Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Bloc leader says he would back fast-tracking bill on medical assistance in dying

OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet says he would support fast-tracking a bill on medical assistance in dying after repeated moves to stall its progress by the Conservatives.

Blanchet says it appears “necessary” to use time allocation, which the Liberal government could impose to cut off debate, but which would need the support of at least one other party.

Tories say the government is trying to push through legislation that would expand medical assistance in dying, known as Bill C-7, in a way that risks opening the door too wide.

Blanchet is accusing the Tories of holding up the bill due to divisions within the party on the controversial legislation.

Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez quickly welcomed the Bloc’s backing with a tweet.

“We have acted responsibly and collaboratively on the MAID bill. Conservatives have obstructed,” he wrote Tuesday.

“Three times, they blocked our plan to debate C-7 in the evening. This must end. We will move ahead without further delay and we welcome Bloc support.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the bill demands careful consideration and needs ample debate, and he would not support any motion to limit it.

The bill is a response to a Quebec court ruling saying the existing limits on access to medically assisted death are too restrictive. The government has sought and received four extensions to a judge-imposed deadline to act or see portions of the current law struck down. The latest expires March 26.

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