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Government given more time to change law

  • March 5, 2020

OTTAWA -- The federal government’s request for a four-month extension to comply with a Quebec court ruling that struck down a key element of Canada’s legal suicide regulations has been granted.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin agreed to the extension request on March 2, giving the federal government until July 11 to make changes to the so-called medical assistance in dying (MAiD) regulations that would eliminate the requirement that the death of a person seeking assisted suicide be already “reasonably foreseeable.”

In the meantime, the government’s proposed Bill C-7, introduced in the House of Commons in February, sets up a two-tier system for those whose death is reasonably foreseeable and those whose death is not.

The bill specifically excludes “eligibility for individuals suffering solely from mental illness,” but the government concedes that future changes could include assisted suicide for the mentally-ill and minors following a mandated five-year review of the system that will start this summer.

Canada’s bishops are urging all people of faith who are opposed to euthanasia to speak out.

“In addition to voicing their strong opposition to the proposed legislation, the bishops call upon all Canadians who also oppose the new bill to make their voices heard. They likewise urge members of Parliament to acknowledge the giftedness of life as an inalienable right not to be taken away by others, the importance of compassion for the ill and the dying, as well as the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable,” said a statement from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) released Feb. 26.

The bishops are calling on the government to use the extra time that has been granted to have a thorough debate about the implications of allowing legal euthanasia and the implications of opening up the system to more Canadians.

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