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On June 6, parliament missed the deadline to create new legislation on assisted death. Some say this was because the Canadian government's proposed legislation, Bill C-14, is not broad enough to comply with the Supreme Court's Carter decision. It seems to me, however, that the missed deadline is the result of a seemingly widespread indifference to the rule of law.
I do not support Bill C-14 in its present state because I do not think that the final version of the bill reflects the intent of the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling on physician-assisted death (Carter case) nor do I think that it serves the patient's best interests. I did not come to this decision easily.
My friend Chuck wants to kill himself. He is hoping if Bill C-14 does not pass in the Senate by June 6th, he will be able to legally commit suicide with the help of a doctor, thereby ending his constant, debilitating and painful battle with mental illness. Chuck is part of a group of patients who, despite being included in the Supreme Court of Canada's ground-breaking decision in Carter vs. Canada, have been cut out of the Liberal's Bill C-14. Here's why.
Our elected leaders are hopefully digging deep and trying to figure out what the right path is for Canada on Bill C-14: the Liberal's legislation on medically assisted dying. It's not an easy task. It may be the most important piece of legislation some of these MPs ever vote on. It's remarkable that our country has even gotten to this point in the first place, but we need to take it slow.
Robert-Falcon Ouellette broke ranks with his own party.
Coroners and medical examiners are central to monitoring PAD. As experts in accurate death reporting, they routinely engage in relevant oversight activities: they decide when a death requires further investigation, they report aggregate data concerning death and they make public matters of interest and concern regarding trends.
"Killing is not medicine."
Almost one year ago, on February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously ruled that some Criminal Code sections were unconstitutional regarding a very small group of people who, the Court ruled, are entitled under constitutional law to a physician's help to die. On Monday, the Government of Canada went back to the Supreme Court to request a further six-month delay. The question is: Why?
Much of the debate surrounding Physician Assisted Death (PAD) was between those who believe in personal autonomy and the right to avoid unwanted suffering, and those who believe life is sacred and suffering is redemptive. Those same two groups are now trying to influence the creation of detailed legislation and regulations.
When the Supreme Court of Canada strikes down legislation on the human body, it presents a challenge to government to respond. In each case, legislators responded ineffectively or did nothing. But, like it or not, the February deadline for legislation on physician-assisted dying is looming.