Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Permitting Euthanasia for Depression to be Debated in Canada

Tara Brousseau-Snider
Tara Brousseau-Snider

By Alex Schadenberg

Canada’s parliament will soon debate whether euthanasia should be permitted for psychological suffering.

On February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s assisted suicide law and used language that permits euthanasia. The Supreme Court did not define the terminology but it stated that an assisted death could be permitted for someone who has irremediable pain caused by physical or psychological suffering.

The Supreme Court gave Parliament a year to come up with new legislation, in light of the decision. A special joint Commons committee on physician-assisted dying was created in response. The government recently asked for an extension until June which the high court agreed to.

CBC Manitoba reported on an unnamed Winnipeg woman who was pushing the issue by requesting euthanasia based on psychological suffering.

“[My colleague] told me that if she [the unnamed woman] could get an assisted suicide now, she’d go through with it,” said Tara Brousseau-Snider, executive director of the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba,” told Donna Carreiro. “If it was in place, they’d apply for it.” Brousseau-Snide told CBC Manitoba of her concerns, should the law permit euthanasia for depressed people.

“And I’m very concerned about this law. It’s not a permission-giving thing. Governments should not mandate that if you’re depressed, it’s OK to kill yourself.”

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