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Liberals Table Doctor Assisted Dying Legislation

Liberals Table Doctor Assisted Dying Legislation


April 14th, 2016

Ottawa, ON – Official Opposition Deputy Critic for Employment, Workforce and Labour and Member of Parliament for Foothills, John Barlow, is encouraged to see the Liberal government’s proposed Doctor Assisted Dying legislation encompasses a number of recommendations made by the Conservative Party. Key for Barlow is that the proposed legislation does not provide access for minors, does not compel physicians to participate in euthanasia, and creates some of the necessary safeguards to ensure the safety of those who are most vulnerable including those with mental health challenges.

The Conservative Party’s priority has been to ensure legislation includes safeguards for the most vulnerable in our society, as well as for the conscience rights of physicians and allied health professionals. The dissenting report from the Special Joint Committee that studied this subject included recommendations to exclude minors; include stringent safeguards to protect those with underlying mental health challenges; and recognize the risks involved with advanced directives. Barlow said he is pleased these recommendations were addressed in drafting the bill.
“I am pleased the Liberal Government listened to the feedback from Conservative Official Opposition members and Canadians who raised concerns with the initial direction of the Liberal’s legislation on Doctor Assisted Dying,” said Foothills MP John Barlow. “Tightening up the safeguards and restricting access to Doctor Assisted Dying are steps in the right direction; however, there are still issues and ambiguity with the legislation, which we hope will be addressed in debate and at committee.”
Barlow added, “The four open houses I hosted on this topic were extremely well attended and helpful. Now that the legislation has been tabled, I encourage Foothills residents to continue to provide feedback.”
Because this issue is highly complex and deeply sensitive, MP Barlow is glad that Conservative MPs will be able to have the freedom to examine this legislation, determine whether it includes sufficient safeguards, and make their own decisions on supporting or opposing it on behalf of their constituents through a free vote.

For additional information and media inquiries, please contact:
John Barlow
Member of Parliament for Foothills
Deputy Critic, Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
House of Commons
(PH) 613-995-8471

• The Supreme Court of Canada has found the current Criminal Code prohibition on physician assisted dying to be constitutionally invalid.
• On December 11th 2015, Parliament agreed to create a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons to consult with Canadians, experts and stakeholders in order to make recommendations on the framework of a federal response on physician- assisted dying.

• We call on the Liberal Government to proceed cautiously, respectfully and to do so in a way that will be inclusive of the various competing views on this sensitive issue.

• The Liberals broke a key election commitment to invest $3-billion in long-term care, including palliative care. Access to palliative care is an essential part of end-of-life decision making. There was unanimous agreement from the Special Joint Committee, and stakeholders, including the CMA, of the need for a pan-Canadian strategy on palliative care with dedicated funding.