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Liberals vote to decriminalize medically assisted suicide

Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau votes on a resolution during the party's convention in Montreal, Sunday, February 23, 2014.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

The Liberal Party of Canada is in favour of decriminalizing medically assisted suicide, adopting a resolution on the controversial matter at the end of its four-day policy convention in Montreal.

The issue was decided in a tight vote at a plenary session at the convention on Sunday, signaling a clear position by the party in relation to assisted suicide for some critically ill patients. The resolution showcases a willingness of the Liberal Party to take a stance on issues of freedom and choice, offering a contrast with the positions of of the Conservative government.

The Liberal Party has already shaken Canadian politics by supporting the legalization of marijuana, attracting constant criticism on the matter from the Conservative Party.

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Supporters of the motion on medically-assisted suicide told the convention that the issue was "a matter of choice, and we are the party of choice."

Still, there was opposition among Liberals, with one opponent of the resolution stating that the issue was "not speedier death," but rather improving paliative care to ensure "a truly caring death."

The resolution that was adopted reads as follows: "Be it resolved that voluntary medically-assisted death be de-criminalized after a public consultation process designed to make recommendations to Parliament with respect to the criteria for access and the appropriate oversight system for medically-assisted end-of-life."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Daniel Leblanc studied political science at the University of Ottawa and journalism at Carleton University. He became a full-time reporter in 1998, first at the Ottawa Citizen and then in the Ottawa bureau of The Globe and Mail. More

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