Today the Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that Canadians have a right to ask their doctor to help them die. The decision was in response to a challenge from the BC Civil Liberties Association.
From the Globe and Mail: “Canadian adults who are mentally competent and suffering intolerably and permanently have the right to a doctor’s help in dying, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Friday morning. The intolerable suffering can be physical or psychological.”
This decision reverses a ban on physician assisted suicide that is 21 years old.
The government now has 12 months to draft a law, which will be interesting since Stephen Fletcher’s two Private Member’s Bills is still working it’s way through Parliament (C-581 and C-582). Fletcher, of course, has gone against his party on this issue, supporting the right to die. He says we need to be merciful, compassionate and empathetic and respect the right of individuals to make decisions for themselves.
It is even more interesting since this is an election year, so in reality if the Conservative government wants to control the issue they have a few short months to write legislation and push it through.