Liberal Law C-14 Fails Patients Across Canada


OTTAWA - The NDP is deploring the troubling situation in Quebec that has led the province’s college of physicians to develop a practical guide to support patients who choose to starve themselves, as several have done in recent months after failing to meet the Liberal government’s new legal requirements for medical assistance in dying.

“This situation is completely unacceptable and yet it was predictable,” said the NDP Critic for Justice Murray Rankin (Victoria). “The recent case in Quebec is all the more evidence that the overly restrictive Liberal law C-14 is causing unnecessary suffering by patients.”

A 70-year-old Quebec woman with MS died on July 30 after going without food or water for 14 days. Her doctor is calling for the law to be changed to better reflect the realities of degenerative conditions. Following this and other similar cases, the Collège des médecins du Québec is planning to issue advice for doctors whose patients choose to starve themselves.

“People are suffering and the government is still patting itself on the back for forcing through a law it knew was unconstitutional,” said NDP Deputy Health Critic Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe – Bagot). "It is these kinds of cases that we wanted to prevent and we proposed many amendments to make this recourse less restrictive but unfortunately, the Liberals rejected them one after the other."

Many constitutional experts and provincial governments have argued that Bill C-14 fails to meet the standard set by the Supreme Court in its Carter decision. Nonetheless, the federal government passed this bill after rejecting opposition amendments in June. The law is already being challenged in BC in the case of Lamb v. Canada but still the government has so far refused to address these problems leading to further confusion and suffering across Canada

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