OTTAWA — A three-member federal panel on assisted death created under the Conservative government should be disbanded, two advocacy groups argue. Dying with Dignity Canada and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association have put forward a blueprint with recommendations for leadership on physician-assisted death. Their proposal includes a call for the incoming Liberal government to collaborate with a provincial-territorial advisory group also examining the issue. Last February, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized the right of clearly consenting adults who endure intolerable physical or mental suffering to end their lives with a physician's help. The court gave Parliament one year to come up with a set of laws to govern assisted suicide, though former justice minister Peter MacKay mused in June that the government — Conservative or otherwise — would require more time to address the decision. In the summer, the federal government appointed the three-member panel, which includes two people who served as federal witnesses opposing assisted suicide when the case was heard by the court. Meanwhile, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada have also released a declaration on euthanasia and assisted suicide. The statement, endorsed by Jewish and Muslim leaders, advocates for palliative care and urges the federal, provincial and territorial governments to "enact and uphold laws that enhance human solidarity."
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