolerance of those around us.
Dignity Denied Co-founder, Spring Hawes
One of the problems with Bill C7 is that currently it does not have safeguards in place to protect people from making not only an ‘un-informed’ but an ‘un-experienced’ decision about dying in the early stages after a severe neurological impairment. It is insufficient to be offered counselling or supports.
It was necessary for me to become reintegrated in community life. Kristine Cowley
The government’s reckless approach will, in turn, fuel the existing stereotypes that the lives of persons with disabilities have less value than the lives of others, that persons with disabilities are better off dead, that they are a burden on the state and their loved ones, and that they have a lousy quality of life.
The majority of people who have had a spinal cord injury [in my study] considered ending their lives once they knew they were paralyzed. However, every single one of my participants said in that early time frame they actually would not have been able to make an informed decision to die, even though many wanted to die.
They realized they couldn’t experience the context of their life without rehabilitation, integrating into the community, and having the opportunity to reframe their views. Dr. Tchajkova
Being offered MAID in that early period when they are vulnerable and don’t realize the excellent quality of life their future may hold is a failure to understand the medical evidence.
Dr Karen Ethans
Bill C7 should be amended to include as a requirement, appropriate trial of therapies aimed at relieving suffering, such as management from a palliative care physician, psychiatrist, pain specialist or physical medicine and rehab specialist. Social determinants of health, such as finances, housing, and vocational training should also be addressed prior to qualifying for MAID.
Dr Thomas Fung
Before any bill increases access to death, we must require that access to life-saving services are available. No expansion of assisted suicide should be passed before the basic needs of disabled people to live in dignity are legally assured. If we aren’t offered the means to live well first, people should not offer to kill us.
Bill C-7 is not progressive, it is unjust and discriminatory.To believe otherwise is to demonstrate naivety and a shameful disconnect from the lived experiences of disabled people in this country[…] My heart breaks and bleeds when I consider what Bill C-7 will mean for me and my disabled kin in the future–an ongoing threat to our lives in a society so indoctrinated by eugenic ideology that it seeks to put us down like wounded animals rather than offering us the dignity of being human beings.
I am extremely concerned about the implementation of the legislation on medical assistance in dying from a disability perspective. I have been informed that there is no protocol in place to demonstrate that persons with disabilities have been provided with viable alternatives when eligible for assistive dying. I have further received worrisome claims about persons with disabilities in institutions being pressured to seek medical assistance in dying, and practitioners not formally reporting cases involving persons with disabilities. I urge the federal government to investigate these complaints and put into place adequate safeguards to ensure that persons with disabilities do not request assistive dying simply because of the absence of community-based alternatives and palliative care.
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Ms. Catalina Devandas-Aguilar