A question of life and death - The Carter decision will have a direct impact on the future and security of Quebecers
QUEBEC, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The British Columbia court of appeal returned its decision in the case Carter v Canada (Attorney General), 2013 BCCA 435, on assisted suicide and reversed the decision from the court below by a majority decision, Chief Justice Finch dissenting.
The majority (by justices Saunders and Newbury) noted that the judge in the case was bound by the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada handed down in 1992 in the Rodriguez case and where the court had confirmed that assisted suicide was illegal, despite the provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The majority concluded that "life" as protected by section 7 of the Charter was considered in Rodriguez as a counterweight to liberty and security of the person. Since Rodriguez, courts have continued to regard the making of personal decisions regarding one's body as falling under the "security of the person" or "liberty" rubric in s.7 while life has been interpreted in its existential sense, not its qualitative sense. Although Chief Justice Finch suggested in his reasons that "life" includes the ability to enjoy various experiences and make various decisions, the majority stated that those who have only a limited ability to enjoy "such blessings" are no less "alive" and have no less a right to "life", than able-bodied and fully competent persons. The court therefore concludes that the protection of the Charter cannot be extended to these experiences.
Living With Dignity and the Physicians' Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia oppose any changes to the Canadian Criminal Code that would allow assisted suicide, euthanasia or medical aid in dying.
The decision in this case will have a direct impact on Quebecers, especially in light of Bill 52, An act respecting end-of-life-care. The public hearings on this bill end today in Quebec City.
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