Compassion and respect

Canadian assisted dying law now more likely!

The election of the Trudeau Liberal Government in Canada means a greatly increased chance of voluntary assisted dying legislation!

In Feb 2014, the Canadian Liberal Party voted overwhelmingly for a resolution in favour of  legalisation of assisted dying. Resolutions are not binding on elected members and Trudeau himself  didn’t take a clear stand.  However, in his keynote speech reportedly said the resolution challenges Liberals “to expand our idea of what it means to be a free citizen in a modern democracy” and “to reflect on giving terminally afflicted Canadians the choice to end their pain and suffering and plan their own death with dignity.”  Trudeau is strongly pro-choice on abortion and declared in April 2014 that future Liberal candidates “need to be completely understanding that they will be expected to vote pro-choice on any bills.”

In February 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court gave the Federal Government 12 months to respond to the Court’s unanimous decision that the prohibition on assisted dying was unconstitutional.  The Harper Conservative Government, that was defeated by the Trudeau Liberals in the election, opposed assisted dying legislation.  It had set up a panel widely regarded as anti-euthanasia to advise it on the action it should take in response to the Court’s decision.

Hopefully, that process will now be abandoned in favour of action by the new Government to legislate in line with the Supreme Court’s support for “physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.”

We will follow events in Canada with great interest and report when we have more news.

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