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Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose joins doctors as 'resident for a day' at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Toronto on April 10, 2014.http://ronaambrose.com

Federal Minister of Health Rona Ambrose says Canadians don’t need assisted suicide and euthanasia when it comes to dying, but better palliative care, something she says she wants to make a priority.

“I think the starting point for me is that we still don't have the best elderly care and palliative care yet,” Ambrose told CBC. “So let's talk about making sure we have the best end-of-life care before we start talking about assisted suicide and euthanasia.”

Ambrose’s comments come at a time when Quebec has recently passed legislation to allow assisted suicide under the name of ‘medical aid in dying,’ and the Supreme Court is about to hear a case that seeks to grant Canadians the right to kill themselves with assistance.

Added to this is the Canadian Medical Association passing a resolution recently allowing physicians to follow their conscience in deciding to provide or withhold euthanasia to a patient within the bounds of legislation. Dr. Chris Simpson, the head of the association, recently stated that euthanasia is an “appropriate” choice when all else fails.

Ambrose said the federal government can do much to help palliative care initiatives.

“While some people think, 'leave it to the other jurisdiction,' I'm a big believer in national initiatives. I think the federal government has a huge amount of knowledge, capacity, power, authority to act within the health care system,” she said. 

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