Liberal Member of Parliament Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who has made a principled point of fighting human rights abuses, has added another battle to that list. He has proposed a criminal code bill, Bill C-500, to prohibit organ harvesting by force or selling organs for cash by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
The summary of the bill is as follows. "This enactment provides for the impositions of penal sanctions for persons who, in Canada or outside Canada, are involved in the medical transplant of human organs or other body parts obtained of or acquired as a consequence of a direct or indirect financial transaction or without the donor's consent."
The proposed bill has a punishment prescribed from between a maximum of "life in prison" and a minimum of "five years imprisonment".
The recipients of organs have thirty days to prove that the organ they now have has been received from a willing donor.
Wrzesnewskyj became aware that an orphanage in Ukraine was selling organs harvested from their children for profit. Like situations have been uncovered in Pakistan where people have sold their organs in a hope that they would get out of poverty.
Among Wrzesnewskyj's human rights crusades have been the organization of Canadian observers to ensure the legitimacy of the elections in the Ukraine allowing for the "Orange Revolution" to succeed. Another got him into some hot water when he criticized the bombing of civilian villages in Lebanon. When the Russian Prime Minister visited Ottawa, Wrzesnewskyj lambasted him for his treatment of Estonians.
"This is not a political issue but a matter of life and death, and should not be drawn on party lines," said Wrzesnewskyj, adding, "I encourage people in support of Bill C-500 to ask their members of parliament for their support."
Borys Wrzesnewskyj proposes a criminal code bill against organ harvesting