What the Trudeau Liberals are doing makes no sense.
The Canadian Press reports that federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau wants the Conservative government to make clear how it plans to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision on assisted-suicide before October’s scheduled election.Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Canada threw out the Criminal Code prohibitions on euthanasia and assisted-suicide and told Parliament it has one year to create a new law. If Parliament does not create a new law, there will be no (federal) legislation governing the killing of the terminally ill, disabled, elderly, or those suffering pain.
The CP reports that the Liberals will introduce a motion on Tuesday calling for the “creation of a special parliamentary committee to consult experts and Canadians on the potentially explosive issue.” (The reporter’s words, not the motion’s.) The Liberals want the committee to be examining the issue no later than March 11 and to report back to the House by the end of July. Justice Minister Peter MacKay has indicated the government will take its time to study the ruling and the issue before dealing with the issue of assisted-suicide.
Looking at Parliament’s schedule, the Liberal motion makes no sense. The House of Commons will sit for just 12 more weeks before the Summer recess. The October 19 election campaign will begin in mid-September, before the 13-week Summer recess ends. If the Liberals are asking for their special committee to report back a legislative framework for handling assisted-suicide, when would Parliament deal with the issue. Or are the Liberals playing politics with what is literally a life-and-death issue, hoping to score points with the electorate and divide Tories on the issue? If the Liberals want assisted-suicide to be an election issue, they can do so by having it in their platform. However, that would require Justin Trudeau to make a stand, instead of simply attacking the government for the position it takes. Trudeau will inevitably find the Conservative proposal unsatisfactory and wants to bash the Tories, not constructively discuss an important moral issue foisted upon politicians by the Supreme Court.
But back to the unwieldy timeline proposed by the Liberals. Would the new government be bound by the legislative framework proposed by this Parliament’s special committee? Or would the process begin anew in November or December? Would a Liberal government — if Justin Trudeau leads the party to power — have a different policy? How will the committee’s findings be reconciled with the wishes of the voters as suggested by the election results? There are a lot of unanswerable questions about all this because the time frame makes no sense.
What is also noticeable is that Trudeau gives no indication what he or his party would do on the file. He wants to listen to experts, he says, but there is no way he hasn’t given the issue some thought. What are his inclinations? What will the Liberals on the committee be proposing?
Ultimately, though, that isn’t what the motion is about. It is trying to embarrass the Harper government and divide the large and diverse Conservative caucus. The motion won’t pass unless the Conservatives want it to, so this is all about political posturing by Justin Trudeau.