OTTAWA – Conservative MP Michael Cooper (St. Albert-Edmonton) has been appointed to serve on the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying, a committee comprised of MPs and Senators. The Special Committee was established pursuant to Bill C-7, the Liberal government’s recent legislation that radically expands medical assistance in dying (“MAID”). The Bill legislated a Parliamentary review of issues around MAID, including mental illness. The Committee will begin hearing from witnesses on May 31st.
“While I look forward to serving on the Committee, the Parliamentary review in a significant way represents the Liberals getting it backwards, said Cooper.” “On the key issue of mental illness, the Liberals already rammed through an eleventh-hour amendment to Bill C-7 to expand eligibility for MAID where mental illness is the sole underlying condition. Such a radical expansion of MAID should have been studied beforehand, not after the fact. Now the Special Committee is being asked how to proceed with MAID in cases of mental illness, not if such an expansion is appropriate in the first place.”
“Legislatively speaking the train has left the station on this critical issue. I, therefore, have little confidence that the Liberals have any interest in the work of the Committee, beyond validating their reckless and ideological approach to MAID that puts the lives vulnerable Canadians at risk. It is an approach that has been condemned by more than 1,000 physicians, leading mental health professionals, every national disabilities’ rights organization in Canada, as well as the voices of other vulnerable Canadians.”
In the last Parliament, MP Cooper served as Vice-Chair of the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, which was tasked with putting forward recommendations on a legislative response to the Supreme Court’s Carter decision that struck down the blanket Criminal Code prohibition on physician-assisted death.