Communique #14 – Legislation

May 13, 2021

National Chairperson of Legislation Betty Colaneri, May 13, 2021.

Pdf

“I plead with you – never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged.
Be not afraid.” (Pope St. John Paul II)

Words to cling to in light of recent events. What members feared would happen did happen. Bill C-7 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) received royal assent on March 17th. The bill may have become law, but it did not change the League’s position. In the April 8th publication of “Message from the Catholic Bishops of Canada to the Faithful on the Expansion of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada,” Archbishop Richard Gagnon (Winnipeg) states, “Our position remains unequivocal. Euthanasia and assisted suicide constitute the deliberate killing of human life in violation of God’s Commandments; … Human life must be protected from conception to natural death, at all stages and in all conditions.” He further states, “We urge you, as men and women of faith, not to lose heart. As Bishops, we will accompany you in prayer and vigilant advocacy against a ‘culture of death’ which continues to erode the dignity of human life in our country.” What can members do, and what is their course of action? Archbishop Gagnon suggests, “At this point, it is important to become informed, to renew our involvement wherever we live, and to partner with members of our parish or other faith groups and organizations to continue lobbying our elected officials about these matters.” The entire message can be found on the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops website, cccb.ca.

There are presently two significant bills before the House of Commons that you may wish to share with your diocesan counterparts so they can encourage members to focus their attention on and follow his suggestion. Both bills have presently had their first reading.

C-233 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (sex-selective abortion). Sponsored by the member of parliament from Yorkton—Melville (Saskatchewan).

Summary:
“This enactment amends the Criminal Code to make it an offence for a medical practitioner to perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought solely on the grounds of the child’s genetic sex. It also requires the Minister of Health, after consultation with representatives of the provincial governments responsible for health, to establish guidelines respecting information provided by a medical practitioner in relation to a request for an abortion.”

C-268 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (intimidation of health care professionals). Also known as the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act. Sponsored by the member of parliament from Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek (Saskatchewan).

Summary:
“This enactment amends the Criminal Code to make it an offence to intimidate a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or other health care professional for the purpose of compelling them to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying.

It also makes it an offence to dismiss from employment or to refuse to employ a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or other health care professional for the reason only that they refuse to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying.”

Kindly ask your diocesan counterparts to urge members to send letters to their members of parliament stating their support for these bills.

Bills that Received Royal Assent:
March 17, 2021

  • C-7 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying)
  • C-18 An Act to implement the Agreement on Trade Continuity between Canada and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • C-24 An Act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (additional regular benefits), the Canada Recovery Benefits Act (restriction on eligibility) and another Act in response to COVID-19
  • S-1001 An Act respecting Girl Guides of Canada

March 30, 2021

  • C-26 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021
  • C-27 An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022

April 30, 2021

  • C-29 An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of operations at the Port of Montreal

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” (Maya Angelou)

Let us continue to be vigilant!

Betty Colaneri
National Chairperson of Legislation