March 1st, 2024

Lametti says he ‘wouldn’t be afraid’ of pending update to assisted dying eligibility

By The Canadian Press on January 26, 2024.

Former justice minister David Lametti says he wouldn't be afraid of moving ahead with the expansion of medical assistance in dying to those whose sole reason for wanting it is mental illness. Lametti arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, June 13, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Former justice minister David Lametti says he wouldn’t be afraid of moving ahead with an expansion of eligibility for medical assistance in dying.

Lametti shepherded legislation through Parliament last year that postponed the scheduled change at the last minute.

Access to the program is now set to expand in March to people whose sole medical condition is a mental illness.

Lametti’s successor Justice Minister Arif Virani and Health Minister Mark Holland both say they are waiting to see a parliamentary committee report about the issue before deciding whether another delay is needed.

The Montreal MP, who is now resigning from public office after being booted from cabinet in the summer, says the one-year delay allowed for necessary work to ensure medical providers are ready.

He says it’s up to current ministers to decide what to do next, but from his point of view, there would be no issue with moving forward.

“It would only apply to a very, very small number of people, and so I wouldn’t be afraid personally of moving forward with it,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview late Thursday.

“I think people who have tried everything and are suffering and are capable of making that decision ought to be able to make that decision.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2024.

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