North Okanagan-Shuswap MP opposes right to die legislation

Mel Arnold voted against sending the Liberal government's Bill C-14 to the Senate

North Okanagan-Shuswap’s MP has made it clear where he stands on right to die legislation.

On Tuesday, Mel Arnold voted against sending the Liberal government’s Bill C-14 to the Senate for consideration.

“This bill warranted more debate than what the governing party allowed,” he said.

Tuesday’s vote followed nine rounds of attempted amendments to the legislation, including six supported by Arnold.

Arnold says the amendments sought to ensure patients were informed of all palliative care options available, ensured that patients’ capacity to choose assisted death was confirmed by a psychiatrist and that a patient’s imminent natural death was foreseeable.

Other amendments dealt with a patient’s ability to self-administer a substance causing death according to their capacity to do so, safeguards for assisted dying are thoroughly reviewed and verified and that the freedom of conscience of medical professionals are protected.

The government used its majority in the House of Commons to oppose the amendments and push C-14 to the Senate.

“I believe that legislation of this magnitude requires a precise balance upholding rights and protections and I was very disappointed to see the government side oppose the amendments that could have brought balance to this bill,” said Arnold.

“I am very concerned that the weakness of this important legislation will require further adjudicating by the courts because the work of Parliament was stifled.”

The Senate has three days to review and amend C-14 before the Supreme Court’s June 6 deadline for a new law to be in place.