Feds ask for 6 more months to craft assisted suicide law

The new Liberal government asked the Supreme Court of Canada today for a six-month delay in applying its decision on physician-assisted suicide because of the recent federal election.

In Carter v. Canada (Attorney General),  the top court had on Feb. 6 struck down a ban on doctor-assisted death and given the government 12 months to come up with replacement legislation if it chose to do so.

The government told the court that deliberations stopped during the campaign for the Oct. 19 election, in which the Liberals took power from the Conservatives. It said a parliamentary committee would study the issue but there would not be enough time before Feb. 6 to come up with a federal response.

Thursday was the first day of the newly elected Parliament.

The court's decision in February was that mentally competent, consenting adults who have intolerable physical or psychological suffering from a severe and incurable medical condition had the right to a doctor's help to die.

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