Supreme Court’s decision on the right to die: MP James Lunney calls it a ‘dark day for Canada’

Court finds the current law deprives Canadians of their right to life, liberty and security

In a landmark decision, the country’s top court unanimously ruled Friday that Canadians have the right to die.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the current legislation banning medically-assisted death, directing Parliament to give more control to patients over how they end their own lives.

Specifically, the Court found that the current law deprived Canadians of their right to life, liberty and security.

It’s welcome news for Parksville resident Bill Martin, a longtime advocate for the right to die.

“I’m pleased,” he told The NEWS Friday morning after the decision was announced.

“I’m quite happy with it (the Supreme Court ruling) and I’m sure, if need be, sometime in the future I might be using some of these services — you never know.”

Martin, 86, suffers from spinal degeneration after a long career spent as a heavy duty mechanic.

He told The NEWS last year he’s been fighting for the right to medically-assisted death for more than 50 years, deeming Canada’s ban on it “archaic.”

Martin said he’s “in the majority” supporting the right to die, citing a recent Death with Dignity poll that suggests 84 per cent of Canadians support the idea of medically-assisted death.

“Justice was served today, absolutely,” he said.

The Supreme Court judge found the prohibition against physician assisted death violates the rights of “competent adults who are suffering intolerably as a result of a grievous and irremediable medical condition.”

It concluded the ban “infringes the right to life, liberty and security of the person in a manner that is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

The Supreme Court suspended its ruling for one year, giving the federal and provincial governments and regulatory medical bodies time to draft new legislation around medically-assisted death.

Late last year, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and two B.C. families made their death-with-dignity case. Upon hearing the news, the organization issued a release calling the outcome “a tremendous victory” for the protection of human rights.

“This means that seriously and incurably ill Canadians who are suffering unbearably will have the choice to seek the assistance of a doctor to have a compassionate and peaceful death,” stated the BCCLA release. “Physician-assisted dying will now be recognized for what it is — a medical service.”

However, Conservative MP James Lunney, a staunch supporter of his government’s ban on assisted suicide, wasn’t happy with the Court’s ruling.

“For my part, I believe it is a dark day for Canada and for the Court,” he said in a news release issued shortly after the decision was made.

Admitting it’s an “emotional and divisive issue,” Lunney said the government will “carefully review the ruling and consult widely before responding to the ruling.”

In 2010, Lunney voted alongside the majority of parliamentarians opposing change to the present laws.

“My own position is informed by a lifetime of study of the wonders of the human body, its function and a career helping people overcome their challenges … My role and raison d’être has always been to help people live well until they die.”

Just Posted

Winds of up to 90 km/hr forecasted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

Parksville Qualicum Beach drivers reminded to be aware of possible icy road conditions

Shaded areas, bridge decks and corners are common areas where slippery conditions can occur

Multiple Parksville resorts report stolen Christmas decorations

Oceanside RCMP say three thefts likely occurred on same night

Tidesmen awash with festive tunes for Parksville performance

Male chorus bringing classics, and 21st century holiday love song to Knox

VIU researches importance of French Creek Estuary area

Estuary not currently included in any protected areas

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

BCHL player lifts Canada West to second win at World Junior A Challenge

Chilliwack Chiefs player has a three-point performance

Well-known B.C. snowmobile guide killed in rollover accident

Shuswap sledding communty mourns loss of experienced Sicamous snowmobiler

B.C.’s skyrocketing real estate market will ‘correct’ in 2019: analyst

Housing prices in Vancouver are set to rise just 0.6 per cent

Trapped humpback whale freed from salmon farm near Tofino

“All of these problems could be solved by the farms moving onto land and getting out of the ocean.”

In depth: Simple falls causing serious injuries to people over 65

Kelowna’s high population of seniors puts it in the spotlight for how it deals with seniors’ issues

Time magazine’s 2018 person of the year

The group is made up of four journalists and are the “guardians and the war on truth”

Majority of Nanaimo’s Discontent City residents moved into supportive housing sites

A few spaces remain at Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road locations

Most Read