November 16, 2023
TO: The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying
RE: Recommendation 13 of the Second Report
The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) is a national lay Catholic organization committed to combating anti-Catholic defamation, working with the media to secure a fair hearing for Catholic positions on issues of public debate, and lobbying government and intervening in court challenges in support of law and policy compatible with a Catholic understanding of human nature and the common good.
Regarding a safe and adequate application of MAiD in cases where mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition, it is the position of the CCRL simply that it must never occur.
The CCRL has previously made eight submissions to committees and expert panels on this issue and to the expansion of MAiD generally. We alerted our concerns at the Carter hearings at the Supreme Court of Canada, and we are now witnessing the encroachment into the contentious and ethical standards for physicians and healthcare workers.
For a roughly similar population Canada’s rate of euthanasia deaths is about 10 times greater than the similar access to this troubling “service” in California. In excess of 50, 000 have taken their lives over the past six years, such that MAiD is now the fifth highest cause of death in Canada.
That physician assisted death may be administered to patients where mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition, is something with which most Canadians do not agree.
A May 2023 poll by Angus Reid found that just 28 percent of Canadians favoured expanding the country’s MAiD laws to the mentally ill. Various Canadian psychiatry schools and psychiatric organizations have opposed the law’s expansion.
With the rise of publicly visible signs of a disturbing growth of people living with mental illness among us, Canadians are ill at ease with the sheer number of people living with poor or inadequate treatment. We are told of long wait periods for treatment regimes and of other challenges posed in the treatment of those with mental disorders. By contrast, MAiD can be accessed conceivably within 90 days.
It is morally reprehensible to offer MAiD to Canadians as a quicker and easier solution than providing adequate care. Of course, the solution offered by MAiD is irreversible.
The CCRL continues to advocate for properly available mental health supports which remains woefully inadequate despite broad public support for such expansions.
We also remain particularly concerned of the impact on health care professionals, and medical students, who will face increasing pressure on the delivery of death in response to the need for care.
We appeal to any of you who are able to send a donation to the CCRL by clicking here or by mailing a cheque to the CCRL at PO Box 84505, RPO Bloor West, Toronto, ON, M6S 4Z7, or by calling the office at (416) 466-8244.
About the CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. The CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization with a large nationwide membership base. The CCRL is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
To donate to the CCRL, please click here.
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