By Alex Schadenberg, executive director
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) applauds the decision by Justice Minister, Hon Rob Nicholson, who today announced the appeal of the decision by Justice Lynn Smith in the Carter decision in British Columbia. The Carter decision legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, while giving Gloria Taylor a constitutional exemption to be killed by euthanasia or assisted suicide within 12 months.
EPC intervened in the Carter case and responded to the decision by Justice Smith by identifying how this decision was A Recipe for Elder Abuse that Threatened the Safety, Security and Equality of Canadians. EPC-BC chair, Dr. Will Johnston explained that it was the Wrong decision on Assisted Suicide [http://www.alexschadenberg.blogspot.ca/2012/06/wrong-decision-on-assisted-suicide.html].
The press release from the Department of Justice today stated:
OTTAWA, July 13, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, made the following statement today concerning the British Columbia Supreme Court decision in Lee Carter and Hollis Johnson et al. v. Attorney General of Canada.
“After careful consideration of the legal merits of the June 15, 2012 ruling from the British Columbia Supreme Court, the Government of Canada will appeal the decision to the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and will seek a stay of all aspects of the lower court decision.
The Government is of the view that the Criminal Code provisions that prohibit medical professionals, or anyone else, from counselling or providing assistance in a suicide, are constitutionally valid.
The Government also objects to the lower court’s decision to grant a “constitutional exemption” resembling a regulatory framework for assisted suicide.
The laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly or people with disabilities. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the state interest in protecting human life and upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation in Rodriguez (1993).
In April 2010, a large majority of Parliamentarians voted not to change these laws, which is an expression of democratic will on this topic. It is an emotional and divisive issue for many Canadians.
The Government of Canada will provide its full position before the British Columbia Court of Appeal when the matter is heard. As the matter continues to be before the court, the Government will not comment further.”
EPC is pleased that Justice Minister Nicholson appealed the disturbing decision by Justice Smith. Minister Nicholson has also appealed the “constitutional exemption” that was given to Gloria Taylor, that he referred to as a “regulatory framework for assisted suicide.
The decision by Justice Smith needs to be overturned because legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide is simply not safe.
EPC continues to promote the Care of every Canadian while opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide.