ASSISTED-DYING BILL TO BE TABLED TOMORROW TAKES NARROW APPROACH: GLOBE AND MAIL

Apr 13, 2016

By Jane Brown

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There are strong indications the Trudeau Liberal’s Assisted Dying bill will be introduced tomorrow.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that a source familiar with the legislation says the bill takes a much narrower approach to medically assisted death than recommended by members of a joint parliamentary committee.

The bill will reportedly exclude those who only experience mental suffering, such as people with psychiatric conditions. The bill also won’t allow for advance consent for those suffering with debilitating conditions such as dementia. In addition, there will be no exceptions for mature minors who have not yet reached 18 but wish to end their own lives.

The proposed legislation comes in response to a Supreme Court decision in February of 2015 that unanimously struck down the Criminal Code ban on assisted dying. Parliament was given a year to come up with a new law, but then granted the new Liberal government an extension until June 6th to draft a new law.

Conservative MP Michael Cooper, one of the committee’s vice-chairs who argued for a limited scope on assisted dying, said if the anticipated bill excludes minors, advanced directives and people with mental illnesses, “then that is a step in the right direction.” But he questioned how the Liberal government expects to debate, study and pass its law by June 6th, especially in the Senate, where Liberals are no longer part of the government’s caucus.

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