THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA TO APPEAL THE REFUSAL BY A JUDGE OF THE BRITISH COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEAL TO STAY THE CONSTITUTIONAL EXEMPTION GRANTED IN THE CARTER CASE

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OTTAWA, August 17, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, confirmed that the Government of Canada will seek to vary the refusal by a judge of the British Columbia Court of Appeal to stay the decision granting a constitutional exemption to one of the applicants in Lee Carter and Hollis Johnson et al. v. Attorney General of Canada pending a hearing on all of the issues raised before the court. This appeal would be heard by a full panel of the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

Attorney General Nicholson reaffirmed the Government's position on the issue:

"The Government objects to the lower court's decision to grant a 'constitutional exemption' resembling a regulatory framework for assisted suicide.

"The Government is of the view that the Criminal Code provisions that prohibit medical professionals, or anyone else, from counselling or providing assistance in a suicide, are constitutionally valid.

"The laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly or people with disabilities. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the state interest in protecting human life and upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation in Rodriguez (1993).

"The Government of Canada will provide its full position before the British Columbia Court of Appeal when the matter is heard. As the matter continues to be before the court, the Government will not comment further."

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