B.C. court asked to fast-track right-to-die lawsuit
A B.C. Supreme Court judge is being asked to speed up a right-to die lawsuit so a woman can have a doctor assist her in committing suicide.
Gloria Taylor suffers from ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, and her lawyer, Joe Arvay, says her condition is getting worse.
Arvay wants a November court date, saying the lawsuit must be heard quickly so Taylor can exercise her "constitutional right" to a doctor-assisted suicide.
But the lawyer for the Canadian government replied that a November trial is unworkable on such a complex law that protects so many vulnerable people.
Arvay told the court if a quick trial wasn't ordered, he would be asking for an injunction, giving Taylor an exemption to the law banning assisted suicide.
The judge will release her decision on accelerating the trial Wednesday.
Taylor's is one of five plaintiffs being represented by a B.C. Civil Liberties lawsuit that challenges the laws that make it a criminal offence to assist seriously and incurably ill individuals to die with dignity.
2nd right-to-die lawsuit also in B.C. court
Meanwhile, a group called the Farewell Foundation was also expected to appear in a B.C. court Monday in a similar lawsuit, setting off what's expected to be a long legal fight for the right to assisted suicide.
Their court action involves constitutional challenges from both the foundation and the Attorney General of Canada around the Criminal Code section that makes it an offence to help someone to commit suicide.
Spokesman Russel Ogden said a lot has changed since the Supreme Court of Canada refused to give Sue Rodriguez the right to assisted suicide in 1993.
Ogden said there is much more information now on the subject, and many other countries have legalized or regulated the right to die.
Ogden said Ottawa has resisted many social issues such as gay marriage and medical marijuana and the only way to force a change is to have the Supreme Court of Canada decide the issue.
The foundation is acting on behalf of more than 100 members, who pay a $50-a-year membership, but wouldn't be charged for any services the foundation is proposing to provide around assisted suicide.