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

More Qualicum Beach, Nanoose Douglas-fir ecosystem protected from logging

B.C. Gov’t announces 980.5 hectares of protected land added

Qualicum Beach mayor plans to run for re-election

Teunis Westbroek hopes to continue serving needs of Town’s residents as mayor

25th year for TOSH’s Grand Prix d’Art in Qualicum Beach

Dozens of artists to take part in painting competition July 28

Royals finish second at 18U provincials

The Save-on-Foods Parksville Royals missed a golden opportunity to earn a ticket… Continue reading

Artists explore light at MAC in Parksville

OCAC members’ exhibit showing July 21-Sept. 1

BC Games: Day 1 comes to an end

Medals have already been handed out following one day of competition in the 2018 BC Summer Games

BC Wildfire update on Okanagan blazes

Watch the media briefing on the current fire situation in the Okanagan.

ZONE 6: Rugby star Maggie Banks carries family legacy to BC Games

Shawnigan Lake student and Coquitlam native following her parents to the national program

RCMP help to save goats from wildfire

The fast-approaching wildfire, sparked Thursday, forced the evacuation of five homes

VIDEO: Near drowning captured on popular B.C. river

Search and Rescue manager says the popular pastime of floating in the summer is inherently dangerous

Crosswalk vandalism leaves black mark for Cowichan as B.C. Games begin

Rainbow crosswalk defaced just days after being painted

Photo gallery: BC Games Day 1

A brief look at action from the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Anti-pipeline campers digging in as eviction deadline expires

The City of Burnaby had ordered the Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters out for violating bylaws

Trump was taped talking of paying Playboy model: AP source

Source says former personal lawyer Michael Cohen secretly recorded discussion prior to 2016 election

Most Read