As­sisted death panel won’t dic­tate gov­ern­ment re­sponse: MacKay

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

Jus­tice Min­is­ter Peter MacKay says pan­el­lists tasked with re­view­ing the highly-con­tro­ver­sial is­sue of doc­tor-as­sisted death will not dic­tate the fi­nal out­come of the gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to the Supreme Court’s de­ci­sion.

While speak­ing in Hal­i­fax to­day, MacKay re­sponded to crit­i­cism about the make-up of the panel that will con­sult med­i­cal author­i­ties and other in­ter­ested par­ties as Cana­di­ans par­tic­i­pate in an online di­a­logue.

The Bri­tish Columbia Civil Lib­er­ties As­so­ci­a­tion says it is con­cerned two of the three pan­el­lists were fed­eral wit­nesses op­posed to the is­sue when the case went to Canada’s top court.

MacKay says the group will hear from a “broad ar­ray of par­tic­i­pants” and will make rec­om­men­da­tions fol­low­ing a process.

But the min­is­ter, who is not seek­ing re-elec­tion, said it is im­por­tant to keep in mind that the ex­ec­u­tive branch of the coun­try will make “im­por­tant de­ci­sions” on how to re­spond to the court’s rul­ing.

MacKay says it is his view leg­is­la­tion is nec­es­sary to fill what is “quite a gap now in our Crim­i­nal Code” as re­sult of the court’s Fe­bru­ary rul­ing.


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