Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Honourable senators, I stand here as a woman. I stand here also as an Aboriginal woman. I have been in this chamber for 11 years. I have served as critic for a lot of bills that have affected First Nations people, and I have seen us trample on the rights of those people for a decade. We have ignored their constitutional rights. They have come before us, so I definitely see my role as standing up for minorities.
In this case, I think it's very clear that we're creating two classes of people with the same disease, and I feel we have a duty to protect the rights of those people. Even though the reality of the situation may be challenging, the House of Commons does not see it.
But, as pointed out by my learned colleague Senator Joyal, we are here to protect minorities. I wholeheartedly support Senator Joyal's amendment. I firmly believe that we have to stand up and fight for the rights of those people who will be denied this right. As pointed out by Senator Cowan and Senator Jaffer, those people who are not seen as being reasonably near a natural death will be forced to stop eating, stop drinking and make themselves so sick that they may then be seen as eligible for medical assistance in dying.
The reality for them is we have to stand up for them. We are the house that should be looking after their interests because their interests reflect a small group, and if we don't stand up for them, who the heck is going to? So I wholeheartedly support Senator Joyal's amendment.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!