OTTAWA — The Supreme Court is being asked to hear an appeal seeking a faster trial on the constitutionality of Canada’s law on medical assistance in dying.
The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association is asking the top court to reject the federal government’s contention that the facts on which the Supreme Court struck down the ban on assisted dying three years ago are not applicable to the new federal law.
The BCCLA lost that argument in both the B.C. Supreme Court and B.C. Court of Appeal and has now filed leave to appeal the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The issue is part of a constitutional challenge launched by the association against the assisted-dying law, which allows only individuals who are already near death to get medical help to end their suffering.
The BCCLA argues that the restrictive nature of the law flies in the face of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling, known as the Carter decision, that struck down the ban on assisted dying.
The government argues that the top court’s findings of fact in the Carter case applied only in the context of the absolute ban on physician-assisted dying that existed at the time.
Now that there is a new law, the government says those findings are no longer relevant.
The BCCLA argues that the government is effectively attempting to re-try the Carter case, which will drag out the trial, causing more suffering for individuals who are denied medically assisted dying because they are not near death.
The Canadian Press