Federal right-to-die laws will draw 'inspiration' from Quebec, PM's spokesman says

The federal government will take "inspiration" from Quebec's legislation on doctor-assisted death as it crafts new federal laws around the emotionally charged issue, says a spokesman for the prime minister.

Liberal government considering a request to Supreme Court for extension to write new laws

A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will draw 'inspiration' from Quebec's legislation as it crafts new federal laws on doctor-assisted dying. (Canadian Press)

The federal government will draw "inspiration" from Quebec's legislation on doctor-assisted death as it drafts new federal laws around the emotionally charged issue, says a spokesman for the prime minister.

Olivier Duchesneau said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appreciates the "incredible work" done by Quebec's National Assembly on the sensitive issue, and praised Quebec parliamentarians for putting partisanship aside to reach consensus.

"We have always been clear that Canada should take inspiration from Quebec on how it studied the issue and that is what we intend to do. We'll be announcing more details in the coming days, but rest assured that the leadership taken by Quebec will be recognized for its true value," Duchesneau said.

On Tuesday, Quebec Superior Court Justice Michel Pinsonnault ruled that Quebec's law allowing some terminally ill patients to end their lives with medical assistance contradicts Criminal Code provisions that remain in place until Feb. 6, 2016.

The Quebec government announced it would appeal the Superior Court decision. The province's end-of-life law was set to take effect Dec. 10.

In February, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canadians with unbearable suffering should be allowed to end their lives with the aid of a physician, and gave Parliament one year to enact new laws. The new Liberal government has not yet confirmed if it will ask the top court for an extension.

Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said that option remains under "serious consideration" and that she will have more news in "coming days."

Federal lawyers intervened

Wilson-Raybould promised to work co-operatively with her provincial counterparts, consult widely and rely on the four-plus years of work Quebec has already done. She said Wednesday the fact federal lawyers intervened in the case against Quebec's legislation does not reflect a lack of collaboration.

"It's not anything confrontational. It's just ensuring we proceed in the most appropriate way," she said.

Government House leader Dominic LeBlanc has said drafting new laws will be a top priority for the government and that a committee of MPs and senators will be struck to craft "quick and expedited" legislation to fill the void.


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