Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis claimed in the House of Commons on Tuesday that MAiD had nothing to do with suicide. 

According to Koutrakis, seeking assisted suicide is not suicidal. 

“I think it’s irresponsible and untrue honestly to claim that MAID has anything to do with suicide. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of all Canadians to have access to critical mental health resources and suicide prevention services,” said Koutrakis. 

“I am a member of the special MAID committee and not one witness that I heard when I was there said that this is suicidal.” 

Koutrakis made the comments when asked by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis how the Liberal government intends to exclude mentally ill people who are suicidal from accessing assisted suicide. 

However, Koutrakis’s stance stands in stark contrast to the prevailing discourse and historical context surrounding assisted suicide. 

While she attempts to dissociate assisted suicide from ordinary suicide, the very essence of the practice revolves around the deliberate choice to end one’s life with medical assistance.

Moreover, Koutrakis’s statement disregards the reality that the practice has often been discussed in tandem with suicide, both in public discourse and within legislative frameworks. 

The terminology used in the legislative background of Bill C-14, which governs MAiD, frequently refers to “assisted suicide.” 

Furthermore, Koutrakis’s remarks come at a critical juncture as the federal government grapples with the expansion of the assisted suicide program to include individuals with mental illness. 

The decision to delay this expansion by three years was announced by Health Minister Mark Holland and Justice Minister Arif Virani.

“We agree with the conclusion that the committee has come to that the system is, at this time, not ready and more time is required,” said Holland earlier this month. 

Meanwhile, the Conservatives have called on the federal government to scrap the eligibility expansion altogether.