Justice Minister Rob Nicholson
Credits: CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/QMI AGENCY
The feds will file its appeal with the B.C. Court of Appeal, and will seek a stay of all aspects of the June 15 decision. The ruling granted an exemption for Gloria Taylor, a sufferer of Lou Gehrig's disease, to die with a doctor's assistance.
"The government is of the view that the Criminal Code provisions that prohibit medical professionals, or anyone else, from counselling or providing assistance in suicide, are constitutionally valid," Nicholson said in a statement.
"The government also objects to the lower court's decision to grant a 'constitutional exemption' resembling a regulatory framework for assisted suicide."
Nicholson said laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, "including those who are most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly or people with disabilities."
He pointed to the 1993 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation.
But NDP MP Megan Leslie said the government is missing an "opportunity" to have a discussion about end-of-life care with Canadians.
"I don't think that it is a smart move," Leslie said. "If the government had been smart about it, they would have accepted the decision for what it was and then started to consult Canadians to create laws around end-of-life care...assisted suicide is one piece of it."
Leslie said it is unclear if Canadians would consider methods like assisted suicide if they were able to "die with dignity" and believes a palliative care strategy is needed.