Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BC Court opens door to hearing new evidence on 'MAiD' in Canada

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Only days after Canada legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide under the term "MAiD" the BC Civil Liberties Association launched the first court case to expand Canada's euthanasia law.

The Lamb case concerns the fact that Canada's MAiD legislation attempted to limit euthanasia to people with terminal conditions. The legislation states that a person qualifies for lethal injection when they have a "grievous and irremediable medical condition" and that their "natural death must be reasonably forseeable." (Section 241.2(2)d)

In the Lamb case, the BC Civil Liberties Association is attempting to strike down the requirement that a person's "natural death must be reasonably forseeable."

Because the Supreme Court of Canada Carter decision did not indicate that a person who qualifies for euthanasia should be terminally ill, therefore Canada's federal government is expected to prove that the terminal illness definition is a reasonable limit.
By Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the British Columbia Supreme Court enabling the government to introduce new evidence to establish their position, the government, and intervenors, in a limited manner, can attempt to overcome some of problems with the Carter decision.

CTV news reported that Justice Hinkson stated:
The federal government's legislation, which came into effect last year, needs to be assessed on "relevant, current evidence,"  
Barring the courts from considering the most up-to-date information would prevent a judge from being able to decide what evidence is important and how much weight it should be given.
It is concerning that a June 2017 Ontario Court decision defined "natural death must be reasonably forseeable" as not needing to be imminent or within a specific time frame or be the result of a terminal condition.

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities says the conversation around end-of-life practices ignores the point of view of disability rights advocates.

The organization created a campaign against euthanasia, Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition will ask the court for intervention standing in this case.

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