Audrey Parker, diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer which had metastasized to her bones and has a tumour on her brain, talks about life and death at her home in Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Federal health minister responds to dying woman’s pleas to change law

Audrey Parker, who is terminally ill, says she will be ending her life sooner than she would like because Canada’s assisted dying law is too restrictive.

Canada’s health minister says she has heard the pleas of a Halifax woman who plans to end her life today with medical assistance.

Audrey Parker, who is terminally ill, says she will be ending her life sooner than she would like because Canada’s assisted dying law is too restrictive.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor says her heart goes out to Parker, and she would change the law for her if she could.

But the minister says she can’t do that because the government is in the middle of gathering recommendations for amendments.

Parker, diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in 2016, says the two-year-old law will allow her to end her prolonged suffering — but she says the legislation has forced her to choose to die sooner than she would like.

She says the problem is that anyone approved for a medically assisted death must be conscious and mentally sound at the moment they give their final consent for a lethal injection.

That provision means Parker would be denied her wish to end her life with medical assistance if she were to suddenly become incapacitated by her advanced illness or the pain medication she is taking.

Parker says the law should be changed to allow for so-called advance requests, which would allow her caregiver to administer the lethal drugs even if she was unable to give her consent.

In Ottawa Wednesday, Petitpas Taylor told reporters the federal legislation can’t be altered without completing consultations on potential reforms.

“As health minister, I can tell you if I could change that law for her specifically I would. But as the minister, as a Parliamentarian, we have to have a law in place for all Canadians,” she said.

She said that a special report by experts will consider the issues Parker is raising in a report due by the end of this year.

Related: Top court asked to hear B.C. appeal seeking faster trial on assisted dying

Related: Doctors who object to treatment on moral grounds must give referral: court

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nimpkish to continue serving Central Coast until spring

The Northern Sea Wolf is still undergoing repairs

B.C. Indigenous communities receive funding for hands-on trades training

Nuxalk, Witset, Penticton Indian Band, TRU Williams Lake, and Camosun College among beneficiaries

Nuxalk College undertakes language digitization project

New tapes from over 50 years ago are set to be digitally transcribed

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Sap thief taps Saanich park maple trees, faces hefty fine

One tree found with four taps in Mount Doug Park

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Uber threatens legal action to ‘defend its right’ to operate in Surrey

‘I have no concerns,’ Mayor Doug McCallum replies

Victoria resident says WestJet employee uttered racist comment, refused to let her on plane

Customer claims she was told ‘You guys can’t handle your alcohol’ by WestJet employee

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Most Read