Reactions to the SCC's historic ruling on doctor-assisted suicide
Lee Carter, left, hugs Grace Pastine, litigation director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, inside The Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Friday morning, Feb. 6, 2015. Carter and her husband accompanied her 89-year-old mother Kathleen (Kay) Carter, who suffered from spinal stenosis, to Switzerland in 2010, to end her life. The Supreme Court unanimously struck down the ban on providing a doctor-assisted death to mentally competent but suffering and "irremediable" patients. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Published Friday, February 6, 2015 11:27AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 6, 2015 12:22PM EST
The Supreme Court of Canada made a landmark ruling Friday when it unanimously deciding to strike down the ban against physician-assisted suicide.
The controversial decision sparked emotional responses from Canadian advocates both for and against the decision.
Here is a round-up of reaction pouring in after the historic ruling:
Josh Patterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association: "This is a historic victory for Canadians today. The Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that Canadians who have grievous disease have the right to have medical assistance to die. We are absolutely delighted with this decision."
Grace Pastine, litigation director for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association: "For seriously and incurably ill Canadians, the brave people who worked side by side with us for so many years on this case -- this decision will mean everything to them."
Lee Carter, daughter of the late Kay Carter, whose quest to end her life inspired the court case: "We just felt that it was a fundamental right for Canadians that they should have this choice … Today has been a really emotional time. I’m very exciting and very grateful."
Hollis Johnson, Kay Carter’s son-in-law: "It's just amazing. And I think this is a very courageous decision on the part of the Supreme Court."
Steven Fletcher, the Conservative MP for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia who has gone against the party line by supporting physician-assisted suicide: "Parliamentarians would rather have their eyes scratched out than deal with this issue, but that is not a reason not to deal with the issue. This is an existential, moral issue that affects everyone who is alive today and everyone who will live in Canada in the future."
Justice Minister Peter MacKay: “This is a very emotive subject to say the least and there’s a broad range of thoughts and views on this by Canadians … it’s important that we take the time to thoughtfully review the decision”
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May: "The Supreme Court affirmed that Canadians must be free to make important decisions about what kind of end-of-life care they receive. Parliament should take immediate action to legislate new rules that respect the Supreme Court’s ruling."
Vyda Ng, executive director of the Canadian Unitarian Council: “The CUC looks forward to the day that this becomes fair and equitable legislation across the country, and we will continue to work to make sure that legislation becomes good practice, with careful safeguards in place. We are grateful to all who have been committed to this cause – to those who have gone before – to make this possible.
Wanda Morris, CEO of Dying with Dignity: "In our work, we field hundreds of calls every year from individuals who face the prospect of great suffering … How wonderful is it that they may soon face that prospect with equanimity. They will know that, if worst comes to the worst, our medical system will not abandon them, but rather offer them choice."
Amy Hasbrouck, disability rights activist with Not Dead Yet: "The slippery slope that everybody talks about has already been launched … for those who believe that the slippery slope is alarmist, we’re alarmed by this."
Mark Penninga, executive director of the Association for Reformed Political Action: "With this decision, autonomous choices have been raised as a higher value than life itself. This will have devastating consequences on the value of human life, especially for the most vulnerable in society."