West Kelowna woman’s right to assisted suicide upheld

B.C.'s Court of Appeal rules exemption from the current ban on assisted suicide—itself ruled unconstitutional—will stay in place.

West Kelowna’s Gloria Taylor has retained her right to die.

Taylor, who suffers from ALS, was one of the plaintiffs in the June B.C. Supreme Court case that challenged Canada’s ban on assisted suicide.

She was given the special one-year exemption from the law when the B.C. Supreme Court judge Lynn Smith ruled the ban was unconstitutional. The judge gave the federal government one-year to re-write the legislation concerning assisted suicide.

In the meantime, because of Taylor’s deteriorating condition, Smith gave Taylor a special exemption from the assisted suicide ban, which mains still in place pending a federal appeal.

The federal government announced it would appeal both the overturning of the ban and the exemption given to Taylor, who is believed to be the only person in Canada currently legally allowed to have an assisted suicide.

In a ruling released Friday, B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Jo-Ann Prowse rejected the government’s application for a stay of Taylor’s exemption.

She said because of Taylor’s condition, the West Kelowna woman would suffer harm if the exemption was removed.

The ruling did not address the government’s appeal of the overturning of the ban on assisted suicide inCanada. That will go the B.C. Court of Appeal and likely, to the Supreme Court of Canada for a final ruling. The court of appeal hearing is expected in March 2013.


Taylor’s lawyer said her client was delighted with Prowse’s ruling. She said she did expect Taylor to exercise the exemption right away but during the June court case, layers for the plaintiffs said Taylor’s conditon was deteriorating quickly.



Kelowna Capital News