This is a major positive step in Canada, It is now up to Australia to follow this example.

The most comprehensive analysis of this change in Canada that I have read was posted on Facebook by Marshall Perron, who you may recall was Chief Justice in the Northern Territory . and who initiated the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act there some 20 years ago.

Here is Marshall’s posted article in full –

NEWS FROM CANADA
June 17, 2016: Canadian parliament completes passage of federal aid-in-dying legislation.

Yesterday will be remembered as yet another momentous step forward for our movement to establish the right to aid-in-dying as a fundamental human right.

Yesterday, Friday June 17, the Canadian Senate passed bill C-14 put forward by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which had previously been passed by the House of Commons. This made aid-in-dying fully legal all across Canada, and established a country-wide legal framework for its implementation.

There are many parameters of the new Canadian law which are similar to those of our own Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California laws. The Canadian law allows assisted dying for consenting adults “in an advanced stage of irreversible decline” from a serious and “incurable” disease, illness or disability and for whom natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.”

Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Health Minister Jane Philpott issued a joint statement, saying: “The legislation strikes the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable.” The new law has the strong support of the Canadian Medical Association, which said in a statement that it was “pleased that historic federal legislation on medical aid in dying is now in place.” Cindy Forbes, president of the CMA, said the law brings clarity and balance to assisted dying. “I feel very confident the government has done the right thing.”

A brief summary of the history leading up to this momentous event: In June, 2014, the Canadian province of Quebec passed a groundbreaking and far-reaching aid-in-dying bill, and in February, 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled unanimously (nine to nothing !!!!) that aid-in-dying is a fundamental human right for terminally ill people, part of a broader human right to compassionate care at end of life. On December 10, 2015, the Quebec law went into force. And on June 6, the Canadian Supreme Court’s ruling took effect, invalidating all previously existing laws banning aid-in-dying.

To us in the USA, it’s fascinating that the debate in Canada over the bill has not been about whether aid in dying should be legal, but rather about whether the new law goes far enough, and in particular that it does not help people who suffer from intolerable medical conditions even though they may not be “terminal.” The Canadian Supreme Court’s 2015 decision establishes intolerable physical suffering as a condition for aid in dying without requiring that the person be terminal. However, Ellen Wiebe, a Vancouver doctor who has been assisting in deaths, said she sees the new law as flexible. In her view, patients with advanced multiple sclerosis, who would die if they did not accept treatment, could be deemed to face a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death, and therefore be eligible for medical assistance to end their lives.