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Religious Tolerance logo

Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) in
Canada: the Carter v. Canada lawsuit

Part 6 of thirteen parts

2013-MAR: Hearing before the
British Columbia Court of Appeal
Excerpts from a factum (written
argument) by a third intervenor.
Two videos on assisted suicide.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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2013-MAR-18 to 22: A very brief excerpt from a factum (written argument) is shown below. It was submitted by a third intervenor at the British Columbia Court of Appeal in favor of access to assisted suicide under controlled conditions:

  • Farewell Foundation of Canada: Their statement says, in part:

    "The objective of protecting the vulnerable is compatible with the liberty to choose the manner and time of one's death. ..."

    "The trial judge [at the B.C. Supreme Court] found that decisional capacity, informed consent, and freedom from undue influence can be ascertained to a high degree of reliability in the specific context of assisted suicide. Outside these forms of vulnerability, there is nothing to protect. What was meant in Rodriguez by 'protecting the vulnerable' should be read to include only the protection of individuals without capacity, who are not fully informed, or who are not free from undue influence.

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    The legislative objective of ensuring that a person's life is not ended without his or her informed consent, when she or he lacks decisional capacity or as a product of undue influence can be met on a practical level with a high degree of reliability without resorting to an absolute criminal prohibition on assisting suicide.

    The trial judge found that there is no need to choose between respect for autonomy and the protection of vulnerable persons because, as a practical matter, both interests may be served by enacting an exception to s.241(b) of the Criminal Code. ..." 1,2

    "... just as physicians routinely assess the requirements for informed consent in patients seeking or refusing medical treatment, it would be feasible to require informed consent for physician-assisted death. ...

    "... it is feasible to screen out from physician-assisted death patients [those] who are ambivalent, by assessing capacity and requiring some time to pass between the decision and its implementation. ..."

    "The legal concepts of capacity, informed consent, and undue influence are capable of administration by police officers, lawyers, and judges. It is an important real world exercise to protect vulnerable persons by ensuring that the choice to end life is made by a capable, informed and free individual. ..."

    "... What is to be avoided is undue influence of persons who have decisional capacity and are properly informed about their circumstances and their options. A person's autonomous and carefully considered reasons for ending life ,,, must be respected. We can ask for no less in a free society. ..."

    "The Farewell Foundation takes the position that documented access to independent psychological counseling aimed at suicide prevention should be a precondition for assisted suicide, and that attestation by the person seeking assistance that they are not subject to undue influence should be a precondition for assisted suicide. ..."

    ".... it should not be ignored that the objection to assisted suicide is, on the part of a number of intervenors ,,, animated by religious concepts and dogmatic considerations. Religious conceptions of life and death must yield to democratic values of autonomy and equality. Such moral considerations are to be heard, but they should no longer be part of the legal fabric of Canada. ..."

    "The profound decision to end life is for the individual to make. In a free and democratic society, the Government of Canada has no foundation for preventing informed persons of sound mind who are free from undue influence from obtaining prescriptions for barbiturate or other life-ending substances or from obtaining physical assistance in ending their lives. Both the vulnerable can be protected and unnecessary suffering can come to an end." 1

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2013-SEP-25: Jacques Bourbeau of Global TV looks at the dying with dignity movement:


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2013-SEP-26: A very short video by a Dr. Donald Low, a Canadian microbiologist:

He expresses his frustration at his lack of access to assisted suicide. He was suffering from a malignant brain stem tumor. He died on 2013-SEP-18, eight days after making the video. A statement at the end of the video states that:

"He did not have the death he had hoped for, but he died in his wife's arms, and he was not in pain."


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This topic continues in the next essay.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Factum of the intervenor,"Farewell Foundation of Canada," British Columbia Court of Appeal, date stamped 2012-DEC-24, at:
  2. Section 241(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada refers to the section that has criminalized assisted suicide across Canada.
  3. "Jacques Bourbeau looks at the dying with dignity movement," Global National > You Tube, 2013-SEP-25, at:
  4. "Canadian doctor makes posthumous assisted suicide plea," AFP news agency > You Tube, 2013-SEP-26, at:


Site navigation: Home page > "Hot" topics  > Assisted Suicide > Canada > here

or: Home page > "Hot" topics  > Suicide menu > Assisted Suicide> Canada > here

Copyright © 2016, by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2016-FEB-27
Latest update: 2016-FEB-29
Author: B.A. Robinson

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