OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is open to improving its controversial bill on medically assisted dying but so far the Liberal-dominated committee examining the legislation is showing little appetite for amendments. The Commons justice committee has rejected a proposed NDP amendment that would have made the bill more permissive, expanding it to include the right of people with competence-eroding conditions like dementia to make advance requests for an assisted death. But it has also rejected multiple amendments proposed by Conservative MPs that would have made it more restrictive. One such Tory amendment would have required every application for medical assistance in dying to be approved by a judge; another would have stipulated that only someone with a terminal disease would be eligible. But committee chairman Anthony Housefather says there are still plenty more proposed amendments to come — about 100 in total. The bill would allow medical assistance in dying only for consenting adults in “an advanced stage of irreversible decline” from a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability and for whom a natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.” It is in response to a Supreme Court ruling last year that struck down the ban on assisted dying and recognized the right to assisted death for clearly consenting adults with “grievous and irremediable” medical conditions who are enduring physical or mental suffering that they find intolerable.
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