ARPA Canada Unveils Draft Legislation Prohibiting Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia and Invoking the Notwithstanding Clause
For immediate release from the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada
July 7, 2015
ARPA CANADA UNVEILS DRAFT LEGISLATION PROHIBITING ASSISTED SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA AND INVOKING THE NOTWITHSTANDING CLAUSE
Ottawa – On the heels of the Canadian Medical Association unveiling draft protocols for an assisted suicide regime, the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada has published a draft euthanasia law (https://arpacanada.ca/drafteuthanasialaw.pdf) which would uphold Canada’s absolute prohibitions of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
ARPA Canada was an intervenor in the Supreme Court case which struck down Canada’s assisted suicide law on February 6, 2015 and gave Parliament just one year to fill the void. The organization also published a policy report for Parliamentarians following the Supreme Court decision.
“On numerous occasions, including just five years ago, all of the major parties in Canada’s Parliament have voted to uphold our law against assisted suicide,” said ARPA Canada’s Executive Director Mark Penninga. “Parliament has the constitutional means to pass a new law which continues to prohibit all assisted suicide, and it can do that while taking meaningful steps to promote palliative and end of life care.”
The draft bill invokes Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, commonly referred to as the notwithstanding clause. This section gives Parliament the ability to pass legislation notwithstanding a court’s interpretation of section 2 or sections 7 to 15 of the Charter. In this case, the draft legislation is cited notwithstanding how the Supreme Court interpreted the “right to life” of section 7 of the Charter to allow state-endorsed killing.
“If Parliament refuses to even consider invoking Section 33, Canada’s nine unelected Supreme Court judges have effectively become the supreme lawmakers of Canada,” explained ARPA Canada’s Legal Counsel André Schutten. “The notwithstanding clause was added to the Charter to balance the power of the judicial and legislative branches of civil government. But for the clause to have effect, it must be exercised. It is hard to conceive of a more worthy time to invoke Section 33 than now, when the basic right to life of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens are at risk.”
ARPA’s draft law includes a lengthy preamble which provides sixteen reasons why such a strident step is principled, constitutional, and necessary.
Mark Penninga is available throughout the day for phone or email interviews. Contact him directly at 778-210-0376 or [email protected]
ARPA Canada’s legal counsel André Schutten is available for comment and in studio interviews in Ottawa or via phone/email. To arrange an interview contact Niki Pennings, Administrative Assistant, at 1-866-691-2772, ext. 3 or [email protected]