New Liberal Government set to delay physician assisted dying legislation

A senior Liberal adviser has told CBC that Justin Trudeau's new Liberal Government is considering asking the Supreme Court for an additional six months delay in bringing forward legislation to comply with the Court's unanimous decision in February to end the prohibition on physician assisted dying. This would mean that helping someone in suffering hasten their death would remain a criminal offence.

In February the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the criminal code's prohibition on assisted suicide violated the Charter rights of Canadians who want to end their suffering. The Court gave the federal government and provinces twelve months to come up with new legislation.

The federal government began a consultation on new legislation during the summer, and at the same time the Ontario Government began a parallel consultation together with the other provinces. These consultations have not even been concluded and already the Liberal Government is seeking more delay in implementing Canadian's Charter rights.

Ian Bushfield, Executive Director, BC Humanist Association:

We're disappointed to hear that newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is considering asking for further delays in implementing physician assisted dying. People are suffering today and they have waited long enough. The Court's decision was crystal clear: Canadians have a right to choose a dignified death. Real change is not putting off important decisions, it's taking leadership and ending the culture of suffering.

The BC Humanist Association has said that all Canadians who choose an assisted death should have that right.

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