Communique #04 – Legislation
National Chairperson of Legislation Betty Colaneri – June 7, 2019
“Be sanctuaries of respect for life, proclaiming the sacredness of every human life from conception to natural death” (Pope Francis, Meeting with the Families, 2015).
Currently before federal parliament, Bill C-418 Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act, a private member’s bill by Member of Parliament David Anderson (Cypress Hills-Grasslands), seeks to protect medical practitioners from being compelled to directly or indirectly take part in medical assistance in dying.
Reporter Mickey Conlon is concerned the odds are against Bill C-418 passing. “First, it’s a private member’s bill, which have a long history of failing to pass in the House of Commons. It is also up against a Liberal majority government that believes its 2016 MAiD (medical assistance in dying) legislation enshrined conscience rights in Bill C-14 to allow health care practitioners to opt out of the practice, though the evidence has proven to the contrary” (The Catholic Register).
While at the March for Life in Ottawa on May 9th, Mr. Anderson stated, “Bill C-418, the point of the bill is to actually establish the penalty for coercion or intimidation and the threat to someone’s employment status. It establishes a consequence for conducting yourself that way.” Should Bill C-418 pass, it would make it a punishable offence to force through “‘violence or threats of violence, coercion or any other form of intimidation,’ a health care professional to take part in assisted suicide.” The bill would also “punish employers who refuse to employ or dismiss from employment a worker who refuses to take part in assisted suicide” (The Catholic Register).
Alex Schadenberg of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has initiated an e-petition to the federal government in support of Bill C-418. The petition is available on the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition website epcc.ca and the Parliament of Canada website at https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2199. It is important that you sign the petition and encourage your members to do so as well. It takes just a few minutes to complete and will only remain open until June 16, 2019.
In response to the religious freedom of doctors, Bishop Gerard Bergie (St. Catharines) sent the following statement to be included in parish bulletins.
It may seem that we are “losing the battle” with regard to the major moral issues of our day; however, we cannot become discouraged or lose hope. I take great solace in the words of St. Paul to Timothy. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.” Let us do the same!
Bill C-75 An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts has passed second reading in the senate and is before the standing senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs. Sponsored by the minister of justice, Bill C-75 “decreases sentencing on serious crimes for indictable offences, which can be subject to court with a jury and sentencing, to a summary offence” (4mycanada.ca, 2019). Should this pass, people who commit a serious crime could avoid sentencing with as little as a small fine. Supporters believe Bill C-75 will help reduce the significant backlog of cases before the courts. A solution would be to appoint more judges and officials to fill the 50 currently vacant seats nationwide. Letters can be sent via e-mail to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, The Hon. David Lametti at firstname.lastname@example.org, Prime Minister of Canada, The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau at email@example.com and Leader of the Opposition, The Hon. Andrew Scheer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Encourage members to:
- Sign the e-petition.
- Contact their local member of parliament to show support for Bill C-418.
- Meet with their political representatives and urge them to legislate respect for conscience rights, faith, moral conscience and religious freedom.
- Write letters opposing Bill C-75.
- Pray for the wisdom of committee members.
Don’t give up hope! Keep proclaiming the message!