I apologize for the delay in reply, I got out a week ago and wanted to enjoy being out mostly.
"Well, one step is necessary: ensuring *something* is in place upon ending the current one, or a lot of people are not going to be getting the treatments they desperately need in order to live a normal life. Amendments are almost always better than completely scrapping something and starting from scratch, and should be the first thing sought."
I find I can bear the prospect of people not being force treated with considerable equinamity. Not everyone desires what most would consider a 'normal life' in the first place, I don't feel the lack of it myself even though what most would consider a 'normal life' or indeed the ability to function in a lot of situations most people would take for granted is something I am not capable of(which is untreatable, at least most of it, due to the particular way I have apparently won psychiatric bingo in terms of my diagnoses; even if it was 'treatable', in fact if my varying conditions were 'cureable' I wouldn't want that because they are intrinsic and valued parts of who I am... I do need to learn to function better with them which is a process that is ongoing and which I am making progress in). The whole thing is flawed from the base, and so getting rid of it right from where the flaws start does not seem unreasonable.
A replacement would ideally follow the general program of the mental patients union outlined here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_Patients%27_Union
"Plus, the petition does not really cite anything specific in the act that they are taking issue with, just a general idea that the current act needs to go. What *exactly* needs to be dealt with in the current act, ie that you wouldn't want to see in a new act, or that you think needs to be seen in a new act?"
-The use of "possibility of severe deterioration" needs to go; according to the medical model simply not receiving conventional treatment means one is "at risk of severe mental deterioration" which means that clause makes it a de facto crime to be walking free while <insert diagnostic criteria here>.
-Community treatment orders should go.
-Independent review in appeals by those not associated with the psychiatric system should be introduced if I was amending the act.
-The possibility of people rejecting the medical model of psychiatric disability entirely, as for example several 'made pride' groups do, should be acknowledged as something to be respected.
-Voluntary treatment should be easier to obtain, while involuntary treatment eliminated entirely.
-Elimination of the certificiation process, or if not that extremely strict judicial review and the possibility of veto power by civil liberties groups introduced.
-The elimination in general of any extra-judicial power given to doctors that de facto reduce mental patients to second class citizens.
"Where do we get the idea that we have a right to self-treat based upon our own preferred methods? If it doesn't come from the Mental Health Act, where is this right conferred from? The majority of the petition is pathos (emotion) based arguments, even if it has a basis in factual arguments that are simply not expounded upon."
Certain forms of freedom are so fundamental that without them no possible freedom can exist. Cognitive liberty is one of these, and the right to experience ones natural mental functioning, only have it altered with ones consent and manage it and any difficulties resulting from it according to ones own preferred methods is necessary for meaningful cognitive liberty. Besides which, the legal powers given to psychiatry under Mental Health Act violate Canadian Charter rights, such as;
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Violation of a; A person may object to psychiatry or to psychiatric treatment on the basis of conscience or religion and this will not be respected under the Alberta Mental Health Act. In fact, such an objection will likely be dismissed as a symptom of your illness.
Violation of b; "Freedom of thought" is fundamentally threatened when a psychiatrist can arbitrarily declare the contents of your thought to be an illness that puts you at risk of severe deterioration and so in need of being locked up for treatment. Freedom of expression is chilled by this-if expressing certain thoughts results in you being seen as "crazy" and this puts you at risk of incarceration and so you become reluctant to freely express your thoughts it results in de facto repression of free expression.
Violation of d; Obviously one will be unable to practice ones free association while incarcerated within a psychiatric ward.
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Incarceration in a psychiatric ward may deprive you of life, certainly deprives you of liberty and is likely to deprive you of security of the person. Psychiatric disabilities are an innate condition, not a choice; to deprive people of liberty due to them is certainly not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.
Except if you're in the minority who experiences certain mental states it seems....
12. Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Being beaten up and forcibly injected, as I witnessed happen to my room mate, certainly seems to qualify as "cruel treatment"; such is not an uncommon occurence.
15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
I cannot think of a more clear violation of equality rights than a law that allows special powers to detain, control and treat people with a mental disability.
While exceptions to charter rights do exist in many laws, for a law to apply such exceptions to people specifically because of their disability is cruel and injust and so must be stopped.
"-Licensed facilities. Are psychiatric patients now going to get drugs and treatments at sketchy places like tattoo parlors, or via "a friend of a friend" who may or may not have the proper medications? (I specifically mention tattoo parlors because of the problems of the past decade or so, where tons of people were getting infections from unlicensed or basement tattoo places)"
This is a difficult matter that involves a lot of different factors, but licensed facilities are not any guaruntee against abuse regarding a population that is in some ways basically considered less than human.
"-The Rights of Formal and Voluntary patients. Suddenly, they would have none of their rights to consent or refuse (and other things), because the only thing currently giving them rights as patients is the same act."
The right of a person to consent to whatever treatment they wish should be upheld, granted.
"-Formal reviews, applying for such, and challenging such."
These reviews are biased towards the psychiatrists.
"-Confidentiality and access to your own information."
I've been refused access to my own information before; both confidentiality and access to ones own information should be extended further.
"-Requirements for investigations of complaints. Without such, a complaint can be completely, legally, ignored. As of now, if the complaint is ignored, it must be ignored in keeping with the legislated reasoning, and must be reported upon."
I doubt this actually occurs, because the case tends to be that few really give a damn about us 'crazies'. However, procedures for investigation of complaints should be as confidentiality and access to ones own information extended further.