The federal government legalized medical assistance in dying in 2016. (Needpix.com)

Tories end filibuster, allow assisted-dying bill to be put to final vote in Commons

OTTAWA — The Conservatives have ended their filibuster on a bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying, allowing it to come to a final vote in the House of Commons later today.

The minority Liberal government’s bill is virtually certain to pass, with the support of the Bloc Québécois and the NDP.

But that will leave the Senate, where opinion on the bill is deeply divided, just one week to deal with it before the court-imposed deadline of Dec. 18.

The Conservatives have spent four days putting up speaker after speaker to debate the bill at third reading, after similarly dragging out debate on the justice committee’s report on the bill.

The bill is intended to bring the law into compliance with a Quebec Superior Court ruling last fall which struck down a provision allowing medical assistance in dying only to those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable.

It would drop the near-death requirement but set out two sets of eligibility criteria: somewhat relaxed rules for those who are near death and more stringent rules for those who are not.