Canadian MP Introduces Bill to Legalize Euthanasia Again



June 24, 2008

crossAction Item: ARPA Canada readers may remember the article “Euthanasia on the Horizon” which warned of this development. It includes a list of suggested action items. Also, for an analysis of Bill C-562 and for purchasing post cards to send to your MP in response to it, go to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition’s website.

By John Jalsevac – OTTAWA, ON, June 23, 2008 ( – Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde has made good on her promise to resurrect a bill that, if passed, would legalize euthanasia in Canada. Lalonde’s previous attempt to legalize euthanasia failed after her proposed bill, Bill C-407, died on the table when an election was called in December 2005.

Shortly after Bill C-407 died, Lalonde expressed her intention to continue pursuing the legalization of euthanasia in Canada. Her latest attempt to do so was unveiled on June 12, in the form of Bill C-562, a slightly revised version of C-407.

The official summary of C-562 says, “This enactment amends the Criminal Code to allow a medical practitioner, subject to certain conditions, to aid a person who is experiencing severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief or is suffering from a terminal illness to die with dignity once the person has expressed his or her free and informed consent to die.”

C-562 would require that anyone seeking euthanasia be at least 18 years of age, have a terminal illness, have tried or expressly refused the appropriate treatments available and have continued to experience severe physical or mental pain without any prospect of relief.

In introducing the bill, Lalonde told the House, “Mr. Speaker, I am moved this morning when I think about all of the people who supported the first version of this bill and were so eager to see it implemented.

“However, my thoughts go especially to all those who are suffering, who meet the conditions in this bill and who could choose to die with dignity. As long as the Criminal Code is not amended-and I am proposing that it should be-they will not have this choice.

“I hope that this Parliament will make it possible for these people to exercise this ultimate freedom.”

Alex Schadenberg, the chairman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said of Bill C-562, “The bill is a direct threat to the lives of people with disabilities and/or chronic conditions.”

Schandenberg criticized the bill on account of the fact that “it establishes euthanasia and assisted suicide as treatment options for problems that are properly solved by effective and compassionate medical care.”

Furthermore, he observed, “It changes the trust relationship between the medical practitioner and the patient.

“Society cannot legislate autonomy and choice in relation to acts that intentionally and directly cause death. No level of safeguard will ever protect vulnerable people from the subtle pressure to ‘choose’ death.”

This bill, Schadenberg said, “directly and intentionally threatens the lives of the most vulnerable members of society.”

Schadenberg concluded, urging Canadians to tell their legislators to reject C-562, saying, “Canadians must promote the right of every Canadian to excellent end-of-life care and to guarantee that every Canadian is treated with respect and dignity until their natural death.”

Bill C-407: Euthanasia, Bill C-562: Euthanasia, Life Email Us 

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