Canada draft law to allow assisted suicide, exclude tourists

Thu Apr 14, 2016 4:50pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will allow people with incurable illness or disability to end their lives with a doctor's help but stopped short of extending the right to minors and the mentally ill, according to draft legislation introduced on Thursday.

The law applies only to Canadians and residents in the country, preventing foreigners from traveling there for euthanasia.

The law, to be voted on by June, is expected to pass as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals have a majority in Parliament.

The Supreme Court of Canada overturned a ban on physician-assisted suicide last year, saying willing adults facing intolerable physical or psychological suffering from a severe and incurable medical condition had the right to die.

Some right-to-die advocates criticized the draft law as being too narrow and experts said it could face a court challenge.

The Supreme Court gave the new government extra time to pass legislation, adding Canada to the handful of Western countries that allow the practice.

Trudeau, whose father declined treatment for cancer before his 2000 death, said Canadians were "extremely seized with this issue."

"It's a deeply personal issue that affects all of us and our families and all of us individually as we approach the end of our lives," he told reporters. "The plan we have put forward is one that respects Canadians' choices while putting in place the kinds of safeguards needed."   Continued...