More than 50 religious leaders representing Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim communities have signed an open leader to Canadians explaining their collective opposition to the federal government’s proposed expansion of euthanasia.
“It perplexes our collective minds that we have come so far as a society,” the letter reads. “Yet, at the same time, have so seriously regressed in the manner that we treat the weak, the ill, and the marginalized.”
Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), would remove the requirement that a person must be close to a natural death to access euthanasia, it would remove important safeguards and it would allow some people to be killed on the same day they ask to die. This is an enormous expansion of euthanasia that is being rushed through parliament.
About 14,000 Canadians have been euthanized since the practice was legalized in 2016. Most were suffering from cancer. Fewer than 30 per cent of Canadians can access quality palliative care at the end of their life.
“We are convinced that a robust palliative care system available to all Canadians is a much more effective response to suffering and to protecting the sacred dignity of the human person,” the letter explains. “Palliative care addresses pain in a loving and caring environment, wherein people go out of their way to offer comfort and solace. It makes everyone into a better person.”
On top of greater access to palliative care, the religious leaders are asking that the expansion of euthanasia be slowed, so we can better understand this phenomenon and its effects on the vulnerable.
“We are, in effect, imposing the intentional taking of human life as a solution to human suffering,” the letter reads. “This is not just deeply troubling; it is unacceptable for a civilized society.”
Although it is not in this bill, the federal government has shown an interest in allowing minors and those with mental illness to access euthanasia.
Click below to read the full letter. And please contact your federal member of parliament to express your concerns about Bill C-7.