Assisted Death Bill Sends Wrong Message to Indigenous People, Advocates Say

November 24, 2020 Updated: November 24, 2020

OTTAWA—The chief executive officer of an organization that provides health care to the Siksika First Nation in Alberta says an assisted−dying bill sends the wrong message to Indigenous youth.

Tyler White says Indigenous elders work hard to tell young people that suicide should not be an option, and the bill sends a contradictory message.

White is among numerous opponents to the current medical assistance in dying bill being debated by the House of Commons and Senate.

The bill broadens categories of who is eligible for an assisted death, but also imposes more stringent guidelines on how it can be accessed.

Dr. Thomas Fung, a physician who works with Indigenous patients, says a 90−day waiting period before some people can receive an assisted death is too short.

He says it can take longer than that to arrange adequate services and support that could convince people not to choose death.