FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It may be impossible for the federal government’s assisted suicide legislation to become law by the court-imposed deadline.
The government hopes to pass Bill C-14 by June 6th but debate stalled this week, when the Prime Minister crossed the floor of the Commons Wednesday night and pulled by the arm the Conservative party whip, Ontario MP Gord Brown, in the moments before a key vote.
In the process, Justin Trudeau accidentally elbowed in the chest a female New Democrat MP, who reacted with visible discomfort when the Prime Minister pushed past her, forcing her against an adjacent desk.
The House Speaker has concluded her privileges as an MP were breached and that means the encounter will be examined, by an all-party committee.
Our MP, Prince George/Peace River/Northern Rockies Bob Zimmer had this to say about the incident.
Meantime before the night was over a contrite PM then told the House “I sincerely apologize to my colleagues, to the House as a whole, and to you Mr. Speaker, for failing to live up to a higher standard of behaviour”.
However some on the opposition benches weren’t satisfied with that, and Conservative MP and former cabinet minister, Peter Kent, went so far as to suggest the PM’s actions were in contempt of Parliament.
As for Mr. Zimmer, he was present for another Prime Ministerial apology at a national prayer breakfast the following day and he’s taken a more forgiving position regarding the incident…
The Liberal legislation, which Mr. Trudeau has defended as, “A reasonable first step” proposes to restrict medical assistance “in dying” to mentally competent adults who have serious and incurable illness, disease or disability.
The bill empowers doctors, nurse practitioners and those who assist them, to assist qualified patients to die by their own hand using lethal drugs, or to administer the drugs, and it gives them criminal immunity.
However, Prince George/Peace River/Northern Rockies Conservative MP Bob Zimmer is among those with concerns about compelling medical professionals with moral objections to assisted suicide, to helping somebody do it.
Mr. Zimmer confirms there are philosophical differences even among members of the same political party, when it comes to Bill C-14, and it should be noted that while the government initially said Liberal MP’s would have to toe the party line to ensure the bill’s passage, it later reversed its position to allow the Grits to vote according to their conscience, like Conservatives and New Democrats.
It should also be noted that whatever way the vote goes it is clear another high court constitutional challenge remains a distinct possibility.