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2 - The Path from Rodriguez to Bill C-14 and Beyond

Lessons about MAiD Law Reform from Canada

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2021

Ben P. White
Affiliation:
Queensland University of Technology
Lindy Willmott
Affiliation:
Queensland University of Technology
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Summary

In 1993, Sue Rodriguez was unsuccessful in her efforts to persuade the Supreme Court of Canada that the Canadian Criminal Code prohibitions on voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide violated her rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Some twenty years later, in February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down the very same prohibitions in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General).  The next year, the Canadian Parliament passed Bill C-14 – An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying).  Medical assistance in dying is now legal in Canada and it has become an illuminating case study for other jurisdictions contemplating assisted dying.  This chapter describes the journey from Rodriguez to Carter to Bill C-14 and reflects on the lessons to be learned from the two interconnected yet distinct pathways to law reform taken in Canada (a court challenge and federal legislation).  While there are obviously critical differences between jurisdictions such that the Canadian path cannot simply be replicated, this chapter draws out transferable lessons about law reform in this area.

Type
Chapter
Information
International Perspectives on End-of-Life Law Reform
Politics, Persuasion and Persistence
, pp. 17 - 39
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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