VANCOUVER, November 28, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is being hampered in its application to gain intervener status in the federal government’s appeal of the ruling by a British Columbia court that struck down Canada’s ban on assisted suicide.
“The assisted suicide lobby is doing everything possible to have EPC rejected as an intervener, even though we intervened at the lower court,” said Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the EPC. “The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), who represent the Carter family, have vigorously opposed our intervention application.”
The federal government is appealing the June 22 decision of Justice Lynn Smith of the British Columbia Supreme Court in the case of Carter vs. Canada which ruled that Canada’s ban on assisted suicide is unconstitutional.
Justice Smith ruled that the ban against assisted suicide discriminates against the disabled and the terminally ill, because it prevents these people from getting the help they may need to kill themselves. Therefore, it runs afoul of the equality provisions in section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, which intervened in the case, immediately urged the Crown to appeal Smith’s decision to the BC Court of Appeal and to seek an order that stays the effect of the decision until such time as that appeal is heard.
Schadenberg told LifeSiteNews that the BCCLA is trying to limit the arguments that can be raised by all interveners in the appeal, but is inordinately singling out the EPC by attempting to limit the points the group can put forward in opposition to Justice Smith’s ruling.
The BCCLA has demanded, for example, that factual errors by Justice Smith that have been identified by the EPC cannot be by brought forward by the EPC intervention.
“The EPC is concerned that the judge hearing the applications for intervener status has allowed the plaintiff (the BCCLA) an inordinate amount of power to try to limit the role of interveners in this case, specifically the EPC,” Schadenberg said, “given the very important role interveners play in providing diverse points of view in order for the case to be given a fair and open trial.”
The decision on granting intervener status to the groups that have sought to provide input, which include the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, is expected to be handed down in early December.
For more information visit the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition website.