Madam Speaker, what a debate this has been. Bill C-14 has been at times a very emotional discussion, both inside the House and outside the House, whether it has been at committee or other places. I have learned a great deal from it. I really appreciated the many members on all sides of the House, no matter what their position has been on Bill C-14, who have been able to articulate and share quite candidly some real life stories, whether it was during second reading, at third reading, or at the committee stage. A number of members of Parliament were engaged in this debate and I would like to acknowledge their contributions.
It has been an interesting process from its beginning. We can talk about the Supreme Court decision and then fast-forward it to December, when there were heavy discussions on how we could come up with a report. We had a joint committee of the House and the Senate where we saw members of both places coming together to work and get a better sense of recommendations, ideas, and thoughts through consultation to make sure we could advance to where we are today. We saw ministers of the crown, two in particular, those for Justice and Health, pull it all together into something that sets a good, solid, legal framework, but will stand up to a charter challenge. l truly believe that to be the case.
From the ministers, to the individuals who sat on the committee, to the individuals who have spoken on this at different levels of readings, to those individuals outside of the House, people throughout our great country have been involved and engaged as much as one can expect on a piece of legislation that is so very important to each and every one of us. I have on numerous occasions stood with petitions dealing with this issue. I know other members have done likewise. I know that all members of the House have had consultations with their constituents, have received correspondence, and had telephone discussions.
I was able to cite a very personal experience with my father and what had taken place at the time of his passing. I was only one of many who was able to share stories. I thought I would provide a highlight in terms of why we are here. As members will know, it was a unanimous decision. All nine Supreme Court judges made the decision that we had to bring in a new law. That is really what Bill C-14 deals with, a new law regarding medical assistance in dying.
The Supreme Court of Canada made that decision and they put in a time frame. We have passed the deadline, but not by too much. It would have been nice to have achieved that deadline, but that is where we are today. If I could make reference to what this is, it is that access to medical assistance in dying would only be available to those who meet certain conditions: mentally competent adults who are in an advanced state of irreversible decline and capability; have a serious and incurable illness, disease, or disability and are experiencing enduring and intolerable suffering caused by their medical condition; and whose death has become reasonably foreseeable, taking into account all of their medical circumstances.
Something that is not highlighted very often is the fact that after four years this whole process will be under review, which is really important to emphasize.
Earlier today at the beginning of the debate, there was a comment that captured the essence of the bill and hopefully will put to rest many minds in regard to the issue that we have been debating. This is a quote from the Minister of Justice this morning. She said, “The bill achieves the most appropriate balance between individuals' autonomy in deciding how their death will occur and protection of vulnerable individuals, as well as broader societal interests.”
That is something the minister said earlier today, and that I concur with 100%.
I will now go to what the Prime Minister has said, and this is a great way to conclude my remarks. He recognized that Bill C-14 does not end the national discussion that needs to take place
We have seen a budget that has brought forward an incentive to ensure we build on a health care accord. This is something we believe is important to all Canadians, because Canadians from coast to coast to coast have told us that. We will continue to build and look toward palliative care as a part of that ongoing discussion.
It is such a privilege to be able to stand up and share a few thoughts and words before the bill ultimately passes.