Debate on doctor-assisted suicide needs to be started right away, say Liberals

The federal Liberals want the Harper government to launch a national debate on doctor-assisted suicide in the wake of this month’s landmark Supreme Court decision.

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals want the Harper government to launch a national debate on doctor-assisted suicide in the wake of this month’s landmark Supreme Court decision.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says it’s time for parliamentarians to tackle the thorny issue now that the high court has given Parliament 12 months to come up with a new law.

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the ban on providing a doctor-assisted death to patients who are mentally competent but suffering irremediable ailments.

The high court suspended its judgment, giving Parliament a year to recognize the right of consenting adults with intolerable physical or mental suffering to seek medical help in ending their lives.

At least six reform bills on right-to-die issues have been defeated over the past two decades.

Last fall, the Harper government said it would not support changing the status quo.

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