Source: Ottawa Sun
It was a sad day in Canadian history when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the Criminal Code provisions against assisted suicide in the February 2015 Carter decision, opening the way for Canada to join the small minority of countries and legal jurisdictions that allow either the direct killing of a patient or indirectly through prescriptions for lethal drugs.
The Supreme Court decision gave an air of inevitability to the legislation we saw presented in Ottawa on April 14. Bill C-14, the Liberal government’s so-called Medical Assistance in Dying bill will legalize both euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Parliament must pass a law by June 6, otherwise, the Carter decision goes into effect, leaving a legal vacuum on euthanasia and assisted suicide similar to that on abortion. This leaves legislators who oppose assisted death on principle between the devil and the deep blue sea.
The legislation we saw presented in the House of Commons on Thursday was not inevitable, however. The previous Conservative government and the present Liberal government had the option of invoking the charter’s notwithstanding clause to suspend the court’s decision for five years. The five weeks Bill C-14 has to pass through the House of Commons, the committee stage and the Senate is not enough time to consider the sea change in our laws and health-care system that legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide