On May 17, the House of Commons in Ottawa voted on Opposition Motion #61 to protect the freedom of conscience of health care professionals who object to taking part in euthanizing patients. The motion read as follows:
“That, in the opinion of the House: ( a) it is in the public interest to protect the freedom of conscience of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional who objects to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying; (b) everyone has freedom of conscience and religion under section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; (c) a regime that would require a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional to make use of effective referral of patients could infringe on the freedom of conscience of those medical practitioners, nurse practitioners, pharmacists or any other health care professional; and (d) the government should support legislation to protect the freedom of conscience of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional.”
The motion was defeated with a vote of 96 in favour and 214 opposed. Every voting Liberal voted against this motion, including Wayne Easter; Lawrence MacAulay; Sean Casey; and Bobby Morrissey. I am both saddened and shocked that our Island MPs would not vote to protect our basic human right to freedom of conscience and religion; a right which is already enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
Why wouldn’t they? Would Island Newspapers and the CBC please follow up on this important issue and demand an explanation from each MP as to why they would vote against this motion in what – at least on the face of it – clearly appears to be a blatant betrayal of the collective and democratic will of the people of Prince Edward Island?