Senator Dyck: Would the honourable senator take another question?
Senator Plett: Yes.
Hon. Lillian Dyck: I would like to follow up on that question. Could you explain a little more about the intention of the amendment? I know you have had the benefit of attending all the meetings. You indicated to us that there was unanimous support at the joint committee stage. Could you flesh it out so we could have a better understanding of why the beneficiary aspects were put into that amendment?
Senator Plett: Certainly, Senator Dyck.
In the section where a person has to be a witness, it is quite clear and explicit that this person needs to be, as I said in my speech, 18 years of age or older and they cannot be a beneficiary. It has to be somebody completely independent so as not to take advantage of mother or father.
If the person decides that they want assisted suicide but they don't want to do it today — they might want to do it down the road when their illness gets worse and it's unbearable — they ask the doctor or the physician for a prescription. They get the prescription and take it home.
If they take it home, one of a few things may or may not happen. Their mental state could deteriorate to the point where they can no longer make a proper decision. I am suggesting that son or daughter should not be making that decision for them. There should still be independent people involved in making the decision. Possibly the person is just not moving along quite as fast as son or daughter would want them to, and they want to encourage this process to happen a little faster.
Let's be clear that it does not exclude the loved ones from being around their parents if that's what we're talking about. Clearly that person would want his or her family with them, so it does not exclude that. It just means that there must be independent people. Clearly the government realized there is a problem out there, so they put it in. I believe strongly it should be in this clause as well.
I also strongly believe it shouldn't be done somewhere other than in a hospital, but that's not the amendment.