Justice Minister David Lametti is seen during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Justice Minister David Lametti is seen during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Feds ask Quebec court for third extension to deal with revamped assisted dying regime

Lawyers for the federal government are before a Quebec judge today seeking a third delay in bringing medical assistance in dying legislation in line with a ruling from the province’s Superior Court.

This time, federal lawyers are seeking a delay until Feb. 26, 2021, invoking the COVID-19 pandemic and a slower parliamentary work schedule in justifying the delay.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Martin F. Sheehan heard the federal government’s petition today in Montreal and said he hopes to deliver a ruling before the end of the day.

The previous extension agreed to by a Quebec judge expires on Friday.

In September 2019, Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin struck down a provision in the law that allows medically assisted death only for those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable.

She gave the government six months to bring the law into compliance with her ruling, but the court later agreed to two extensions, given the disruptions to Parliament caused by last fall’s election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar provision in the Quebec law was dropped ahead of the initial March deadline.