Motion for Concurrence in Commons Amendments and for Non-Insistence Upon Certain Senate Amendments—Bill C-14, medical assistance in dying

Hon. Art Eggleton: Honourable colleagues, it has been said many times already in this chamber, and I said it previously when I spoke on third reading of the bill, that it is the responsibility and duty of this institution to uphold the constitution of this country.

I think that’s also what the Supreme Court is doing. That’s their job as well. They are not creating law by doing this. They are looking at the Constitution, defending the Constitution and determining how the laws passed by this Parliament reflect in the Constitution. So they came to a conclusion after a very thorough examination that led to the Carter decision, and the Carter decision was the basis on which we passed the first amendment in this chamber.

The other chamber does not agree with that. The government has decided that its interpretation of the Constitution is the correct direction to go. I just don’t happen to agree. I think that the very substantial weight of evidence would indicate that this is unconstitutional. If it’s our duty to uphold the Constitution, then I believe it’s our duty to turn down this amendment when it comes back from the House of Commons, and I intend to vote against it.

I think it would have been wise for the government to go to the Supreme Court to get an opinion. It has done this before. It could do this in a few short months, as it did in the case of the previous government and the Senate itself in terms of what constitutional framework the government needed to operate within. It came back in fairly quick time.

I think it would happen again in this case, because they already have the information and they could very quickly deal with it, rather than putting citizens or citizen organizations, as appears to be where we’re headed now, through the long, drawn-out process of proceeding with this and leaving a state of uncertainty for a lot of people in this country. So I reluctantly come to the position that I will vote against this amendment from the House of Commons.