B.C. Civil Liberties Association launches court challenge against Trudeau government's assisted-dying law

    1 of 3 2 of 3

      Once again, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association is going to bat for a B.C. resident with an extremely challenging medical condition.

      The organization has announced that it has launched a legal challenge with Julia Lamb, a 25-year-old with spinal muscular dystrophy.

      They're trying to overturn the federal government's new physician-assisted dying law, which reserves this only for people with terminal illnesses.

      Lamb, a fashion marketing assistant, experiences suffering and pain on a daily basis and has difficulty breathing.

      In addition, her severe osteoporosis has resulted in broken bones. She would like the right to seek the help of a medical practitioner to end her life should her suffering become intolerable. 

      The B.C. Civil Liberties Association previously won a landmark decision in the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of Kay Carter, who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

      In that case, Canada's highest court ruled that it was unconstitutional to deprive physician-assisted death to people suffering from a grievous and irremediable medical condition.

      That's because the ban in place at the time infringed on competent adults' charter right to life, liberty, and security of the person. In effect, the prohibition could force them to take their lives earlier than they might otherwise have done if there were the option of seeking a physician's help in the future.

      Filmmaker Kevin Eastwood made this documentary about the Carter case.

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould responded to the Carter case with Bill C-14. It only made physician-assisted death available to those imminently close to death.

      Wilson-Raybould has insisted that the new law is constitutional.

      According to the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, however, the new law has left many suffering Canadians behind.

      "At every turn, this government has been told by leading experts that the new federal law is unconstitutional and will condemn sick and suffering Canadians to return to court," the organization said in a news release announcing the court challenge.

      B.C. Civil Liberties litigation director Grace Pastine made the case at TEDxStanleyPark for critically ill Canadians to have the right to choose a dignified death.