Quebec court hands down ‘robust rejection’ of assisted dying criteria. Here’s what to know

Global News

Maham Abedi

Medically-assisted dying became a discussion point on the second day of the 2019 federal election trail, as leaders reacted to a ruling by the Quebec Superior Court that part of the country’s law is “unconstitutional.”

On Wednesday, a Quebec judge ruled that both the province’s and country’s laws on assisted dying were too restrictive and therefore discriminated against some who sought the procedure. . . [Full text]

Canadian Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of health lead vote against freedom of conscience

Vote in Canadian House of Commons appears to reflect intention to enable provincial governments to coerce participation in homicide and suicide

Sean Murphy*

Canadian Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of health lead vote against freedom of conscienceWith their euthanasia/assisted suicide Bill C-14 about to be debated in the Canadian House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Attorney General/Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott led the governing Liberal Party in a vote in the House against freedom of conscience for health care providers.

The vote was occasioned by a motion proposed by Conservative M.P. Arnold Viersen of Peace River-Westlock:

Vote No 61, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, Sitting No. 57, 17 May, 2016

That, in the opinion of the House:

(a) it is in the public interest to protect the freedom of conscience of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional who objects to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying;

(b) everyone has freedom of conscience and religion under section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;

(c) a regime that would require a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional to make use of effective referral of patients could infringe on the freedom of conscience of those medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, pharmacists or any other health care professional; and

(d) the government should support legislation to protect the freedom of conscience of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional.

Not all members of all parties were present in the House when the vote was taken.  Since MPs may be absent during a vote for various reasons, it is not possible to establish to what extent absenteeism reflected indecision or unwillingness to vote against a party line on the part of individual members.

96 opposition MPs supported freedom of conscience:

Conservatives (98 members): 90/90 present

New Democratic Party (44 members): 5/40 present

Green Party (1 member): 1/1 present

214 MPs opposed freedom of conscience:

Bloc Quebecois (10 members): 10/10 present

New Democratic Party (44 members): 35/40 present

Liberal Party (184 members): 169/169 present

MPs voting against freedom of conscience

NDP:  (Total of 44 elected)

  1. Niki Ashton
  2. Robert Aubin
  3. Sheri Benson
  4. Rachel Blaney
  5. Alexander Boulerice
  6. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet
  7. Ruth Ellen Brosseau
  8. Richard Cannings
  9. Guy Caron
  10. Francois Choquette
  11. David Christopherson
  12. Nathan Cullen
  13. Fin Donnelly
  14. Matthew Dubé
  15. Linda Duncan
  16. Pierre-Luc Dusseault
  17. Scott Duvall
  18. Randall Garrison
  19. Cheryl Hardcastle
  20. Carol Hughes
  21. Peter Julian
  22. Jenny Kwan
  23. Hélène Laverdière
  24. Brian Masse
  25. Irene Mathyssen
  26. Thomas Mulcair
  27. Pierre Nantel
  28. Anne Minh-Thu Quach
  29. Tracey Ramsey
  30. Murray Rankin
  31. Romeo Saganash
  32. Brigitte Sansoucy
  33. Wayne Stetski
  34. Kennedy Stewart
  35. Karine Trudel

Liberal (Total of 184 elected)

  1. John Aldag
  2. Omar Alghabra
  3. Leona Alleslev
  4. William Amos
  5. Gary Anandasangaree
  6. René Arsenault
  7. Chandra Ayra
  8. Ramez Ayoub
  9. Vance Badawey
  10. Larry Bagnell
  11. Navdeep Bains
  12. Frank Baylis
  13. Terry Beech
  14. Carolyn Bennett
  15. Chris Bittle
  16. Bill Blair
  17. Randy Boissonnault
  18. Mike Bossio
  19. Bob Bratina
  20. Pierre Breton
  21. Scott Brison
  22. Celina Caesar-Chavannes
  23. Jim Carr
  24. Sean Casey
  25. Bardish Chagger
  26. Francois-Philippe Champagne
  27. Shaun Chen
  28. Serge Cormier
  29. Rodger Cuzner
  30. Julie Dabrusin
  31. Pam Damoff
  32. Matt DeCourcey
  33. Sukh Dhaliwal
  34. Anju Dhillon
  35. Nicola Di Iorio
  36. Francis Drouin
  37. Emmanuel Dubourg
  38. Jean-Yves Duclos
  39. Terry Duguid
  40. Julie Dzerowicz
  41. Wayne Easter
  42. Ali Ehsassi
  43. Fayçal Al-Khoury
  44. Neil Ellis
  45. Nthaniel Erskine-Smith
  46. Mark Eyking
  47. Doug Eyolfson
  48. Greg Fergus
  49. Andy Fillmore
  50. Pat Finnigan
  51. Darren Fisher
  52. Peter Fonseca
  53. Judy Foote
  54. Peter Fragiskatos
  55. Colin Fraser
  56. Sean Fraser
  57. Stephen Fuhr
  58. Mark Gerretsen
  59. Pam Goldsmith-Jones
  60. Ralph Goodale
  61. Karina Gould
  62. David de Burgh Graham
  63. Raj Grewal
  64. Ken Hardie
  65. T.J. Harvey
  66. Kent Hehr
  67. Mark Holland
  68. Anthony Housefather
  69. Ahmed Hussen
  70. Gudie Hutchings
  71. Angelo Iacono
  72. Mélanie Joly
  73. Yvonne Jones
  74. Bernadette Jordan
  75. Majid Jowhari
  76. Darshan Singh Kang
  77. Iqra Khalid
  78. Kamal Khera
  79. David Lametti
  80. Kevin Lamoureux
  81. Linda Lapointe
  82. Stéphane Lauzon
  83. Dominic LeBlanc
  84. Diane Labouthillier
  85. Paul Lefebvre
  86. Denis Lemieux
  87. Andrew Leslie
  88. Michael Levitt
  89. Joël Lightbound
  90. Alaina Lockhart
  91. Wayne Long
  92. Lloyd Longfield
  93. Karen Ludwig
  94. Lawrence MacAulay
  95. Steven MacKinnon
  96. James Maloney
  97. Rémi Massé
  98. Bryan May
  99. John McCallum
  100. Karen McCrimmon
  101. Ken McDonald
  102. David McGuinty
  103. John McKay
  104. Ron McKinnon
  105. Michael McLeod
  106. Marco Mendicino
  107. MaryAnn Mihychuk
  108. Marc Miller
  109. Maryam Monsef
  110. Robert Morrissey
  111. Joyce Murray
  112. Eva Nassif
  113. Robert Nault
  114. Jennifer O’Connell
  115. Robert Oliphant
  116. John Oliver
  117. Seamus O’Regan
  118. Denis Paradis
  119. Joe Peschisolido
  120. Kyle Peterson
  121. Ginette Petitpas Taylor
  122. Jane Philpott
  123. Michel Picard
  124. Jean-Claude Poissant
  125. Carla Qualtrough
  126. Yasmin Ratansi
  127. Jean Rioux
  128. Yves Robillard
  129. Pablo Rodrguez
  130. Sherry Romanado
  131. Anthony Rota
  132. Kim Rudd
  133. Dan Ruimy
  134. Don Rusnak
  135. Ruby Sahota
  136. Raj Saini
  137. Harjit S. Sajjan
  138. Darrell Samson
  139. Ramesh Sangha
  140. Randeep Sarai
  141. Francis Scarpaleggia
  142. Peter Schiefke
  143. Deborah Schulte
  144. Marc Serré
  145. Judy A. Sgro
  146. Brenda Shanahan
  147. Terry Sheehan
  148. Jati Sidhu
  149. Sonia Sidhu
  150. Gagan Sikand
  151. Scott Simms
  152. Amarjeet Sohi
  153. Francesco Sorbara
  154. Sven Spengemann
  155. Marwan Tabbara
  156. Geng Tan
  157. Filomena Tassi
  158. Hunter Tootoo
  159. Justin Trudeau
  160. Dan Vandal
  161. Anita Vandenbeld
  162. Adam Vaughan
  163. Arif Virani
  164. Nick Whalen
  165. Jonathon Wilkinson
  166. Jody Wilson-Raybould
  167. Borys Wrzesnewskyj
  168. Kate Young
  169. Selma Zahid

Bloc Quebecois (Total of 10 elected)

  1. Xavier Barsalou-Duval
  2. Mario Beaulieu
  3. Michel Boudrias
  4. Rhéal Fortin
  5. Marilène Gill
  6. Simon Marcil
  7. Monique Pauzé
  8. Louis Plamondon
  9. Gabriel Ste. Marie
  10. Luc Thériault

Source: Parliamentary web page

Canadian Liberal party leader orders end to freedom of conscience and expression in party

Sean Murphy*

Justin Trudeau, leader of the Canadian Liberal Party, has declared that a purported “right” to abortion and contraception is more important than freedom of conscience and expression.  He has reaffirmed his intention to enforce his views by suppressing freedom of conscience and expression with respect to abortion among Liberal members of parliament; presumably, this will extend to the rest of the federal Liberal Party as well.  When questioned about the effect of his decision on the ‘Catholic vote,’ he asserted that he, himself, is Catholic, and many Catholics were upset when previous Liberal governments decriminalized homosexual conduct and legalized divorce. [CBC News]  In making the statements, Trudeau was reinforcing a policy announced in May and reiterated in June, when his office confirmed that the policy applies to current MPs as well as all future Liberal candidates. “Mr. Trudeau believes that everyone is welcome to their own personal views,” said his office, but must conform to the party line. [The Guardian]  In response, Prince Edward Island Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay, who professes to be “pro-life,” issued a statement saying, “Despite my personal beliefs, I understand that I will have to vote the party position.” [Lifesite News]

Canadian Doctors Should Not be Forced to Do Abortions or Provide Birth Control


Reproduced with permission

Mike Schouten

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is asking for public input as part of its regular review of policy guidelines. At issue in this current review is the right of doctors to refuse to provide certain treatments based on religious or moral grounds.

There will always be some tension between the moral convictions of an individual medical professional who adheres to his or her own worldview and the different procedures that are legally available in a pluralistic society. The current CPSO guidelines recognize this tension. In an effort to balance competing interests, the policy allows doctors to refrain from performing non-emergency procedures should the procedures violate their individual conscience.

It is always beneficial to review policies and guidelines, especially those pertaining to the health and wellbeing of Canadians. But the current review and discussion over CPSO guidelines is not about improving care for residents of Ontario. Instead, it seems to be about forcing medical professionals to set aside their own worldview and adopt a conflicting one.

To be clear, we are not talking about providing health-care services where a patient’s life is at risk. No, when a discussion about conscience-protection takes place it is almost always surrounding issues such as like infant male circumcision, prescribed birth control, certain types of medications, medicinal marijuana, or an abortion procedure. In the future, this list may very well include euthanasia or assisted suicide.

On occasion, the tension between the conscience of a doctor and the desire of a patient is experienced in a tangible way. Kate Desjardins is a 25-year-old Ottawa resident who, earlier this year, entered a walk-in clinic to have her prescription for birth control renewed. However, this was not a routine visit. As Ms. Desjardins quickly found out, the doctor on duty did not prescribe contraceptives. Although Ms. Desjardins’ life wasn’t in danger and she could most certainly have secured a prescription renewal at any number of surrounding clinics, her experience has been highlighted by those pushing to have the conscience objection nullified by the CPSO.

It’s not about availability of services, but about imposing morality on all physicians.

Clearly this isn’t about adequate and timely access to health-care, both of which were still available to Ms. Desjardins. Essentially, this is about a patient’s right to access all medical services from any doctor of his or her choosing. It’s not about availability of services, but about imposing morality on all physicians, to the point where doctors need to violate their own conscience in order to serve their patients.

Justin Trudeau was chastised from a wide variety of Canadians when he decided to impose his worldview on the Liberal Party of Canada by forcing Liberal MPs to violate their consciences in the event that an abortion law ever made it to a vote in Parliament. The same principle applies in the present debate surrounding conscience protection for physicians. This is a battle about conflicting worldviews, not adequate access to healthcare. The target of leftist ideologues include all those who hold to a worldview (religious or otherwise) opposed to their own. So, who actually is forcing their religion on whom?

Canadians are not perishing because doctors won’t take part in elective, non-emergency medical procedures

On the one hand, we have doctors arguing for their freedom of conscience, which is guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And on the other, we have patients who believe they have the right to a medical procedure from any physician of their choosing. If the object of the CPSO guidelines is to balance rights and obligations, then taking away conscience objections would throw balance out the window altogether.

Conscience-protection guidelines are vital if we are to have a well functioning and vibrant health care system. As Dr. Margaret Somerville, the founding director of the Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law at McGill University said recently, “Do you really want to be treated by a doctor who doesn’t care if he thinks that he’s doing something unconscionable or unethical or immoral?”

Canadians are not perishing because doctors won’t take part in elective, non-emergency medical procedures. That someone was offended because they had to walk a few extra blocks to renew their birth control prescription does not justify the CPSO forcing doctors to contravene their Charter-protected freedom of conscience.

Liberal Party of Canada adopts pro-euthanasia/assisted suicide policy

Canada’s Liberal Party, meeting at a policy convention in Montreal, Quebec, has overwhelmingly adopted a policy resolution favouring the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide.  However, the policy is not binding on the party leader, Justin Trudeau, so it is not certain that it will be included in his official platform in the next Canadian federal election.  The policy resolution calls for a change in the law after public consultation.  [National Post]