OTTAWA — The federal government is seeking to delay the extension of assisted dying eligibility to people whose sole condition is a mental disorder until March 17, 2024.
Justice Minister David Lametti introduced a bill seeking the extension in the House of Commons this morning.
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The Liberal government agreed to expand eligibility in its 2021 update to assisted dying law after senators amended the bill, arguing that excluding people with mental illness would violate their rights.
That law put a two-year clock on the expansion that is set to expire on March 17, giving the Liberals six weeks to pass the new legislation that would add another year to the delay.
Lametti said earlier that he is expecting agreement among other parties and senators to pass the bill in that short time frame.
Carolyn Bennett, the minister for mental health and addictions, is scheduled to join Lametti at a news conference on the subject today.
“Delaying the expansion of euthanasia with the promise of better safeguards will not solve the problems inherent in such an expansion,” said Mike Schouten, spokesperson for the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) in a news release.
“Expanding assisted suicide for those with mental illness encourages a culture of neglect and devalues their lives,” said Schouten. “Euthanasia and assisted suicide should never be a solution for mental illness.”
ARPA wants the government to entirely remove the option of expanding euthanasia to those with mental illness.