Thursday, October 25, 2012

Canada: Crown files opening brief in Carter

Assisted suicide too risky, allowing it demeans value of life, federal gov't says

The Canadian Press October 25, 2012 12:30 PM
VANCOUVER - The federal government says allowing doctor-assisted suicide demeans the value of life and puts vulnerable people at risk in moments of weakness.

Ottawa has filed its arguments in an appeal of a B.C. decision that struck down the prohibition on doctor-assisted suicide, arguing the trial judge was wrong to conclude the law is unconstitutional.

In documents filed with the B.C. Court of Appeal, the government says the law reflects a reasonable belief that allowing assisted suicide would put vulnerable people at risk of being coerced or even forced to end their lives.

The government says the law reflects Parliament's desire to discourage and prevent suicide in all cases, and it should be up to lawmakers, not the courts, to decide if that needs to change.

Ottawa argues the Supreme Court of Canada's 1993 decision upholding the law in a case involving Sue Rodriguez was final.

The B.C. case was launched by several plaintiffs, including Gloria Taylor, who won a constitutional exemption from the law but died earlier this month without resorting to assisted suicide.
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