Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl. (MP Mark Strahl)

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl. (MP Mark Strahl)

MP for Chilliwack-Hope opposed to expanding assisted suicide to those with mental illness, disabilities

‘Bill C-7 is perhaps the most serious change in law Members of Parliament will face,’ Strahl says

Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl said he felt compelled to stand up for vulnerable Canadians by voting against the revised Bill C-7 this week in the House of Commons.

He agreed with those who called it “dangerous and discriminatory.”

The Liberal government called the question on Bill C-7 and the Senate amendments on March 11, which will expand the medical assistance in dying (MAID) access to those with mental illness and some disabilities, whose death is not reasonably forseeable.

“The Liberal government forced Parliamentarians to address life and death issues in a rushed debate and vote in Parliament,” Strahl said in the release. “Bill C-7 is perhaps the most serious change in law Members of Parliament will face in our careers.”

The MP said he voted with his Conservative colleagues against what he calls “the terrible, cruel and dangerous amendments proposed by the unelected Senate.”

Some experts voiced deep concern that permitting Canadians suffering from depression and other mental illnesses to access euthanasia would undermine suicide prevention efforts. In his speech in the House of Commons on March 11, MP Strahl quoted from an open letter to all MPs from the Vulnerable Persons Standard, titled “Bill C-7 is not the answer” signed by 147 organizations, including the Chilliwack Society for Community Living.

An excerpt from the open letter reads: “Bill C-7 sets apart people with disabilities and disabling conditions as the only Canadians to be offered assistance in dying when they are not actually nearing death. As it stands, Bill C-7 is dangerous and discriminatory.

“Canadians with disabilities are hearing MPs and Senators arguing that lives just like theirs featuring disabilities just like theirs are not livable. This is harmful and hurtful and stigmatizing.”

But MAID changes stood in a vote of 180-149, supported by most Liberal MPs and Bloc Quebecois MPs. It was opposed by Conservatives, the NDP, and a couple of Green MPs. It goes back to the Senate for approval.

“Unfortunately, the Liberal government chose to completely ignore the pleas of disability and mental health advocates calling on Parliamentarians to vote against these Senate amendments,” continued MP Strahl.

“Today, the Liberal government voted to make it easier for people with disabilities and mental illness to take their own lives. This is a tragedy,” concluded MP Strahl.

READ MORE: MP urges citizens to weigh in on MAID

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