MAID for mental illness
The statue Justicia from the Supreme Court of Canada overlooking the Peace Tower, in Ottawa (Photo credit: Dreamstime)

A Liberal member of parliament spoke out against his own government’s plans to expand medical assistance in dying (MAID) to those with mental illness, after supporting a Conservative bill that opposed the expansion.

“There’s certainly not enough safeguards at the moment,” Dr. Marcus Powlowski, a Liberal MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River, Ont., said Wednesday of expanding MAID to patients with mental illness as their only medical condition. That expansion is set to begin March 17.

Ed Fast, MP for Abbotsford, B.C., introduced the private members' bill in February. It was narrowly defeated at second reading by a vote of 150-167. The Conservatives, New Democratic Party and Greens supported the bill, along with eight Liberals. Sixteen MPs — including 12 Liberals — abstained.

“There is absolutely no national consensus to expand MAID to those suffering from mental disorders,” Fast said in a statement on Thursday. “A large majority of Canadians oppose moving ahead with such an expansion without the appropriate mental health and social supports having been addressed.”

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Meagan Gillmore is an Ottawa-based reporter with a decade of journalism experience. Meagan got her start as a general assignment reporter at The Yukon News. She has freelanced for the CBC, The Toronto...