Palliative Care and Motion 456
The pressure continues for our Parliament to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia. While the push to legalize it through the back door in Québec has stalled, it most likely will be a battle that picks up again very soon. You can read about the battle in that province here. And while the battle in the provincial legislature in Québec raged, the battle for legalizing euthanasia through the courts continues as well, with another appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. And in the federal Parliament, there continue to be calls for legalizing euthanasia, with yet another pair of bills attempting to legalize physician-assisted suicide. So, on three fronts (provincial government, federal government, and in the courts) the battle for life rages. What are we to do?
One thing (among many) that we can do is support a new NDP motion on palliative care. Canada needs a national strategy for palliative care. In contrast to a push for legalized euthanasia, Mr. Charlie Angus wants to shift the discussion to how to improve end of life care. With M-456, Mr. Angus has changed the nature of the debate, taking the focus away from terminating people who are suffering, and instead focusing on ways to terminate the suffering in people. Read more…
Palliative care is good public policy. In a nation with a deeply ingrained nationalized health care system, end-of-life care is a question that must be wrestled with by Parliamentarians as well as citizens and private institutions. A truly compassionate response to euthanasia can be found in palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to eliminate pain and make people as comfortable as possible at the end of their life as they prepare to pass into the next. This alleviates the fear of suffering and the terror of pain that motivates so many of the calls for euthanasia.
If you agree that a national discussion and strategy on palliative care is a good thing, we encourage you to send your MP an EasyMail letter, urging them to support M-456. The motion needs cross-partisan support, in order to pass. Already many Liberals and Conservatives are supporting it but not enough to guarantee the motion passes. The next vote on this motion is tentatively scheduled for May 14th. Regardless of your MP’s affiliation, they need to hear from you. You might also want to sign this online petition in support of the motion. To read a letter from Mr. Angus about the motion, see the attached document. You can also view a fact sheet and a printable petition.