Published On: Fri, Apr 22nd, 2016

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau defends euthanasia bill as ‘the first step’

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended his government’s draft bill on euthanasia and assisted suicide after some Liberal backbenchers complained it is more restrictive than the Supreme Court intended when it struck down the existing law against euthanasia and assisted suicide in its February 2015 Carter ruling.

Introduced April 14, Bill C-14 is intended to replace the current law by June 6, when the Carter ruling takes effect, but some Liberal MPs and senators have criticized it for not going far enough. (Emphasis added, The Dispatch)

Yasmin Ratansi, MP for the Toronto riding of Don Valley East, told the Canadian Press that her constituents favor a more wide-open euthanasia regime.

NVVE is an "End of Life" group offering assisted suicides and euthanasia in the Netherlands photo http://www.nvve.nl/

NVVE is an “End of Life” group offering assisted suicides and euthanasia in the Netherlands photo http://www.nvve.nl/

“At the moment, they feel … that the bill has not met the benchmark” of the Supreme Court’s Carter decision, she told CP. “I don’t want people who are suffering to go to court and to (have to) challenge to get their rights.”

Trudeau said that legalizing assisted suicide and euthanasia is a “momentous” change which must be implemented with caution.

These are “very, very weighty questions,” the prime minister told reporters and he pointed out the government is up against the Court-imposed June 6 deadline.

“This is the first step, it’s a big one. Some people thought it should be bigger, I respect that.”

He added that he hoped MPs and senators would realize “how momentous this step is and take it one step at a time as we move forward in a responsible manner because this is one of those things you can’t undo.”

photo/ donkeyhotey

photo/ donkeyhotey

Trudeau’s parliamentary secretary, Toronto MP Adam Vaughan, confirmed with CP that the government is open to MPs debating and proposing possible amendments to the bill.

Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson said that the Supreme Court’s Carter decision was a “bomb” and that CLC’s position is that the government must invoke the ‘notwithstanding clause,’ which will override the ruling for five years.


The Supreme Court ruled in Carter that the law preventing competent adults who have a “grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring and intolerable suffering” from seeking “physician-assisted dying” infringed their Charter Section 7 right to “life, liberty and security of persons.”

The draft bill did not follow the joint parliamentary committee’s February 2016 report, which recommended euthanasia for mature minors, for mental illness alone, and that people with degenerative disorders such as dementia be allowed to issue advance directives to be euthanized at a future date.

However, neither did the Liberals rule out eventually allowing euthanasia under these circumstances.



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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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