On Dec. 30, Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament, shutting it down until March 3. When Parliament prorogues, all unfinished government legislation dies, but private members bills do not. This means that C-384, the private members bill of Francine Lalonde that would legalize euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide, will still be voted on when the new session begins.

Last Fall, Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, predicted C-384 would be defeated handily. That is why Lalonde has repeatedly traded back dates to avoid a final vote and a decisive defeat for the cause of euthanasia. Politics could prevent the bill from a vote. Lalonde might continue to trade back dates for third reading and final vote, possibly indefinitely. The bill might die on the House floor if an election is called.

Often proponents of change will call for an open discussion and a free vote to start the debate. We are calling for an affirmation of the current strictures against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide to end debate. The House of Commons should vote on C-384 – and defeat it – as soon as Parliament reconvenes.