Trudeau health minister: Gov't-assisted suicide WILL expand to Canadians suffering solely from mental health issues, but not yet

"We're just not there yet."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
On Monday, Liberal Health Minister Mark Holland announced that the federal government needed more time before it could expand the medical assistance in dying (MAID) program, or state-sponsored euthanasia, to include those for whom mental illness is the sole underlying condition.

The proposed expansion was set to take effect on March 17, and while Holland did not give an exact timeline, he nonetheless stated that it would happen eventually.

"We agree with the conclusion that the committee has come to that the system is not ready, and more time is required," Holland said, referring to a report tabled in parliament regarding whether Canada's healthcare system was prepared to expand MAID.

He acknowledged that the decision was in line with many provinces, whose healthcare officials and mental health professionals have expressed concern over the speed at which MAID has been expanding, and noted that his office would be tabling a parliamentary response in the coming days.

"Is your intention to still move ahead with MAiD for mental illness, just within a longer timeframe?" a reporter asked.

"That's correct," Holland replied.

"There are people who have, for decades, been trapped in mental torture, being in a horrific situation where they have tried everything and exhausted all avenues and under their own recognisance are saying that they want access to MAID," he continued. "What we're saying is that in order for someone in that intractable situation... that eventually they should have that right, but the system needs to be ready, and the system needs to get it right."

When asked what he would say to those who had been waiting for March 17, Holland noted that because the government does not have a timeline, "those individuals are gonna have to wait a little longer" to end their lives.

He added that they would "understand" that waiting to ensure the system is properly set up is "a sacrifice we must make."
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