The federal government would be making a mistake by allowing those with severe mental disorders to be eligible for medical assistance in dying, says Aivilik MLA Patterk Netser.
photo courtesy of Patterk Nester

Patterk Netser is “profoundly opposed” to proposed changes the Government of Canada may enact in its medical assistance in dying legislation and he made his feelings clear in the legislative assembly on Thursday.

The government is considering allowing people with incurable and unbearable mental illness to be eligible for legally ending their own lives.

“I am deeply concerned that our federal government is heading on a slippery slope to a society where we tell people who suffer from these conditions that the answer is death,” said Netser, the MLA for the Aivilik riding. “Those suffering mental anguish usually have room to improve, and this is a dangerous slope and deeply concerning because many people who are already depressed are finding openings. They feel that death is the only release from their suffering. This is becoming a very alarming mental health challenge … our suicide rate is already far too high, and I firmly reject the idea that people in crisis should be at risk of making a terrible decision that cannot be undone.”

He added that he’s also worried about Elders – many of whom are unilingual Inuktitut speakers – being sent out of territory for care may be put in situations where medical assistance in dying is presented as an option.

“It’s unthinkable,” Netser said. “This is not acceptable to me.”

Although the legislation is federal responsibility, he argued that it’s worthwhile for territorial politicians to speak firmly on such matters.

“I do believe that we have the duty and responsibility as elected members to express our position on an issue that impacts every citizen of the country,” he said. “I want to conclude by calling on our government to make its voice clearly heard on this issue, which is literally one of life and death.”

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  1. what an great argument it would be for him he should of been health minister that would have a big impact if he was one way to go Netser

  2. Netser is completely mischaracterizing the issue. It isn’t like the government is saying that death is the answer. Rather, this is a decision to be made by the individual in consultation with health professionals. And this has NOTHING to do with mental health either. Current laws are very careful to ensure that when making a decision to end their life, that a person is mentally and emotionally capable of doing so. Why would any caring, rational person create a situation where an individual is left to suffer in chronic pain with no hope of recovery? It seems to me that THAT is the immoral decision here.

  3. This is law in NS already, and people are looking for assistance to go to Mexico or US to be treated for things that isn’t treated by social medicine in Canada.
    Because they are dying and are offered lethal injection here, where as other countries will treat you for it.

  4. I agree whole heartily with all you said Nestor. We are being legislated to refer people to have their depression and other curable diseases treated by death. What a travesty!

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