Calgary

Physician-assisted dying focus of rally held in Calgary as Trudeau announces cabinet

A group pushing for physician-assisted deaths took to Calgary City Hall this afternoon with a message: people deserve dignity when it comes to end-of-life choices.

Dying With Dignity group says February Supreme Court decision only the 1st step

A small group took to Calgary City Hall to push for legislation on physician-assisted deaths. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Hoping to get on the radar of a new federal government, a group pushing for physician-assisted deaths took to Calgary City Hall this afternoon with a message: people deserve dignity when it comes to end-of-life choices.

It was one of several Dying With Dignity rallies in cities across Canada.

One of the speakers at the rally said a Supreme Court decision in February was a step in the right direction, but it's up to the provinces to draft legislation to make the decision more accessible.

Jenna Leclaire says to critics of the practice it's about reducing pain and suffering.

'We have that choice that our life is so sacred that we don’t want to spend it suffering,' Jenna Leclaire told CBC News. (Mike Symington/CBC)

"Life being sacred also means that we have that choice that our life is so sacred that we don't want to spend it suffering," Leclaire said.

In the top court's unanimous ruling it said, "A person facing this … has two options: she can take her own life prematurely, often by violent or dangerous means, or she can suffer until she dies from natural causes. The choice is cruel."

The Conservative government at the time said it would study the issue, despite strong public support shown in opinion polls.

Justin Trudeau has said the Supreme Court decision was "the right thing to do" and that he would put together a committee to come up with recommendations for legislation.

Meanwhile a woman walking past the Calgary rally said the issue affects her directly.

"I had a father who was ill and I saw him suffer and I thought it was wrong," Diane Harper told CBC News. "I think he would have liked to have chosen when he died."

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