Schmale supports assisted dying bill after polling residents
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Jamie Schmale supported Bill C-14, the government’s assisted dying bill, in a May 31 vote.
The bill passed with a vote of 186-137 in the House of Commons and has gone to the Senate for review.
“Due to the magnitude of this legislation, I decided to seek input and guidance on how I should vote at third reading from the residents of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock in the form of my first constituency referendum,” Schmale said in a release.
Schmale included a ballot question in a mail-out to residents earlier this month, asking if they wanted him to support the draft Bill C-14. He said he’d vote in accordance with the wishes of the majority of respondents.
According to Schmale’s office, 51,904 packages were mailed out. Of those, 3,649 were returned; a seven per cent response rate.
Of those returned ballots, 76 per cent – or 2,762 – were in favour of the legislation, 20 per cent – or 748 – were against and four per cent – 140 ballots – were spoiled.
“It is important that people, not politicians, have clear input on such an important issue that will affect every Canadian,” Schmale said in the release. “This referendum gave me the opportunity to consult and listen to as many people as possible from a large area in a short period of time.”
Some residents complained online, claiming they did not receive the paper mail-outs. Schmale directed them to his website.
The bill, as it’s written, restricts doctor-assisted death to mentally competent adults who have serious or fatal diseases, are in considerable suffering and whose death is likely.
It does not extend the right to physician-assisted death to “mature minors” or to the mentally ill, both of which are being advocated by Dying with Dignity Canada, which has said it objects to the legislation the way it is written.
A number of senators have also said they object to the legislation as written.
The Supreme Court of Canada gave Parliament a deadline of June 6 of this year to produce some form of assisted dying legislation, with legislation banning the practice set to expire.