Bloc obstructs attempt to rush special committee on medically assisted death

The Trudeau government wants a special parliamentary committee to consult broadly on medically assisted dying and report back with recommendations for a new law by the end of February.

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government wants a special parliamentary committee to consult broadly on medically assisted dying and report back with recommendations for a new law by the end of February.

But the government’s attempt to put a rush on the matter has been obstructed, for now, by the Bloc Quebecois.

Bloc MPs are refusing to give unanimous consent to create the committee, protesting the fact that they won’t have membership on any parliamentary committees because the party is two short of the dozen MPs required for official party status in the Commons.

Time is of the essence.

The Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on doctor-assisted dying last February and gave the government a year to come up with a new law recognizing the right of clearly consenting adults who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives.

The government is seeking a six-month extension on the court’s deadline but is under pressure from Quebec, which has passed its own law on medically assisted dying that went into effect today.