Parliament Debates Bill C-384 and Motion 388

A few weeks ago, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition covered two important parliamentary debates on their blog.

First, the debate on Bill C-384 (to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide) didn’t go so well for Francine Lalonde.

Parliamentary procedure states that a private member’s bill receives two hours of debate before being voted on at second reading. C-384 is tentatively scheduled to receive its second hour of debate on November 16, 2009.

Eight Members of Parliament spoke on C-384. Two spoke in favour – Francine Lalonde (BQ), Serge Cardin – (BQ); six opposed the bill – David Anderson (CPC), Hon John McKay (Lib), Jacques Gourde (CPC), Hon Marlene Jennings (Lib), Joe Comartin (NDP), Paul Szabo (Lib).

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has an overview of all the arguments each MP raised.

The other debate was regarding Motion 388, which we haven’t talked about yet on this blog.

Harold Albrecht MP introduced Motion 388 to encourage the government to clarify Section 241 of the Criminal Code in order to ensure that the law applies to Internet suicide predators.

In March 2008, Nadia Kajouji killed herself after being encouraged and counseled by William Melchert-Dinkel, a licensed practical nurse in Minnesota.

In response to a plea by Kajouji’s mother, Albrecht introduced M388 to clarify the assisted suicide law and to address the crime of online suicide counseling, which has led to Nadia and other young people committing suicide after being urged by predators via the Internet.

The discussion here is fascinating. First of all, there’s the question of whether or not you need Internet-specific laws (I tend to think they’re usually dumb). But, supporters argue that M388 isn’t about treating the Internet as a special case, but rather clarifying that Section 241 also applies to suicide counseling over the Internet.

Then, Serge Ménard (BQ) were particularly curious.

Ménard then continued by stating that suicide is the second leading cause of death in Quebec. He then stated, “We believe that it is important to ensure that counselling or aiding and abetting suicide is an offence, no matter the means used – including telecommunications, the Internet or a computer system.”

As Alex Schadenberg notes, it’s the Bloc that supports Bill C-384, which would “essentially eliminate the protections in Section 241 of the Criminal Code.”

Both posts are an interesting read in their entirety if you’re interested in following these debates in Ottawa.

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