Sharing photo from Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Following the February 2015 Supreme Court decision striking down the prohibition on euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, a ruling to come into effect in one year, the previous federal government announced in July the creation of an expert panel to consult with stakeholders, medical experts and Canadians on the issue. It was also asked to advise the government on legislative options. The new Liberal government has announced that it does not want recommendations from the panel but has indicted that the panel’s mandate now consists in reporting on its consultations.
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott also announced an extension of the deadline to December 15. The original deadline for the panel’s report was late fall 2015.
The federal expert panel composed of Dr. Harvey Chochinov, a psychiatrist and Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care at the University of Manitoba, Catherine Frazee, professor emeritus of Ryerson University, former co-director of the Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education at Ryerson and Benoit Pelletier, a former Liberal minister in Quebec and law professor at the University of Ottawa are well respected in their fields.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is “concerned that the Federal government is planning to follow the recommendations of the one-sided panel that was appointed by the Ontario Provincial government that features Jocelyn Downie, Canada’s leading pro-euthanasia academic and Maureen Taylor who describes herself as an advocate of assisted death.
Considering the investment in time and research by the panel and the many groups who presented to the panel on assisted dying and the potential for positive insight from the panel members based on their professional and personal experience EPC finds this decision to be short-sighted and motivated by partisan politics.”
Last Thursday, the federal government asked the Supreme Court for a six month extension to the February 2016 deadline set by the court’s decision in Carter v. Canada. This extension is necessary says the government to “…engage and consult with Canadians on this complex and personal issue…and responsibly prepare for the full implementation of the Carter decision.” The Supreme Court suspended its decision for one year meaning that in February 2016 the ban on euthanasia and assisted suicide would no longer be in force in Canada. If the extension is granted by the Court, it means that Canada will safely remain a euthanasia and assisted suicide free zone for a while longer. A total ban on euthanasia and assisted suicide is the only means by which patients can be fully protected from these practices.