Liberal MP Rob Oliphant takes part in an interview on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. (Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/CP)Taylor's appeal to unelected senators was echoed by Toronto Liberal MP Rob Oliphant, who co-chaired a special joint parliamentary committee on assisted dying that recommended a much more permissive approach to the issue. Oliphant disclosed Wednesday that he won't support the bill, which he predicted will easily pass the House of Commons with no substantive amendments. "I'm hoping the Senate is daring enough to really do their constitutional job, respect the House of Commons but offer some amendments that didn't come up (from MPs)," Oliphant said in an interview. Taylor's husband was Dr. Donald Low, a microbiologist credited with steering Toronto through the SARS crisis in 2003. Eight days before his death in September 2013, Low videotaped an appeal for Canada to legalize medically assisted dying, in which he vented his frustration at not being able to choose for himself when he'd had enough. Taylor said her husband chose to stop eating and drinking but was sedated into a coma to avoid further pain — all of which only prolonged his suffering.
While she believes Low would have been eligible for an assisted death under the proposed law, Taylor said it would condemn others suffering from a host of grave conditions — multiple sclerosis, Huntington's, Parkinson's, spinal stenosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease — to years of intolerable suffering. "Denying these patients the option of an assisted death simply because some groups classify them as vulnerable populations insults their capacity to make their own medical decisions," she told the committee. Noting that patients hooked up to ventilators in order to breathe can legally ask to be disconnected, Taylor asked: "If we accept these decisions as rational, why the double standard?" Taylor co-chaired the provincial and territorial advisory group which also recommended a more permissive approach to assisted dying. Bioethicist Jennifer Gibson, the other co-chair, said the group stuck to the wording of the Supreme Court ruling which struck down the ban on medically assisted death last year. And she urged the Senate committee to take the same approach with the proposed new legislation.
"I'm hoping the Senate is daring enough to really do their constitutional job, respect the House of Commons but offer some amendments that didn't come up."
Bill's wording more restrictive than court ruling
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