OTTAWA, Canada – The federal government was granted one more month Thursday to expand access to medical assistance in dying even as its efforts to do so stalled in the House of Commons.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Martin Sheehan agreed to give the government a fourth extension until March 26 to bring the law into compliance with a 2019 court ruling. But he suggested this will be the last one.
Given that the government is close to finally reforming Canada’s assisted-dying law, Sheehan said “it is appropriate to grant a final extension to allow it to end.”
The government had a court-imposed deadline of February 26 to have the new legislation in place.
The federal government sought the extension to pass its assisted-dying bill as it deals with stiff opposition from the Conservatives over amendments to Bill C-7 brought forth by the Senate.
One such amendment would open the door to mentally-ill Canadians being able to seek a legally-sanctioned suicide within 18 months. The government has agreed to allow this, but not for two years from now.
“It has been a year since the Liberal Justice Minister tabled Bill C-7, the government’s medical assistance in dying (MAiD) legislation. Now, at the last minute, the Liberals are accepting an amendment that would start a reckless countdown to expand MAiD to those with mental illness,” said Rob Moore, the Conservative Justice critic, in a statement.
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