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Government of Canada Disagrees with Senate Over Key Assisted Dying Bill Amendment

Justin Trudeau

When the key elements of Bill C-14 (otherwise known as the Assisted Dying bill) were revealed in April, some believed that the Government of Canada didn’t go far enough in terms of who could request medical assistance in dying. Arguably the biggest bone of contention was the fact that, if the law were to pass, only those facing imminent death would be able to legally die with dignity.

As you’ve probably heard already, the Senate of Canada voted to pass the C-14 bill, putting forth seven amendments along the way. One of those proposed amendments was that the Government of Canada removes the provision that someone would have to be foreseeably near-death in order to have a physician legally help them die.

In an official press release issued today by the Government of Canada, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, it was confirmed that the aforementioned amendment won’t be accepted.

“Medical assistance in dying is a difficult and deeply personal issue for many, tied to our life experiences and personal beliefs,” reads the official statement. “On behalf of the Government of Canada, we acknowledge the depth and quality of the work that our honourable colleagues in the Senate undertook in their review of Bill C-14. The number of amendments that were presented and thoroughly debated speaks volumes – not only about the complexity of the issue at hand – but also about the dedication with which Senators sought to improve this legislation.

It continues: “There are a number of areas where the Senate brought forward important amendments that will improve the legislation and that we will support. However, we cannot support the amendment that will substantially change the important balance between individual autonomy and the protection of vulnerable persons, as we carefully designed in the Bill passed by the House of Commons. This legislation represents the right approach for Canada at this important time in our country’s history, and it is important that we have it in place as soon as possible.”

In short, there is still much work to do before Bill C-14 can move closer to law.

Click here to learn more about Bill C-14.

Earlier this year, VisionTV premiered “My Life – My Choice: Dying with Dignity,” a documentary chronicling the final days in the life of Kathy Wardle, a Canadian citizen whom, after years of suffering from chronic, debilitating physical pain, chose to end her life in Switzerland with the assistance of a medical professional.

Here is an excerpt from “My Life – My Choice: Dying with Dignity”:

-Adam Grant
-Photo by: Justin Trudeau’s official Facebook page.

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