OTTAWA, Oct. 6, 2009 (CCRL) – Bill C-384, the private member’s bill that would legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in certain cases, received its first hour of parliamentary debate on Friday, Oct. 2.

The debate included eight speeches on C-384 with two in favour: Francine Lalonde (BQ), who introduced the bill originally, and Serge Cardin – (BQ). There were six opposed: David Anderson (CPC), Hon John McKay (Lib), Jacques Gourde (CPC), Hon Marlene Jennings (Lib), Joe Comartin (NDP), Paul Szabo – (Lib).

Follow this link for the official transcript of the debate. Scroll down to “Private Member’s Business.”

Under rules of parliamentary procedure, a private member’s bill receives two hours of debate before it is voted upon after second reading. C-384 is tentatively scheduled to receive its second hour of debate on November 16, 2009.

The League urges those who have not yet expressed their opposition to Bill C-384 to phone or write a letter to their MP. The experience in the few jurisdictions that have made euthanasia and assisted suicide legal suggests that even the most limited legalization will lead to a more widespread acceptance of the practices. There are also significant difficulties in obtaining genuinely informed consent, and perhaps most problematic of all, problems in record keeping that make it very difficult to track abuses. 

The League believes that any legalization of “mercy killing” will lead to the devaluation of the lives of the seriously ill and disabled, and pressures on them and their families to hasten their demise. A strong commitment to palliative care, including effective pain relief, will help alleviate the concerns Canadians have about end-of-life care.