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Feds ask court for second extension on changes to assisted-dying law

Last Updated Jun 11, 2020 at 9:35 am PDT

FILE - Minister of Health Patty Hajdu listens during a press conference on COVID-19 in West Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

The federal government is asking a judge to extend the deadline for revising its law on medical aid in dying

A Quebec court found parts of the law unconstitutional last fall

COVID-19 has meant Parliament can't do regular business and minister want until Dec. 18 to pass the legislation

OTTAWA — The federal government is asking a judge to extend the deadline for revising its law on medical aid in dying.

A Quebec court found parts of the law unconstitutional last fall, ordering the government to change a provision saying that someone’s death has to be “reasonably foreseeable” to be eligible to end his or her life with a doctor’s help.

The court has already extended the deadline for Parliament to revise the law once, until July 11, but the Liberals say they can’t make changes in time.

Justice Minister David Lametti and Health Minister Patty Hajdu say in a statement that the COVID-19 pandemic has meant Parliament can’t do regular business and they want until Dec. 18 to pass the legislation.

The Liberals themselves have suspended nearly all regular functions in the House of Commons until at least the fall, with the co-operation of the New Democrats, saying it’s unsafe to meet for ordinary business.

The ministers say without an extension, the one segment of the law would stop applying only in Quebec as of July 12.