Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has come under fire after it emerged that he will push his MPs to vote in favour of a new law, which would usher in euthanasia and assisted suicide.
In an interview with Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc said that Liberal MPs will be required to adhere to the party line – which is pro-assisted suicide.
The Canadian Government was tasked with drawing up legislation last February, after the Supreme Court ruled that doctors should be allowed to bring about the death of patients by means of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Since the ruling, a number of groups have raised serious concerns with any move to change the law.
Earlier this month, experts warned that the inherent dangers of such a move would be compounded by Canada’s poor palliative care services.
In a recent study, Canada was ranked only 27 in a list of 40 countries in providing “affordable end-of-life care”.
A spokesman for the Canadian Cancer Society cautioned that by focusing on the provision of assisted suicide and euthanasia, the Government may fail to address the deficiency in good palliative care.
Giving evidence to a parliamentary committee, Gabriel Miller raised the prospective “tragedy” of patients asking for euthanasia or assisted suicide because they cannot access proper care.
Ethicist and professor of law and medicine Margaret Somerville, pointed out that people who have asked for euthanasia have “changed their minds very often when offered and given good palliative care and pain management”.
She also noted that in modern culture the “exercise of autonomy” is often “equated with human dignity”, and the loss of autonomy is considered a loss of dignity.
But Somerville stressed that “human dignity is intrinsic to being human, and as long as you’re human, you have dignity, and you must be respected in the way that all humans need to be respected”.