MAiD Providers Give Themselves Permission to Provide More Euthanasia
This week, the Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers (CAMAP) released updated clinical practice guidelines on the meaning of reasonably foreseeable death and its application for physicians.
With the passage of Bill C-7 in 2021, there is no longer a requirement that a person’s death be reasonably foreseeable for them to qualify for medically assisted death. But reasonably foreseeable death has become the hinge for determining whether a patient’s request for MAiD should proceed on the fast track (death can be delivered the same day) or the slow track (which comes with a 90-day waiting period). And instead of Parliament setting the rules, MAiD providers are setting the rules for themselves.
CAMAP provided guidelines in 2019 making it clear that “reasonable foreseeability” was to be interpreted loosely by physicians. There is no set timeline to determine what should be considered reasonably foreseeable death, and doctors have interpreted it as anywhere from within 3 months to within the next 10 years. Rather than clarifying the term within the law and strengthening protections for vulnerable Canadians, the government has instead given even more discretion to MAiD providers.
Christians knew all along that our society was going down a very dangerous road with Bills C-14 (2016) and C-7 (2021). The vagueness in the law left loopholes for clinicians to decide for themselves which patients to kill and when, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing – some providers are actively looking for ways to justify approving patients for death, including reasons of old age and disability.
The new CAMAP report is evidence that Parliament has abdicated its responsibility to protect vulnerable Canadians as they have let MAiD providers set the terms of death. In the absence of good legislation and in a context of diminishing safeguards, MAiD providers are increasingly the sole gatekeepers in deciding who qualifies for MAiD.
This is akin to letting the foxes guard the henhouse. Intentionally killing a human being (with very rare exceptions) is the most serious Criminal Code offence, as is counselling or encouraging someone to commit suicide. Yet we are letting MAiD providers decide who qualifies for assisted death, suggest MAiD as a “treatment option,” and then administer the lethal doses, all with minimal oversight. There is evidence that police stop investigating allegations of culpable homicide if a doctor is involved and MAiD is given as the reason for death. With the patient dead and witness requirements almost non-existent, it is very difficult for doctors to be held accountable if someone suspects a lethal dose was wrongfully administered.
Rather than giving MAiD providers a license to kill their suffering patients, Parliament should actively work to fill the gaps and ambiguities in the current law. Instead of focusing on who qualifies for doctor-assisted death, Parliament must clarify who qualifies for undisputed protection. Requests for MAiD based on old age, mental illness, and disability should automatically be out of bounds. Clarifying this in the law will impose at least some boundaries on MAiD providers and provide some protection for the most vulnerable.
Visit CareNotKill.ca to stay up to date on action items related to euthanasia in Canada, and join us in continuing to call on the federal government to stop the expansion of MAiD.