Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson
Credits: CHRIS ROUSSAKIS/QMI AGENCY
OTTAWA - An appeals court ruling Friday that would let Gloria Taylor get help from a doctor to commit suicide doesn't pass muster with the federal justice minister.
The BC woman is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, has lost the ability to walk and is confined to a power chair.
"We are disappointed with this decision and are currently reviewing it," said Julie DiMambro, a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson. "These 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."
The federal reaction comes after a BC judge imposed a one-year suspension on the feds' appeal of an earlier decision that would allowing Taylor to a doctor-assisted death.
During that year, Taylor is allowed to "obtain physician-assisted death" if she fulfils certain conditions, including that she makes her request in writing and that her doctor confirms she can neither commit suicide on her own nor has any chance of recovery from terminal illness.
The court made clear the exemption from the law is for Taylor "and no one else."
Still, the government argues that the Supreme Court of Canada has already upheld the ban on assisted suicide, while Parliament has spoken as well.
"In April 2010, a large majority of parliamentarians voted not to change these laws, which is an expression of democratic will on this topic," said DiMambro.