TORONTO – Health Minister Rona Ambrose says provinces and territories have the right to discuss assisted suicide in their legislatures, but Ottawa’s position on the issue won’t change.
Ambrose made the comments at a conference of health ministers in Toronto, where the emotionally charged subject was discussed.
Calling it a “divisive” issue, Ambrose said Parliament already discussed the issue in 2010 when it voted against the legalization of assisted suicide.
Several health ministers have said there should be a national discussion about the subject, but wouldn’t say whether assisted suicide should be legalized.
Assisted suicide has been debated for decades, but the taboo topic resurfaced recently after a prominent doctor made an impassioned, videotaped appeal to legalize it just a few days before his death.
Dr. Donald Low, who guided Toronto through the 2003 SARS crisis, asked that Canada allow people to die with dignity, eight days before he died from a brain tumour at age 68.