On October 15, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear oral arguments in the case of Lee Carter, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, et al. Written Factums of key parties are available here.
The plaintiffs were terminally ill patients seeking physician aid in dying. Ms. Kay Carter and the applicant Ms. Gloria Taylor both suffered from intractable and progressive diseases and are now deceased. They had joined with the others in bringing a civil claim before the British Columbia Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Criminal Code provisions against assisted suicide and euthanasia, specifically ss. 14, 21(1)(b), 21(2), 22, 222(1)-222(5), and 241. They focused their case, however, on s. 241, which prohibits aiding another person to commit suicide.
The plaintiffs succeeded at trial notwithstanding the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1993 decision in Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General) that s. 241 did not infringe Charter rights. A majority of the Court of Appeal, however, allowed the Attorney General of Canada’s (“AGC”) appeal.
The questions to be addressed concern the Canadian Charter of Rights (Right to life, Equality, Fundamental justice). Specifically,
- Whether trial judge erred in distinguishing Rodriguez
- Whether the Criminal Code provision prohibiting aiding person to commit suicide infringes the Charter
- If so, whether such infringement is justifiable
There are quite a number of interveners. Their briefs/factums are due August 29.
- Attorney General of Ontario
- Attorney General of Quebec
- Attorney General of British Columbia
- Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Canadian Association for Community Living
- Christian Legal Fellowship
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (the ‘Legal Network”) and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (”HALCO”)
- Association for Reformed Political Action Canada
- Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia
- Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
- Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada
- Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies
- Dying with Dignity
- Canadian Medical Association
- Catholic Health Alliance of Canada
- Criminal Lawyers’ Assocation (Ontario)
- Farewell Foundation For The Right To Die
- Association québécoise pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité
- Canadian Civil Liberties Association
- Catholic Civil Rights League
- Faith and Freedom Alliance and Protection of Conscience Project
- Alliance Of People With Disabilities Who Are Supportive of Legal Assisted Dying Society
- Canadian Unitarian Council
- Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – British Columbia
- Advocates’ Society
- David Asper Centre For Constitutional Rights