Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago today, on February 12, 1994, a remarkably courageous young Canadian woman, Sue Rodriguez, died.
Sue was living with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, and she led a national legal and political campaign to change the Criminal Code to permit terminally ill adults to choose for themselves the time of their death and to allow a doctor to assist them in dying.
New Democrats, representing a strong majority of Canadians, call upon the government to join countries like the Netherlands and Belgium to change this often cruel and inhumane law. We also call for far more supportive resources for palliative care in Canada.
I urge the new Prime Minister to keep the promise that was made 10 years ago after Sue Rodriguez's death by former prime minister Jean Chrétien to allow a free vote in the House on this important issue. In her final words to Canadians, Sue Rodriguez said, “I hope that my efforts will not have been in vain”. Let us heed the eloquent plea of this brave woman, a Canadian hero, and change this law.