For immediate release
Vancouver (Coast Salish Territories) –The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Shapray family reacted this morning to the announcement of a joint provincial-territorial expert advisory group on physician assisted dying.
Howard Shapray, husband of Elayne Shapray who lives with multiple sclerosis and was a participant in the physician-assisted dying challenge, said: “The provinces must be at the forefront of the implementation of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Carter. The regulation of medical care is a provincial jurisdiction. The Court has decriminalized physician-assisted dying declaring patient autonomy a constitutional right. It’s time for the federal government to acknowledge and respect rather than undermine that right.”
Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA, the organization that won the assisted dying challenge in Carter v. Canada in February of this year, said: “We need a pan-Canadian approach that ensures access to this medical option no matter where in Canada a patient happens to live. We’re encouraged that the provinces and territories are considering how best to implement the right of doctor-assisted dying nation-wide. Whatever they recommend, the law is clear that seriously and incurably ill patients, who are suffering intolerably, must have access to physician-assisted dying if they choose it.”
Paterson added: “We are deeply concerned about the lopsided composition of the federal panel, stacked with opponents of physician-assisted dying, and the slowness of their work which the government ordered to be suspended the instant the federal election was called.”