LONDON, Ontario, July 6, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is warning that pending legislation before the House, Bill C-407, seeks to legalize assisted suicide for Canada. Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde introduced the private members bill last month.
“Make no mistake that this bill introduces the slippery slope we’ve seen in the Netherlands where people who don’t want to be euthanized are,” cautioned Jean Echlin, EPC vice-president and palliative care nurse, according to a London Free Press report. “Canadians have to wake up because it’s coming.”
Echlin, speaking to a London City Kiwanis group Monday, is urging Canadians to become vocal in actively opposing passage of the bill. “I worry they’re going to rush this through without consultation with all Canadians,” she said.
The bill seeks to allow euthanasia for individuals who “appear to be lucid,” and who request assisted suicide twice with at least a 10-day period between each request. Echlin asked the group, “Must appear to be lucid — what does that mean?” She cited concerns that the bill was full of loopholes that could lead to abuse, including eliminating protections that prevent the indiscriminate killing of those who may not want to die.
Echlin, a palliative care “pioneer,” emphasized that now is not the time to introduce assisted suicide legislation, as palliative care is just “coming into its own” as a system of medicine, and it is not necessary for chronically ill or terminally ill patients to suffer pain.
“Of course, when a person’s in pain that isn’t properly managed, they’re going to ask for euthanasia,” Echlin explained. “There is absolutely no excuse in 2005 for a person to face the end of life with pain when so much can be done now to relieve that pain.”
EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg highlighted the large number of deficiencies found in the proposed legislation. “This bill is not about allowing a ‘death with dignity,’” he emphasized. “It legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who suffer chronic physical and mental pain that is treatable.”
“Bill C-407 allows any person to kill another person,”Schadenberg added. “Once society allows one person to kill another person it soon becomes impossible to protect people who are otherwise viewed as a ‘burden’ on society. Bill C-407 is an attack on people with disabilities, people with chronic conditions and other vulnerable Canadians who are already devalued by many members of society. People who need to be protected.”