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Kill Bill C-7 Petition Looking for Signatories

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Hi everyone! Some students at Windsor Law created a petition to #KillBillC7. We're looking for law students across the country to sign: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdIiOnOyboww2Gfwi9pP428ZLiUmjCGE0N_sLmFiVwDZ1q6qg/viewform?fbclid=IwAR0WthWUjzI4Nc60Cv2YhCJ4x1XUYWzHvb7aOGWI5hV1Ad319OVzXFQ4vGI 

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For the rest of us: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/pl/charter-charte/c7.html

Overview

Medical assistance in dying (MAID) involves a number of competing interests and societal values. The interests and values that Bill C-7 seeks to balance include the autonomy of individuals who are eligible to receive MAID, the protection of vulnerable persons from being induced to end their lives and the need to address suicide as a public health issue. The particular balance struck by Bill C-7, which differs from that under the existing law, was informed by the Quebec Superior Court decision in Truchon v. Canada (2019), Canadian and international evidence, and by recent consultations on MAID in Canada.

Under the existing law, individuals who seek medical assistance in dying must satisfy all of the eligibility criteria set out in subsections 241.2(1) and 241.2(2) of the Criminal Code. In particular, they must be 18 years of age or older, capable to make decisions with respect to their health and eligible for health services funded by the federal government, a province or a territory. They must make a voluntary request for MAID that is not the result of external pressure and must give informed consent, after having been informed of the means available to relieve their suffering. Finally, they must have a grievous and irremediable medical condition, as defined in subsection 241.2(2). A person with a grievous and irremediable medical condition is someone who has a serious and incurable illness, disease, or disability, who is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability, who is experiencing enduring and intolerable suffering that cannot be relieved under conditions acceptable to them, and whose natural death has become reasonably foreseeable.

Amendments to eligibility criteria

Bill C-7 would amend the Criminal Code to permit MAID for individuals whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable. However, the Bill would continue to prohibit MAID for individuals whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness.

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How does expanding access to medically assisted death for people suffering intolerably undermine rather than enhance the rights of people with disabilities? What am I missing here?

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2 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

How does expanding access to medically assisted death for people suffering intolerably undermine rather than enhance the rights of people with disabilities? What am I missing here?

I don’t agree with the position, but apparently some believe that it diminishes the value of disabled lives to broaden access to MAiD. 
 

See this op ed for example: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-canadas-proposed-expansion-of-assisted-death-threatens-to-push-the/

Edited by almostnot
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Taylor Hyatt recently testified that her doctor suggested that she might look into the possibility of medically assisted death. She was then in her twenties and had pneumonia, so this would not be the customary indicated therapy. But Taylor was disabled and in a wheelchair. She would eventually recover from her pneumonia, as most twentysomethings do.

“All the doctor seemed to see, though, was a disabled woman alone, sick, tired and probably tired of living,” said Hyatt. A quick injection could take care of all that, especially the “living” part.
 

Fr. Raymond de Souza reports in National Post

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/nationalpost.com/opinion/raymond-j-de-souza-canadians-need-more-palliative-care-not-same-day-death-on-demand/wcm/d02fc778-d2b8-40ff-bb88-8920bb795178/amp/

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12 hours ago, CleanHands said:

I actually find the petition somewhat offensive after reading it closely.

"All people with disabilities?" This is extremely presumptuous and disingenuous. There is not a consensus on this issue among those with disabilities, by any stretch.

It seems rather backwards to me that providing someone with an option is somehow "infringing on [their] rights." And per @Hegdis's post above, "[t]hey must make a voluntary request for MAID that is not the result of external pressure and must give informed consent."

There are legitimate concerns to raise and debate to be had here, but this petition is hyperbolic in the extreme and ironically disrespects those with disabilities who don't take the same view, under the guise of advocacy for people with disabilities.

Law students are being hyperbolic? In the 21st century? Surely not.

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21 minutes ago, Mooreeffoc said:

Taylor Hyatt recently testified that her doctor suggested that she might look into the possibility of medically assisted death. She was then in her twenties and had pneumonia, so this would not be the customary indicated therapy. But Taylor was disabled and in a wheelchair. She would eventually recover from her pneumonia, as most twentysomethings do.

“All the doctor seemed to see, though, was a disabled woman alone, sick, tired and probably tired of living,” said Hyatt. A quick injection could take care of all that, especially the “living” part.
 

Fr. Raymond de Souza reports in National Post

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/nationalpost.com/opinion/raymond-j-de-souza-canadians-need-more-palliative-care-not-same-day-death-on-demand/wcm/d02fc778-d2b8-40ff-bb88-8920bb795178/amp/

So, are you implying that because a doctor was rude, insensitive and offensive to a patient who didn't want medical assistance in dying once, that we should therefore refuse to give people who are enduring great suffering access to medical assistance in dying that they request and provide informed consent for, free of coercion?

Sorry; in my view the express desires of people to make autonomous decisions about their own lives and to be to able to end their suffering if they desire outweighs some abstract, academic concern about the message sent by permitting that. And it's not even a close call.

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17 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

So, are you implying that because a doctor was rude, insensitive and offensive to a patient who didn't want medical assistance in dying once, that we should therefore refuse to give people who are enduring great suffering access to medical assistance in dying that they request and provide informed consent for, free of coercion?

Sorry; in my view the express desires of people to make autonomous decisions about their own lives and to be to able to end their suffering if they desire outweighs some abstract, academic concern about the message sent by permitting that. And it's not even a close call.

I didn’t open the article so forgive this half-baked take. However, given the publication, I’d put real money on the author being against all forms of medical assistance in dying and this is just the latest missive in a crusade. 

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"We demand that the legislature pass arbitrary and confusing legislation, and that the SCC figure it out!"

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Father De Souza probably has some pretty strong convictions, which he is perfectly entitled to express.

Does anyone have an actual live link to the petition? 

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As a solicitor I do hundred of Wills/POAs every year and talk to all of those clients about their healthcare wishes. Most of these clients are elderly and many have disabilities. 

Overwhelmingly, when we discuss MAID it is because my clients wish the current legal framework was more accessible. On numerous occasions people have very much wanted me to type a healthcare wish into their POA for Personal Care that basically says "end my life if I am in pain or terminally ill and the legislation at the time will allow you to make such a decision". These people are typically disappointed when I explain the current limited scope of MAID. 

Being said, I can see and appreciate the criticisms of the bill. There is a dystopian possibility here where people with disabilities are not receiving proper financial support from the state and they decide to end their lives, making a decision they would not have made had they been receiving proper financial support to elevate them out of poverty and improve their lives. This isn't hyperbole - it's a valid critique. 

https://archdisabilitylaw.ca/resource/submission-to-the-senate-on-bill-c-7-medical-assistance-in-dying/ 

So the debate is real. Perhaps there are more thoughtful definitions, frameworks, and processes here than have been proposed.

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5 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Being said, I can see and appreciate the criticisms of the bill. There is a dystopian possibility here where people with disabilities are not receiving proper financial support from the state and they decide to end their lives, making a decision they would not have made had they been receiving proper financial support to elevate them out of poverty and improve their lives. This isn't hyperbole - it's a valid critique. 

The thing is, I don't think that's an argument against MAID. It's argument for social welfare programs. To use that as an argument against MAID basically amounts to saying that we should force people to continue to live in situations that are so stressful and terrible as to make them want to kill themselves. If one tries to use it as an argument both for social welfare programs and against MAID simultaneously, the logic of opposing MAID on that basis collapses because the anti-MAID rationale would disappear if the programs were actually implemented.

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26 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

The thing is, I don't think that's an argument against MAID. It's argument for social welfare programs. To use that as an argument against MAID basically amounts to saying that we should force people to continue to live in situations that are so stressful and terrible as to make them want to kill themselves. If one tries to use it as an argument both for social welfare programs and against MAID simultaneously, the logic of opposing MAID on that basis collapses because the anti-MAID rationale would disappear if the programs were actually implemented.

I think the fundamental argument being advanced is that the amended version of MAID being put forth should only exist in a country with a robust system of social support for people with disabilities. The latter is not true right now so the amended version of MAID is too dangerous. 

I am not saying I agree with this but I don't think there is any logical error being made by the advocacy groups. 

 

 

Edited by BringBackCrunchBerries
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7 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

The thing is, I don't think that's an argument against MAID. It's argument for social welfare programs. To use that as an argument against MAID basically amounts to saying that we should force people to continue to live in situations that are so stressful and terrible as to make them want to kill themselves. If one tries to use it as an argument both for social welfare programs and against MAID simultaneously, the logic of opposing MAID on that basis collapses because the anti-MAID rationale would disappear if the programs were actually implemented.

I see what you're saying here, but you're acting like legislation exists in a vacuum. Sure, the underlying rationale for opposing MAID on the basis of chronically underfunded social programs would disappear if we had an adequate social safety net. I take it that most people who oppose this incarnation of MAID on these grounds would be sympathetic to more compassionate social welfare programs. Undeniably, this is an argument for those programs, but it's also a question of what we do in the moment knowing that there is a lack of social and economic support for accommodating people with disabilities.

The argument as I understand it is that relaxing the MAID criteria in the context of our system of social inequality creates a situation where the state's solution to the stressful and terrible situations you allude to is MAID, even where these stressful and terrible situations are socially constructed, rather than the result of disability.

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9 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

I think the fundamental argument being advanced is that the amended version of MAID being put forth should only exist in a country with a robust system of social support for people with disabilities. The latter is not true right now so the amended version of MAID is too dangerous. 

I understand that argument but I hate it. Essentially it is an argument that we should adopt a paternalistic approach and not give effect to people's autonomous decisions, because the conditions in our society are bad enough for that to lead to harmful effects. It's also a broad, brute force approach to argue that this means we shouldn't have MAID at all for people who are not terminally ill, rather than building in safeguards and restrictions into a MAID system. There are undoubtedly people who would elect to pursue MAID who clearly would not be faced with those sorts of conditions. To deny them a choice because theoretically someone else could be facing external pressures doesn't seem reasonable.

I also unfortunately do not think this is the "fundamental argument being advanced," at least in the petition in the OP. I believe you have steel-manned things (even though I still don't find that argument compelling either). The petition makes claims about MAID somehow being an affront to the dignity and rights of people with disabilities, and devaluing their lives. That, I find completely objectionable. You mentioned working with people who actively wanted to pursue MAID, and I similarly have done legal work in the healthcare sphere and found autonomy to be the single most important aspect of treatment in the minds of the clients I have served. What actually diminishes the dignity and rights of people with disabilities is a paternalistic approach that ignores their express desires.

EDIT - @BingBongtheArcher, you posted while I was writing this out. I think my reply here covers what you wrote too and I don't want to double-post redundantly, but I didn't want to ignore you writing a thoughtful post either.

Edited by CleanHands
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This seems like an appropriate time to make a broader point that I think about frequently. 

Many political advocacy groups create a great fiction - some monolithic thing that is not exactly true but they always orient towards. There is almost always a clear and functional reason for the great fiction to exist, because if you just assume the great fiction is actually true all of the time the effect you get when enough people buy in is the general improvement of society. 

In disability advocacy the great fiction is the social model of disability. This model says that people are disabled by barriers in society and not by their physical impairments or differences. This, of course, has some truth to it but it cannot be completely true. However, the positive effect it has is that when enough people change their focus to the barriers in society, well, society is quicker or more willing to get rid of those barriers. 

I think these big fictions become entrenched and popular because of their usefulness but at some point they run up against the limitations of that usefulness, because they just aren't completely true, and they start having deleterious effects. This might be what is happening here. Disability advocacy groups have spent decades casting light on society's shortcomings in removing barriers for and accommodating people with disabilities. Discussions around MAID have these advocacy groups now looking inwards and it is just so, so hard to accept that your great fiction is imperfect. Some disabilities just do not have a solution in society; there is no barrier to remove and no accommodation that will make life tolerable for some exceedingly rare but specific cases of disability. 

To ask these groups to just accept the fact that autonomous death is the solution to suffering caused by disability, even in very rare instances, is like asking these communities to reject their God. 

Edited by BringBackCrunchBerries
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1 hour ago, CleanHands said:

I understand that argument but I hate it. Essentially it is an argument that we should adopt a paternalistic approach and not give effect to people's autonomous decisions, because the conditions in our society are bad enough for that to lead to harmful effects. It's also a broad, brute force approach to argue that this means we shouldn't have MAID at all for people who are not terminally ill, rather than building in safeguards and restrictions into a MAID system. There are undoubtedly people who would elect to pursue MAID who clearly would not be faced with those sorts of conditions. To deny them a choice because theoretically someone else could be facing external pressures doesn't seem reasonable.

I also unfortunately do not think this is the "fundamental argument being advanced," at least in the petition in the OP. I believe you have steel-manned things (even though I still don't find that argument compelling either). The petition makes claims about MAID somehow being an affront to the dignity and rights of people with disabilities, and devaluing their lives. That, I find completely objectionable. You mentioned working with people who actively wanted to pursue MAID, and I similarly have done legal work in the healthcare sphere and found autonomy to be the single most important aspect of treatment in the minds of the clients I have served. What actually diminishes the dignity and rights of people with disabilities is a paternalistic approach that ignores their express desires.

EDIT - @BingBongtheArcher, you posted while I was writing this out. I think my reply here covers what you wrote too and I don't want to double-post redundantly, but I didn't want to ignore you writing a thoughtful post either.

I don't really disagree with you and yes, the student petition that OP posted seems poorly written/reasoned. 

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1 hour ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

This seems like an appropriate time to make a broader point that I think about frequently. 

Many political advocacy groups create a great fiction - some monolithic thing that is not exactly true but they always orient towards. There is almost always a clear and functional reason for the great fiction to exist, because if you just assume the great fiction is actually true all of the time the effect you get when enough people buy in is the general improvement of society. 

In disability advocacy the great fiction is the social model of disability. This model says that people are disabled by barriers in society and not by their physical impairments or differences. This, of course, has some truth to it but it cannot be completely true. However, the positive effect it has is that when enough people change their focus to the barriers in society, well, society is quicker or more willing to get rid of those barriers. 

I think these big fictions become entrenched and popular because of their usefulness but at some point they run up against the limitations of that usefulness, because they just aren't completely true, and they start having deleterious effects. This might be what is happening here. Disability advocacy groups have spent decades casting light on society's shortcomings in removing barriers for and accommodating people with disabilities. Discussions around MAID have these advocacy groups now looking inwards and it is just so, so hard to accept that your great fiction is imperfect. Some disabilities just do not have a solution in society; there is no barrier to remove and no accommodation that will make life tolerable for some exceedingly rare but specific cases of disability. 

To ask these groups to just accept the fact that autonomous death is the solution to suffering caused by disability, even in very rare instances, is like asking these communities to reject their God. 

Wonderful post. My friend who lives with a disability, and who has several friends who are similarly living with disabilities of various kinds, would absolutely agree with you.

This really just seems like the co-opting of an issue by a group not actually a part of the group being advocated for. The petition's language seems to make that clear too.

 

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