ROBERT-FALCON Ouellette, the Indigenous Liberal MP representing Winnipeg Centre, told Jorge Barrera of APTN News that he will be voting against Bill C-14, the bill that will legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide.
According to the APTN report, Ouellette said the federal government should work around the deadline and delay legalizing assisted death for at least five to ten years until it’s absolutely clear what sort of impact it would have in all corners of Canadian society.
“I think we need to take more time, especially in light of Attawapiskat.”
Attawapiskat is a Cree community in the James Bay region that is experiencing a suicide crisis. Ouellette stated to APTN:
“I think there are communities that have this issue and if you allow, all of a sudden, this to occur…it might be very difficult …. If grandma, grandfather decide they had enough in life…if they weren’t able to carry on, why should I carry on? If they weren’t strong enough, why should I be strong enough?
“I think that is a question that is asked in Attawapiskat more often than not and the ripple effect of assisted dying is not the same in Toronto as in other places.”
Ouellette explained that part of his current position on the issue was influenced by a conversation he had with his Sundance chief about three years ago.
“He said, ‘Never forget the spirit of suicide, you have to fight the spirit of suicide, make sure it doesn’t come into our lives,’” said Ouellette. “I am afraid if we open this little door right now we won’t be able to fight that suicide spirit.”
Using the “notwithstanding clause” [Section 33 of the Canadian Constitution’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms] would give the government at least five years to determine how to handle this issue.
[The “notwithstanding clause” is a legislative power that allows Parliament or a Legislature to override a certain Charter section.] TAP –APTN