Mar 25, 2014

By AM740 Staff

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A private member’s bill was introduced in the house of Commons today to legalize physician assisted death. Conservative Party Mp, Steven Fletcher, a Quadriplegic, says he wants to be empowered to make the best decisions for himself concerning end of life. It is currently illegal in Canada to aid or council suicide and is an offense punishable by up to 14 years prison. This is not the fist time that such legislation has been introduced in the House of Commons. In 2005 former Bloc Quebecois MP, Francine Lalonde, introduced legislation that would have legalized assisted death in Canada, but it was rejected by a majority of MP’s. However, in Quebec, legislation to allow medical aid in dying has passed second reading and it goes further than the law in Washington, Oregon and Vermont, where the patient must take the final step of administering the fatal medication. A spokesperson for Minister of Justice, Peter MacKay said today that the government has no intention of reopening the debate on assisted suicide. Discussion of assisted death resurfaced following the release of an impassioned YouTube video of Dr.Donald Low, the microbiologist credited with guiding Toronto through the 2003 SARS crisis. He pleaded for legalization in the video shot eight days before he died of a brain tumor. And just last week, there was a similar posthumous plea from Toronto lawyer, Edward Hung, a victim of ALS, who travelled to Switzerland for doctor assisted death.

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