18 June 2009
For Immediate Release
Winnipeg—The COUNCIL OF CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES (CCD) believes that everyone who supports disability rights should oppose Bill C-384 which would legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide and put Canadians with disabilities at risk! CCD is a national human rights organization of persons with disabilities working for an accessible and inclusive Canada.
C-384, the private member’s bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada received its first reading last month. Bill C-384 was introduced by the Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament - Francine Lalonde. This is Lalonde’s third attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.
Bill C-384 legalizes euthanasia by amending section 222 of the Criminal Code and it legalizes assisted suicide by amending section 241 of the Criminal Code.
“Called the “Right to Die with Dignity” Act, this bill threatens the lives of Canadians with disabilities. Its selling points are the notions of “dignity,” and “suffering.” However, the bill never explains what these terms mean. How do we measure dignity? What is suffering?” states Rhonda Wiebe, Co-Chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee. These terms are based more on social values than scientific ones, but this bill proposes that a “medical” and “legal” solution be the remedy for people whose lives are not “dignified” and who “suffer.”
“Living without dignity and suffering are common misperceptions that able-bodied Canadians have about the lives of their fellow citizens with disabilities. Bill C-384 does nothing to protect those who find themselves socially devalued in these ways,” states Dean Richert, Co-Chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee.
Social support and meaningful involvement in the community are more important for the well-being of people with disabilities than the severity of their disabilities. Assisted suicide is not a free choice as long as they are denied adequate healthcare, affordable personal assistance in their communities, and equal access to social structures and systems.
For More Information Contact: