Canada's NDP

NDP

January 31st, 2020

Garrison Concerned Many Canadians Unable to Access Medical Assistance in Dying

For Immediate Release

January 31, 2020, OTTAWA – New Democrats have heard the concerns of many Canadians about unnecessary suffering caused by our current medical assistance in dying legislation and are calling for quick action to address this problem.

“We have an opportunity in this parliament to alleviate the suffering of Canadians who have been unable to access medical assistance in dying or have had to make the difficult choice to end their lives sooner than they wanted because of the restrictive legislation,” said NDP Justice Critic Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke).

A September 2019 ruling of the Superior Court of Quebec struck down the condition that someone be near death to qualify. The Government of Canada should act quickly to ensure that Canadians' fundamental rights are protected in medical assistance in dying legislation.

“I am optimistic that the Liberals will work with us to remove the unnecessary barriers that fail to put patients first. We are going to make sure the government makes the right choices when it comes to making the necessary changes to this legislation,” said Garrison, following productive meetings earlier this week with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health.

New Democrats will continue to advocate for the removal of the requirement that death be imminent in order to access medical assistance in dying and to add provisions to allow some advance requests. New Democrats are also committed to making sure other, more complex issues raised in the Quebec court decision are addressed in the upcoming review of legislation. These include access for those suffering from mental illness, access for competent minors, and strengthening of safeguards protecting all Canadians from pressure or coercion when it comes to medical assistance in dying.

-30-