Thank for your support of my Private Members Bill C-418: The Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act.
Two years ago, taking a patient’s life was culpable homicide. Although the law now permits physician assisted suicide, many doctors’ consciences will not. The Supreme Court of Canada has explicitly said that the legalization of euthanasia did not entail a duty of physicians to provide it.
However, regional associations have introduced regulations compelling conscientiously objecting physicians to provide effective referrals for physician assisted suicide, contravening this assurance. This happens, without any penalty.
I believe it’s time to stand up for doctors and health care providers who aren’t willing to leave their core ethics behind when they’re at a patient’s bedside. The protection of conscience rights for medical professionals is part of protecting the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed to all Canadians in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Bill C-418 amends the Criminal Code to make it an offence to intimidate a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional for compelling them to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying.
It also makes it an offence to dismiss from employment or to refuse to employ a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional for the reason only that they refuse to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying.
I have enclosed a copy of my bill, as well as an info sheet which includes a letter to Justice Minister David Lametti, and a draft letter to go to local MPs. I encourage you and your supporters to contact your Member of Parliament and MPs of all parties, to make them aware of the bill and to voice your support for this legislation. The letter to MPs is being translated and will follow when available.
The more people that know about C-418, the higher the likelihood that it will pass in the House of Commons.
David Anderson, MP
Anna Marie Young
Executive Assistant to David Anderson
Member of Parliament
Shadow Cabinet Secretary
International Human Rights & Religious Freedom