05/13/2016 04:23 EDT | Updated 05/14/2017 05:12 EDT

Bill C-14: Opposition Rejects Liberal Bid To Extend Debate On Assisted Dying

The Supreme Court set a deadline of June 6.

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have lost a bid to extend debate next week on their contentious medically-assisted dying legislation.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced two motions Friday to extend sitting hours next Tuesday and Wednesday into the early morning hours so MPs could speak their minds about Bill C-14.

But the procedural move was rejected by the opposition parties, who accused the Liberals of using "bulldozer" tactics to get the legislation through third reading.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould makes her way past journalists following a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill, Tuesday, April 12, 2016 in Ottawa. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

Wilson-Raybould said she would have preferred to have more time to debate the proposed new law.

But the Opposition Conservatives complained that their constituents deserve to hear their MPs debate the legislation at a time when they're actually awake.

New Democrat MP Peter Julian said the Liberals should have approached his party first to seek consent to extend the sitting hours. 

The clock is ticking

The Supreme Court last year struck down the ban on medical assistance in dying and gave the government until June 6 to draft a new law that recognizes the right to an assisted death for clearly consenting adults with grievous and irremediable medical conditions who are enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering.

The government has taken a more restrictive approach than the top court with a bill that would allow medical assistance in dying only for consenting adults in "an advanced stage of irreversible decline."

The bill would also require those seeking a doctor's help to be suffering from a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability and for whom a natural death is "reasonably foreseeable."

Wilson-Raybould continued Friday to suggest she would be open to amendments from the Senate to ensure the law is passed before the June deadline.

"I embrace the realities of a parliamentary democracy and I will consider those amendments if, in fact, they come," she said.


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