The draft legislation
, drawn up by Liberal Party policies, is to allow those Canadian citizens with a medically certifiable incurable illness or disability to commit suicide. The stipulation is that the act of ending the life must be carried out by medical doctor, and that several checks need to be made. Tests include a demonstration that an individual is suffering from intolerable physical pain or psychological trauma.
Under the bill, those wishing to end their life would need to make a written request (or have someone appointed to do so on their behalf) to a medical doctor. Patients must be fully assessed by two doctors, independent of each other.
If approved, there would be a statutory period of 15 days before the termination of life could be carried out. This time period is designed to allow an individual to change their mind.
Excluded from the bill
are minors and any person who has been certified as mentally ill. Moreover, the law will only apply to Canadian citizens. This is seen as bid to stop people traveling to Canada in order to end their life.
State supported euthanasia is inevitably a controversial subject and few countries have sanctioned it. The U.K. Parliament, for example, has twice, in recent years, rejected any such legislation. The Canadian parliament is set to vote on the draft bill in June 2016. The bill has the backing of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau said recently in a statement
: “It’s a deeply personal issue that affects all of us and our families and all of us individually as we approach the end of our lives.”
The Prime Minister also added: “The plan we have put forward is one that respects Canadians’ choices while putting in place the kinds of safeguards needed.”
The draft bill has been assembled following Canada’s Supreme Court overturning a ban on physician-assisted suicide in 2015. The matter also appears to carry a high level of support from the Canadian population, although there are some vocal critics.