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C-7 Motion in Amendment Negatived

Hon. Rosemary Moodie


Honourable senators, I wanted to start by sharing a few thoughts around the question of the validity of MAID procedures and some of the information that we have received from witnesses that seeks to shed some light on the comparison between, completely frankly, an unrelated set of procedures; that of lethal injection.

My office started to look at the experience of MAID providers some months ago, and we conducted a survey of 17 clinicians throughout the country in various settings; clinicians who work within urban settings and within large groups, some who have conducted hundreds of cases of MAID procedures. We also spoke to physicians who worked in the more geographically isolated areas, sole practitioners who were conducting MAID procedures as well.

We learned certain key things from them. What we learned was, in fact, these witnesses, these people who are all only medical experts in this area, have each conducted hundreds of MAID procedures. All of them described their experiences as they witnessed these procedures, bar none, as peaceful, restful, to the point of happiness in some cases, and undisturbed individuals who passed through a MAID procedure.

They described no instances where people struggled, fought, had violent reactions or some of the descriptions that we have heard from witnesses who attempt to compare lethal injection to MAID procedures.

What we heard from witnesses who have had some experience on a topic — lethal injection — but who are not medical experts on MAID, was a description of a very different procedure from the protocols and the oversight that we provide here in Canada. A scan of what the protocols look like, and what they are, reveals that there’s consistency across the country.

There are five drugs, in some cases six drugs, used when required. There is a similarity in the drugs that are being used, and there is a consistency of approach used by all practitioners. There is clear documentation of the procedure, and the storage and availability of the information that is collected are transparent. It’s retrievable, colleagues. It’s something that can be examined. It doesn’t disappear into nothing. It’s there.

In fact, this is very different to what happens in lethal injection, where there may or may not be a clinician of any sort present, whether it be a nurse or a physician; where, in fact, there may not be as carefully controlled circumstances. Where, in fact, the exercise of that procedure may be quite different and have different outcomes.

Much of the intervention of MAID has focused on this irrelevant comparison, and while interesting, we cannot verify the expertise of the witness that we heard. He has never, by his own admission, had peer-reviewed research publications or any other contributions to the literature in this area that we can examine and that we can verify as to whether it is, in fact, credible information.

Secondly, there was a paper published. The details are a lung transplant done from a home in Ontario. You heard about that from Senator Kutcher just now. If you’d like, we can share that information with you. Dr. Eric Thomas provided that information. He talks about the experiences he has had in many cases. He talks about the patient he had with the MAID procedure in November, the one you just heard about, and the fact that she did not have pulmonary edema when her lungs were removed for transplant.

We have also learned that there are a number of patients who allow their organs to be transplanted, patients who opt for the MAID procedure and donate their organs. In general, what we know about organ transplantation —

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore 

I’m sorry, Senator Moodie, your time has passed and we have to move on to debate with Senator Mégie.