As­sisted-dy­ing OK may take longer

The Daily Courier - - CANADA -

VAN­COU­VER — A civil lib­er­ties group says se­verely ill Cana­di­ans look­ing for med­i­cal help to end their lives have a longer wait be­fore they find out whether the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is vi­o­lat­ing their right to a med­i­cally as­sisted death.

The Supreme Court of Bri­tish Columbia has ruled the facts used by the coun­try’s top court to over­turn a ban on as­sisted dy­ing two years ago are no longer ap­pli­ca­ble and the fed­eral gov­ern­ment can ar­gue them anew.

The gov­ern­ment said in its orig­i­nal sub­mis­sions that the land­mark Supreme Court of Canada rul­ing in­volves dif­fer­ent pa­tients and ev­i­dence re­lated to as­sisted-dy­ing regimes in other coun­tries that was pre­sented in the orig­i­nal case is no longer cur­rent.

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Jody Wil­sonRay­bould says in a state­ment the gov­ern­ment will con­tinue de­fend­ing its leg­is­la­tion and ar­gues it strikes the ap­pro­pri­ate bal­ance be­tween safe­guard­ing ac­cess to med­i­cally as­sisted death and pro­tect­ing the rights of vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple.

Caily DiPuma of the B.C. Civil Lib­er­ties As­so­ci­a­tion, which is spear­head­ing the law­suit, says Wed­nes­day’s rul­ing will pro­long the suf­fer­ing of griev­ously sick peo­ple ea­ger to ac­cess a right the courts have al­ready granted them.

Two B.C. women and the civil lib­er­ties group are chal­leng­ing the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the leg­is­la­tion, which they say is more re­stric­tive than the sys­tem of as­sisted dy­ing en­vi­sioned by the Supreme Court.

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