Audrey Parker, diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer which had metastasized to her bones and has a tumour on her brain, talks about life and death at her home in Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Federal health minister responds to dying woman’s pleas to change law

Audrey Parker, who is terminally ill, says she will be ending her life sooner than she would like because Canada’s assisted dying law is too restrictive.

Canada’s health minister says she has heard the pleas of a Halifax woman who plans to end her life today with medical assistance.

Audrey Parker, who is terminally ill, says she will be ending her life sooner than she would like because Canada’s assisted dying law is too restrictive.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor says her heart goes out to Parker, and she would change the law for her if she could.

But the minister says she can’t do that because the government is in the middle of gathering recommendations for amendments.

Parker, diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in 2016, says the two-year-old law will allow her to end her prolonged suffering — but she says the legislation has forced her to choose to die sooner than she would like.

She says the problem is that anyone approved for a medically assisted death must be conscious and mentally sound at the moment they give their final consent for a lethal injection.

That provision means Parker would be denied her wish to end her life with medical assistance if she were to suddenly become incapacitated by her advanced illness or the pain medication she is taking.

Parker says the law should be changed to allow for so-called advance requests, which would allow her caregiver to administer the lethal drugs even if she was unable to give her consent.

In Ottawa Wednesday, Petitpas Taylor told reporters the federal legislation can’t be altered without completing consultations on potential reforms.

“As health minister, I can tell you if I could change that law for her specifically I would. But as the minister, as a Parliamentarian, we have to have a law in place for all Canadians,” she said.

She said that a special report by experts will consider the issues Parker is raising in a report due by the end of this year.

Related: Top court asked to hear B.C. appeal seeking faster trial on assisted dying

Related: Doctors who object to treatment on moral grounds must give referral: court

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Manny’s Motel’ badly damaged by fire Jan. 15

Police say 40 Ave. closed due to fire, use alternate route

From courthouse to council’s house

Old courthouse had long history before becoming City Hall

Revenue Canada, RCMP don’t accept Bitcoin: police

RCMP issue Bitcoin warning posters

Writer says Alberta highway system falling apart

Highways in ‘deplorable’ condition: writer

County council denies request for parking lot

Buck Lake groups are welcome to raise funds and return to council

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

RCMP Major Crimes Unit lays charges in Stettler death

Nicholas Climb Johnson, 32, of Stettler is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father

Metis nations ask Ottawa to negotiate directly with them, not national body

Three provincial Metis nations will work through the national council until after the federal government releases its 2020 budget

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Oil and gas industry applauds top court’s dismissal of B.C.’s Trans Mountain case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Sylvan Lake RCMP seek assistance in locating missing male

Mark Crier, 17, was last seen in Sylvan Lake on Jan. 13

UPDATE: Supreme Court dismisses B.C.’s appeal in Trans Mountain pipeline case

Judges decide whether B.C.’s power to protect environment can include impeding a federal project

Most Read