Liberals Break Election Promises on Euthanasia Law
Today the Liberal government announced that they plan to whip the vote on the implementation of the new euthanasia law. Click here to read the full article on this decision.
This is an extremely worrying sign the Liberal government is intent on yet again breaking an election promise to hold more free votes and to raise the independence of individual Members of Parliament. At the heart of our democracy is the concept that your local representative represents your local constituency as best that they can while balancing the various viewpoints, interests, accountability they bear towards their supporters, voters, and constituents.
The Government House Leader is wrong to whip the vote. This is no longer a question on whether euthanasia or doctor assisted suicide as a policy is good or bad - the matter was settled by the Supreme Court of Canada that gave Parliament (not the Government of Canada) the direction to establish a new law on this matter in Carter v. Canada.
Parliamentarians will be voting on the details and the safeguards to be put in place to ensure that vulnerable individuals are protected. We do not yet know the wording of the legislation or the contents of the report so to jump to the conclusion that voting yes on whatever the Government of Canada proposes as a bill is immediately a charter issue is wrong. Moreover, details such as whether mature children should be included, review by competency boards instead of only physicians, cool down periods for mental health conditions, a new criminal code prohibition on physicians benefiting directly or indirectly from the procedure, and another new criminal code prohibition on non-physician performing the procedure, amongst many other considerations, must be considered, debated and voted upon.
I also believe the Government of Canada must be open to amendments during the debate and committee process to ensure the broadest range of viewpoints and safeguards are placed in the bill for the benefit of Canadians.
On page 30 of the Liberal Platform in this past election, they promised free votes except in 3 specific cases. Implementation of the Liberal platform, matters of confidence and those votes that address shared values and the protection guaranteed in the Charter. The latter is the excuse being used to compel all Liberal MPs to vote for whatever the Government of Canada proposes. It could be used for any matter before Parliament. That is a mistake and an overreach.
The Conservative Party of Canada has enshrined free votes in our party policy platform voted on by the membership. I'm proud of that and of the fact that on matters of conscience that I am allowed to weigh the will of my constituents, my conscience, and the best interests of Canada. How I weigh each part to determine my vote is how my constituents should judge me as well as my record in 2019.
The policy matter surrounding doctor assisted suicide of euthanasia was indeed settled by the Supreme Court of Canada, but the details, the way we implement this new charter right into everyday life, was not. The real work of enshrining this Supreme Court delineated right into legislation is the work of parliamentarians.
I call on the Government of Canada and the Government House Leader to reverse this decision to whip the vote on euthanasia and doctor assisted suicide. Allow your MPs to study the bill carefully, weigh the safeguards, consult with their constituents and determine where their conscience takes them.
That is true democracy.
I encourage you to hold the Liberal government accountable to the promises it made to all Canadians during the election. To express disapproval of the current Liberal policy on this vote and to encourage the government to reverse its position, you can contact Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. His office can be reached at 1-613-992-1020 (Ottawa) or 1-506-533-5700 (Constituency). In addition, mail can be sent to:
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6.