18 June 2006 For Immediate Release
Winnipeg—The COUNCIL OF CANADIANS WITH DISABILITIES (CCD) believes that
everyone who supports disability rights should oppose Bill C-384 which would
legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide and put Canadians with disabilities
at risk! CCD is a national human rights organization of persons with
disabilities working for an accessible and inclusive Canada.
C-384, the private member’s bill to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide
in Canada received its first reading last month. Bill C-384 was introduced
by the Bloc Québécois Member of Parliament – Francine Lalonde. This is
Lalonde’s third attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.
Bill C-384 legalizes euthanasia by amending section 222 of the Criminal Code
and it legalizes assisted suicide by amending section 241 of the Criminal
“Called the “Right to Die with Dignity” Act, this bill threatens the lives
of Canadians with disabilities. Its selling points are the notions of
“dignity,” and “suffering.” However, the bill never explains what these
terms mean. How do we measure dignity? What is suffering?” states Rhonda
Wiebe, Co-Chair of CCD’s Ending of Life Ethics Committee. These terms are
based more on social values than scientific ones, but this bill proposes
that a “medical” and “legal” solution be the remedy for people whose lives
are not “dignified” and who “suffer.”
“Living without dignity and suffering are common misperceptions that able-bodied Canadians have about the lives of their fellow citizens with disabilities. Bill C-384 does nothing to protect those who find themselves
socially devalued in these ways,” states Dean Richert, Co-Chair of CCD’s
Ending of Life Ethics Committee.
Social support and meaningful involvement in the community are more important for the well-being of people with disabilities than the severity of their disabilities. Assisted suicide is not a free choice as long as they
are denied adequate healthcare, affordable personal assistance in their
communities, and equal access to social structures and systems.
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