Murky legal waters for assisted-suicide group 0
A New Westminster assisted-suicide advocacy group will first have to convince a B.C. Supreme Court judge it has sufficient standing to challenge Canada's suicide laws before the case can go ahead.
Members of the Farewell Foundation For The Right to Die appeared in court Tuesday in what it predicts will be a lengthy case that could last up to five years.
The 117-member association filed a civil claim against the Attorney General of B.C. and the Attorney General of Canada in February, and also appealed the group's standing in representing whether a person is covered by the Charter in their "right to die" through assisted suicide.
B.C. Attorney General lawyer George Copley argued the group has no jurisdiction in the constitutional issue because it was rejected in its application to become a non-profit society in March for supporting an illegal practice.
He added in court that the Foundation's appeal to be registered as a non-profit society isn't significant to the constitutional issue unless assisted suicide was determined to be legal.
Outside the courtroom, Foundation director Russel Ogden told reporters two members have committed suicide since the group's inception in February. The most recent one killed himself in July because of long-term medical issues.
"We can expect no matter which way the B.C. Supreme Court decides, there will be an appeal," Ogden said.
He added he expects to see the issue settled eventually by the Supreme Court of Canada.