The federal government appeals BC's assisted suicide ruling - Macleans.ca

The federal government appeals BC’s assisted suicide ruling

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Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announces an appeal of the British Columbia Supreme Court’s ruling on assisted suicide.

“After careful consideration of the legal merits of the June 15, 2012 ruling from the British Columbia Supreme Court, the Government of Canada will appeal the decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and will seek a stay of all aspects of the lower court decision.

“The Government is of the view that the Criminal Code provisions that prohibit medical professionals, or anyone else, from counselling or providing assistance in a suicide, are constitutionally valid.

“The Government also objects to the lower court’s decision to grant a “constitutional exemption” resembling a regulatory framework for assisted suicide.

“The laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly or people with disabilities. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the state interest in protecting human life and upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation in Rodriguez (1993).

“In April 2010, a large majority of Parliamentarians voted not to change these laws, which is an expression of democratic will on this topic. It is an emotional and divisive issue for many Canadians.

“The Government of Canada will provide its full position before the British Columbia Court of Appeal when the matter is heard. As the matter continues to be before the court, the Government will not comment further.”

Mr. Nicholson’s mention of a vote in April 2010 is presumably a reference to Francine Lalonde’s private member’s bill, which was defeated 230-57.