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Assisted dying: Government rejects the main Senate amendment

The Senate referred the House to the drawing board, having adopted Wednesday by an overwhelming majority a substantially amended version of the bill on medical assistance to die.
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The bill C-14 revisited was approved on third reading by 64 votes against 12, with one abstention, late evening. She rallied as fierce opponents of physician assisted dying as supporters of the original version of the bill.

Many of them therefore presumably endorsed at C-14 to prevent it from being defeated in the Senate, and to enable the dialogue between the two chambers can finally get underway.

It remains to be seen what the outcome of this part of the legislative table tennis, which officially begin Thursday, while it remains in theory six short days to the calendar of parliamentary business in the Commons.

After bulging torso, some senators seemed to deflate, wondering if they would be willing to put their threat to break up C-14 if MPs rejected their most substantial amendment: the withdrawal of the criterion reasonably foreseeable natural death.

Independent Senator Andre Pratte was thus more willing to say on Wednesday as he had proclaimed it a few days ago, he would vote against the legislation if this notion was not crossed out text.

“I’m thinking; there are just fools do not change their minds, “said he justified scrum.

Former columnist was asked about the consequences that the outright rejection of C-14 would have on Canadians’ perceptions of the unelected Senate, which would end in a cantilevered over a government popular liberal, he said.

For some of his colleagues, however, elimination of natural death criterion reasonably foreseeable – criticized by the Quebec Bar Association, the College of Physicians of Quebec and the Quebec Minister of Health, Gaétan Barrette – remains a prerequisite .

Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu is one of them. He reiterated Wednesday that he still intended to vote against C-14 if he returns to the Senate without the amendment that appears “fundamental” to him.

The leader of the Conservative opposition in the Senate, Claude Carignan, would not say what he personally would do in such a case. However, he reiterated that if “none” Senate amendment is not accepted, the bill could be shelved.

It is therefore unfazed by the release of the interim leader of his own party, Rona Ambrose, who expressed last week “very frustrated” seeing a bunch of unelected substantially amend the legislation.

The government leader in the House of Commons, Dominic LeBlanc, for his part, seemed to want to recognize the upper chamber essentially nominal value on Wednesday, when invited to comment on the government’s openness to Senate amendments .

“The process followed by the Senate to date enormously, enormously improved public awareness, contributed, I think, to inform Canadians and to advance the debate on a subject that is necessarily difficult,” he said, press conference after the cabinet meeting.

Over the speech on Wednesday, many senators also expressed appreciation of the quality of debate in the Senate, rejoicing that the current spotlight on the institution – whose reputation has been seriously tainted in recent years – are this time for the right reasons.

Others, such as the Independent Liberal Senator Dennis Dawson, warned that the House will have to deal with the new upper chamber released from its chains has desired partisan Premier Justin Trudeau.

“When called upon to play the role for which, until further notice, there, the Senate can hold your nose and watch (the bills) because it might displease the other ( room), “he pleaded in a written message read by his colleague Claudette Tardif.

Senator Dawson, who is suffering from throat cancer, was categorical in this statement: “The Senate can, or should, be intimidated. That is the exercise of “sober second thought ‘,” he ruled.

On the other side of the Centre Block, Dominic LeBlanc said he still hopeful that the bill will get Royal Assent by the end of parliamentary proceedings next Thursday. But if the situation demands, the government is ready to extend the session, he suggested.

“I can tell you that I would not be comfortable to adjourn the House (as) we will not have a bill on medical aid in dying which is a few times to be signed by the Governor General, “he explained in scrum following the meeting of the Liberal cabinet.

The Ministers of Justice, Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Health, Jane Philpott, suggested more than once that they would not be willing to remove the natural death criterion reasonably foreseeable, saying that it would break the delicate balance they believe have achieved in C-14.

In total, the upper house adopted seven amendments, some of which are more technical.

One of them states that a patient must obtain a consultation on palliative care before providing their “informed consent” to receive help to die. Another is to prohibit an heir to a person wanting to avail of this assistance to participate in its administration.

The senators, however, rejected a controversial amendment that would have authorized the use of advance directives, which would have further expanded access. The Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) welcomed the news, Monday night.

“The reluctance of doctors is that it would be exceedingly difficult to terminate the life of a person to relieve her suffering as she does not understand what made him” do we explained in an email from the professional side.

“The free and informed consent of the patient is the basis for any request for medical help to die, there would be no way to know if the patient has not changed his mind and he always wants to get this care “, do we added in the same statement.

Medical dying is legal aid across the country since Tuesday, June 7, even if it is governed by federal legislation. The provincial medical colleges have established guidelines to guide their members.

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