Historic Victory - BCCLA wins Dying With Dignity case at Supreme Court of Canada

It was an honour and privilege for me to be present with representatives from BCCLA and supporters to hear the Supreme Court ruling early on Friday morning. We initially received a short message stating that the appeal had been won. An overwhelmed silence ensued, not applause or joy. We needed to hear more. Josh Paterson called in shortly afterward to verify the ruling, and to let us know it was unanimous! 9-0!

At this point the cheers rang out and a few quiet tears were shed. Joe Arvay, lead counsel, joined us with his wife Connie and humbly thanked everyone for their work, and the Supreme Court justices for their wisdom. Both Joe and Howard Shapray commented on the comprehensive nature of the factums presented and the diligence of Sheila Tucker, Alison Latimer and Grace Pastine, (not to mention his own work). A former President of BCCLA gently admonished Joe for his own humility and thanked him for his work in the Carter vs Canada case.

This is undoubtedly a historic day for Canada, and it started here in BC. We would not be here without the courage of Lynn Smith who ruled for this case in 2012, and the hard work of the BCCLA team who persisted in the appeal. The perseverance and single mindedness of Dying With Dignity needs to be commended, particularly CEO Wanda Morris.

Uppermost in everyone’s mind are the brave individuals who fought for this ruling. Sue Rodriguez, Kay Carter, Susan Griffiths, and Gloria Taylor, among others.

I have been working on behalf of Dying With Dignity for two years and can attest to the many hours of work that typical Canadian citizens like myself have invested in this important issue. Today was a day demonstrating democracy at its best. The judges in their ruling found an intersection of reason and compassion representative of the will of the majority of Canadians.
The 85 page ruling is available on the SCC website.

Yours in gratitude,

Sue Hughson
President BC Humanist Association

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