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Canadians seek expansion of assisted dying law

November 7, 2016

 

Euthanasia has been a hotly-debated topic in Canadian politics for some time now. Things recently took a significant turn with the recent involvement of the B.C.L.A. (British Columbia Civil Liberties Association), who have been actively appealing the federal government’s continually stiff upkeep of restrictive eligibility criteria with regards to patient eligibility for assisted dying.  The considerable controversy stems from the most recent amendment to Bill C-14 back in June, which essentially limits the access to euthanasia treatment to those individuals deemed to have a “foreseeable natural death.” In response the B.C.L.A. issued a constitutional challenge, seeking to amend the law in favour of terminally-ill patients who wish to undergo assisted-suicide. In addition, the B.C.L.A. issued a crowd-funding call of $75,000 for the necessary legal fees. The response was both overwhelming and telling in its haste; the B.C.L.A met its target in an astonishing 10 days. Such a milestone speaks volumes about what a chord this issue strikes with Canadians; not very surprising given we as a nation have prided ourselves on our respect for democracy, liberty, and individual freedom/s. All of this being on the heels of the B.C.L.A.’s four-year legal battle with Stephen Harper’s Conservative government that (successfully) struck down the latter’s proposal to ban euthanasia in Canada. Those ever-uptight Conservatives spent over $3 million tax-payer dollars in legal fees, an embarrassing fact revealed via the Access To Information Act. It baffles me that the federal government would still even consider going down the same avenue again, given both the obvious support for euthanasia among Canadians and a significant likelihood of failure on their part. Why are they so insistent on denying this one particular right? And of course the B.C.L.A. is stuck in an underdog position with regards to both influence and future funding in this upcoming legal battle. Should we not, as free and equal citizens of a true democracy, be allowed to choose just as much how we choose to end our lives as we are to live them? It really is that simple. It’s a pity our government just doesn’t seem to see it that way.

 

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