Bill C-314 defeated, MAiD will be offered for mental illness next year

  • October 19, 2023

Conservative MP Ed Fast’s Bill C-314, which would have stopped the upcoming expansion of the Canadian euthanasia regime, was defeated at second reading in the House of Commons on Oct. 18 by a 167-150 vote. 

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) is still on track to be offered to individuals solely living with a mental illness as of March 17, 2024. 

Fast did garner some cross-party support for his legislation. All 24 NDP members voted in favour of Bill C-314, and eight members of the Liberal Party broke ranks with the rest of their colleagues. The Bloc Québécois, however, held the balance of power on the vote as each of its members voted against the Abbotsford, B.C., representative’s endeavour. 

During the oral question period preceding the vote, Fast decried the reports “of Canadians crying out for help and being offered assisted suicide instead.” 

“Is this the sorry state of our mental health system? Millions of Canadians oppose the government's fascination with assisted death,” said Fast.

Minister of Health Mark Holland replied that “there is not one among us in this House who does not have people they love who are deeply vulnerable and have been in a state of mental health crisis. Every single person in this House wants to make sure those people get the support and strength they need. That is why we are making critical investments there.

“We also have to make sure, for the people who are trapped in mental illness and in deep, profound suffering, that we examine the best way to deal with those circumstances. That is why we are working to reconstitute the joint committee so that we can look at this process and look at how to responsibly deal with these issues in a way that respects and protects vulnerable people,” said Holland.

The Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada, a Christian political advocacy organization, had members demonstrating on Parliament Hill in support of Fast. 

“Euthanasia advocates have always assured Canadians that one of the qualifications for deciding to have a doctor end your life was that you had to have the capacity to make an informed decision,” said Daniel Zekveld, spokesperson for ARPA Canada. “It has taken only seven years and we are at the precipice of discarding that principle by expanding euthanasia to people with mental illness.”

A recent Angus Reid/Cardus poll stated that 82 per cent of Canadians believe mental health care services should be improved first before MAiD eligibility is expanded to include those whose sole condition is a mental illness.

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