Thompson Rivers University

TRU Indigenous mental health expert addresses Senate on changes to MAID

February 2, 2021

Dr. Rod McCormick

Today, (Feb. 2), Dr. Rod McCormick testified as a witness before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs about Bill C7, an act to amend the Criminal Code (medial assistance in dying, or MAID). 

McCormick, Professor and Research Chair in Indigenous Health, and director of All My Relations, an Indigenous research centre based at Thompson Rivers University, supports the proposed change to MAID that states those whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental illness are not eligible. Further, McCormick does not support repealing the provision that requires a person’s natural death be reasonably foreseeable for them to be eligible for medical assistance in dying.

An internationally renowned expert in Indigenous mental health, McCormick spent much of his career as a practicing psychotherapist working to support Indigenous communities in crisis and has practiced extensively in the area of suicide prevention. 

“The message that MAID presents to those who are suffering is that when the suffering becomes more than they can tolerate that they can have medical professionals end their life for them. This message undermines the whole concept of suicide prevention,” he told Senate.

“When Indigenous peoples are already over-represented at every stage of our health system, it seems ironic to provide yet another path to death,” he said. “The COVID pandemic has exacerbated problems in our communities as we see an increase in domestic violence, suicide, and drug overdoses. Instead of giving us a new ‘tool’ for assisted death, the government should be providing us with better access to counselling services, mental health and disability support services, community services, and palliative care.”

More information

Rod McCormick, PhD
Professor and BCIC Research Chair in Indigenous Health

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