B.C. rights group to fight alone for right to die
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association says it wants to challenge Canada's assisted-suicide laws alone.
The BCCLA represents four plaintiffs seeking to change Canada's assisted-suicide laws, including a dying woman who won the right to have her trial expedited because her health is failing.
Gloria Taylor suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. On Wednesday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Taylor's trial should be heard in November because of the woman's rapidly deteriorating condition.
A similar lawsuit is simultaneously being brought forward by the Farewell Foundation. The group's co-founder Russell Ogden is lobbying to join the BCCLA's lawsuit if its own challenge is struck down.
Ogden argues testimony from his application should be part of the civil liberties association's case because it's unfair to assess the quality of either challenge.
"At the moment, none of the parties are in a position where the full menu of evidence is before the courts, so I wouldn't want to prejudge the quality of the civil liberties [association's] case," he said.
A decision on whether his court challenge can proceed is expected in the next few weeks.
But the BCCLA's lead counsel, Joe Arvay, said the organization plans to challenge Canada's assisted-suicide laws alone.
"We just think their case has some difficulties," he said.
Arvay won't say what those difficulties are, but the cases do have one marked difference — the civil liberties association's case is seeking to permit doctors to assist patients in ending their lives, while the Farewell Foundation wants to set up non-hospital centres where teams of counsellors and advisers can help people end their lives.