Medically assisted suicide would be a legal choice for some dying Canadians under legislation introduced Thursday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

The proposed law would apply to dying patients "suffering intolerably from a serious medical condition," according to a news release.

The Associated Press reported that the proposed law would apply only to Canadians and permanent residents of the country. That means "suicide tourism" to Canada would not be an option, because tourists would not be eligible for legal, medically assisted suicide, according to the news agency.

"Medical assistance in dying is a sensitive, complex issue and many Canadians have deeply-held views on the subject," Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould said in a statement. "Recognizing the inherent dignity and equality of all Canadians, we are proposing the choice of a peaceful death for patients with a serious medical condition who are irreversibly declining and suffering intolerably."

AD
AD

Here's the Canadian Press, explaining who would be eligible under the proposed legislation:

The bill says those eligible to seek that help must be mentally competent, 18 or older, have a serious and incurable disease, illness or disability and be in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability.
And it says that while death would have to be foreseen, there would not have to be a specific prognosis or timeline associated with when that might occur.

Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose told the Canadian Press that she had doubts about whether there was enough time to debate and approve the bill, which is expected to receive criticism from those who feel that it's either too restrictive or not restrictive enough. Wilson-Raybould told CBC that the bill is "troubling" for some and "for others it will not go far enough."

Last year, Canada's Supreme Court unanimously struck down laws criminalizing physician-assisted suicide. But it put a one-year hold on the ruling, allowing the then-Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper time to introduce new legislation, CBC reported.

AD

Earlier this year, Trudeau's Liberal government requested an extension to offer a new proposal, according to the CBC.

AD

Critics of the new bill include the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case.

Assisted suicide is legal in Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Colombia, Japan and a handful of places in the United States, according to the AP.

The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg also permit physician-assisted suicide, but there have strict conditions in place.

AD
AD