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On June 18th, the House of Commons adjourned, setting the stage for an election campaign that will end the 41st session of Parliament. This is an appropriate time to look back on the past four years and see what was accomplished, especially through the lens of ARPA Canada and the issues that we focus on. Pre-born Human Rights: When the Conservatives were handed a majority in the last federal election, many Christians hoped that pre-born human rights would finally be addressed. These hopes were in vain. Although some courageous MPs stood up for the pre-born, the leadership of all the political parties in the House of Commons did their utmost to suppress these efforts. Motion 312, championed by MP Stephen Woodworth, was the first motion that held promise. It asked that “a special committee of the House of Commons be appointed and directed to review the declaration in Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada which states that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth.” Local ARPA chapters hosted presentations by Mr. Woodworth on this motion and many ARPA supporters encouraged MPs to support it. But with the party leaders all vocally opposed, the motion died in the House by a vote of 203 to 91. Yet Motion 312 reignited a discussion that was quiet for too long. Momentum for addressing this injustice was building.
Yesterday, the House of Commons passed Charlie Angus' motion for a national palliative care strategy, almost unanimously (with only 1 vote against, by Bloc Québécois MP Jean-Francois Fortin). This motion is non-binding, meaning that it won't necessarily change laws but it certainly has the power to direct the conversation and move towards enacting laws. The motion asks the government to work with provinces and territories to ensure individuals have access to "high-quality, home-based and hospice palliative care," as well as providing more support to caregivers and encouraging Canadians to "discuss...
The pressure continues for our Parliament to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia. While the push to legalize it through the back door in Québec has stalled, it most likely will be a battle that picks up again very soon. You can read about the battle in that province here. And while the battle in the provincial legislature in Québec raged, the battle for legalizing euthanasia through the courts continues as well, with another appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. And in the federal Parliament, there continue to be calls for legalizing euthanasia, with yet another pair of bills attempting to legalize physician-assisted suicide. So, on three fronts (provincial government, federal government, and in the courts) the battle for life rages. What are we to do? One thing (among many) that we can do is support a new NDP motion on palliative care. Canada needs a national strategy for palliative care. In contrast to a push for legalized euthanasia, Mr. Charlie Angus wants to shift the discussion to how to improve end of life care. With M-456, Mr. Angus has changed the nature of the debate, taking the focus away from terminating people who are suffering, and instead focusing on ways to terminate the suffering in people. Read more...