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Falk draws firm line on doctor-assisted suicide

By: Grant Burr

Posted: 02/8/2016 4:15 PM

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Provencher MP Ted Falk is advocating a cautious approach as the Liberal government proceeds with plans for responding to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on doctor-assisted suicide.

The court ruled last year that Canadians have the right to doctor-assisted suicide in cases of extreme suffering.

The cause was advocated by former Conservative MP Steven Fletcher but Falk remains of a different opinion.

He notes as the former Conservative government began discussions about the issue, following the court’s ruling, that some MPs advocated using the notwithstanding clause to override the court’s decision.

It’s a move that Falk would still endorse, noting his own deeply held views.

"I have a fundamental problem with terminating life," Falk said.

"I wouldn’t be opposed to exercising the notwithstanding clause," he said.

It’s a position that Falk said is in line with 99 percent of the correspondence his local office is receiving on the subject.

The local MP acknowledged that his position for the status quo to be maintained may be untenable but added that, if changes must be made, that any window to allow for physician-assisted suicide should be very narrow.

Instead, Falk said more focus be placed on end of life care. He pointed out that modern pain management practices and tax relief for family members caring for loved ones in palliative care can allow individuals "to pass in a dignified way."

Supporters of physician-assisted suicide use similar language but Falk doesn’t see it that way.

"Suicide is not dignified and we should never dignify it."

Ultimately, Falk says that life and death is something in the hands of God.

"That’s something He has said is in his domain…He’s the giver and taker of life," Falk said.

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