ARPA Canada proposes government use "notwithstanding clause" on assisted suicide and euthanasia
For immediate release from the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada
July 7, 2015
ARPA CANADA UNVEILS DRAFT LEGISLATION PROHIBITING ASSISTED SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA AND INVOKING THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE
Ottawa - On the heels of the Canadian Medical Association unveiling draft protocols for an assisted suicide regime, the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada has published a draft euthanasia law (http://arpacanada.ca/drafteuthanasialaw.pdf) which would uphold Canada’s absolute prohibitions of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
ARPA Canada was an intervenor in the Supreme Court case which struck down Canada’s assisted suicide law on February 6, 2015 and gave Parliament just one year to fill the void. The organization also published a policy report for Parliamentarians following the Supreme Court decision.
“On numerous occasions, including just five years ago, all of the major parties in Canada’s Parliament have voted to uphold our law against assisted suicide,” said ARPA Canada’s Executive Director Mark Penninga. “Parliament has the constitutional means to pass a new law which continues to prohibit all assisted suicide, and it can do that while taking meaningful steps to promote palliative and end of life care.”
The draft bill invokes Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, commonly referred to as the notwithstanding clause. This section gives Parliament the ability to pass legislation notwithstanding a court’s interpretation of section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of the Charter. In this case, the draft legislation is cited notwithstanding how the Supreme Court interpreted the “right to life” of section 7 of the Charter to allow state-endorsed killing.
“If Parliament refuses to even consider invoking Section 33, Canada’s nine unelected Supreme Court judges have effectively become the supreme lawmakers of Canada,” explained ARPA Canada’s Legal Counsel André Schutten. “The notwithstanding clause was added to the Charter to balance the power of the judicial and legislative branches of civil government. But for the clause to have effect, it must be exercised. It is hard to conceive of a more worthy time to invoke Section 33 than now, when the basic right to life of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens are at risk.”
ARPA’s draft law includes a lengthy preamble which provides sixteen reasons why such a strident step is principled, constitutional, and necessary.
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Interview Requests: Mark Penninga is available throughout the day for phone or email interviews. Contact him directly at 778-210-0376 or Mark@ARPACanada.ca
ARPA Canada’s legal counsel André Schutten is available for comment and in studio interviews in Ottawa or via phone/email. To arrange an interview contact Niki Pennings, Administrative Assistant, at 1-866-691-2772, ext. 3 or Niki@ARPACanada.ca
First Session, Forty-second Parliament, 63-64 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016 STATUTES OF CANADA 2016CHAPTER ___
Bill C-_____ An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision inCarter v. Canada (Attorney General)
Whereas it is Parliament’s duty to protect human life and uphold the inviolable right to life of all human beings;
Whereas the Parliament of Canada has grave concerns about the inherent risks that a legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide regime pose to the lives of vulnerable people;
Whereas the Parliament of Canada recognizes the devastating social harm caused by the normalization of suicide and the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia;
Whereas legalizing physician-assisted suicide and/or euthanasia would corrupt the practice of medicine and the doctor-patient relationship;
Whereas it is of utmost importance, by discouraging suicide, to protect the inherent human dignity and value possessed by each Canadian person by reason of everyone being a member of the human family, regardless of disease, disability or discomfort;
Whereas certain judges have failed to appreciate overwhelming social scientific evidence on the inherent harms and unacceptable risks to the lives of vulnerable, disabled, elderly and sick Canadians when euthanasia and assisted suicide are legalized;
Whereas comprehensive reviews of all other jurisdictions that have legalized assisted suicide and/or euthanasia prove that assisted deaths continue, and even increase, in the face of evidence that legislated safeguards are ignored;
Whereas there is no reason to believe that Canada would be any different should euthanasia or assisted suicide be legalized;
Whereas legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide will result in a two-tiered justice system, providing robust Criminal Code protections for the lives of able-bodied persons, but weak Criminal Code protections for the lives of people with disabilities and illnesses;
Whereas striking down the Criminal Code provision denying the right toconsent to have another end your life, but only limiting that nullification to those who are suffering or disabled, is a shocking and discriminatory value statement about the life and worth of people with severe disabilities, pain or illness;
Whereas the Parliament of Canada rejects the proposition that the deaths of some innocent, vulnerable people in a legalized euthanasia regime is an acceptable balance to allow others the freedom to have unhindered assistance in committing suicide at a convenient time and place;
Whereas the Parliament of Canada has conducted holistic, in-depth, cross-partisan studies, hearing from all segments of society on the ethical, moral, legal, philosophical and policy implications on the issue of legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia and, having studied the issue more thoroughly than a court can or ever has, concluding that only an absolute prohibition on allowing some people to kill other people, absent self-defence, can adequately and equally protect the lives of all Canadians;
Whereas the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the Supreme Court of Canada failed to give any meaningful recognition of the votes of Parliament at different times in the last two decades, comprising clear, direct, cross-party votes against the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide;
Whereas section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867 gives exclusive authority to Parliament to make laws in relation to the Criminal Law;
Whereas that same section of the Constitution precludes judges at any level of court to legislate their social preferences from the bench;
And whereas section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides Parliament the constitutional authority to remedy a policy change by the courts, notwithstanding their interpretation of various sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1. This Act may be cited as the Restoring Full and Equal Protection of Vulnerable Canadian Lives Act.
R.S., c. C-46
R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, s.14
R.S.C. 1970, c. C-34, s. 224; R.S.C. 1985, c. 27 (1 st Supp.), s.7(3)
2. Section 14 of the Criminal Code is amended by adding the following:
14.1 Section 14 operates notwithstanding the interpretation by the Supreme Court of Canada of provisions of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 1, Constitution Act, 1982, Schedule B to the Canada Act, 1982, (U.K.) 1982 c11.
3. Section 241 of the Act is amended by adding the following:
241.1 Section 241 operates notwithstanding the interpretation by the Supreme Court of Canada of provisions of section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part 1, Constitution Act, 1982, Schedule B to the Canada Act, 1982, (U.K.) 1982 c11.
REVIEW AND REPORT
4. (1) Within four years after this section comes into force, a comprehensive review of the provisions and operation of this Act shall be undertaken by such committee of the House of Commons as may be designated or established by the House for that purpose.
(2) The committee referred to in subsection (1) shall, within six months after a review is undertaken pursuant to that subsection or within such further time as the House may authorize, submit a report on the review to the Speaker of the House, including a statement of any changes the committee recommends.
COMING INTO FORCE
One day after royal assent
5. The provisions of this Act come into force one day after the day onwhich this Act receives royal assent.