Liberals, NDP defeat bill to protect conscience rights of healthcare providers

May 25, 2017

(Queen’s Park) – Last week, Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece and the Ontario PC caucus voted in favour of a private member’s bill – Bill 129 – that would have protected the conscience rights of healthcare providers in Ontario.

The majority Liberal government, along with NDP members, voted against the bill and defeated it.

“It was extremely disappointing to see the government vote against freedom of conscience for healthcare practitioners,” said Pettapiece after the May 18th vote. “They have tough jobs as it is. It’s wrong for the government to force them to participate in something contrary to their conscience or religious beliefs.”

The private member’s bill, introduced by PC Health Critic MPP Jeff Yurek, would simply have lifted the requirement for healthcare professionals to participate in medical assistance in dying—similar to the protections they enjoy in the majority of other provinces.

The Liberal government chose to disregard the groundswell of support among healthcare providers for protecting conscience rights.

“Ontario’s dedicated health care professionals should under no circumstances be forced to participate in medical assistance in dying if it violates their conscience or religious beliefs,” noted MPP Yurek.

Pettapiece also stressed the importance of improving palliative care options, especially in rural and small-town Ontario.

“The government should focus on improving palliative care, and expanding access to it,” stated Pettapiece. “I have strongly supported efforts to establish a new hospice for Perth County, and proudly support the work of our existing hospices in our area.”