Feds' move to appeal euthanasia decision will appeal to voters: Prof

Canada's Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

Credits: Chris Wattie/REUTERS


OTTAWA -- The federal government's decision to appeal a BC court ruling that eliminated a ban on doctor-assisted suicide is a move to appeal to voters, a Queen's University professor says.

"I suspect it was a strategic decision, and with the appeal they can make the religious right happy and the libertarians won't care. And ultimately it's the Supreme Court that makes the decision," Udo Schuklenk, a professor of bioethics, said in an interview Tuesday. "Otherwise, it's just a mean-spirited thing to do."

The feds are expected to file an appeal with the BC Court of Appeal and seek a stay of all aspects of the June 15 ruling. That ruling granted an exemption to the ban on doctor-assisted suicide to Gloria Taylor, who suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease.

For now, that exemption still stands.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has said the laws surrounding euthanasia exist to protect Canadians, including those who are "most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly" or disabled.

MORE: Feds to appeal assisted suicide ruling

Wanda Morris, executive director of Dying with Dignity, said, "We can protect the weak and vulnerable and we can still give this right of choice and dying to that very small group of Canadians that have significant illnesses, that are suffering unbearably and have an incurable condition."

Will Johnson, chairman of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition of B.C., said he believes no one, "has the right to turn doctors into killers when we are at a low point."

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