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University of Toronto Mississauga
Rachel Bryant

PHL282S 2012Bryant Midterm and final exam study questions 7: Physician-assisted death (1) In Rodriguez v. British Columbia, what conclusion does the Supreme Court reach about whether section 241(b) of the Criminal Code unjustifiably violates rights guaranteed under section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Explain the reasoning by which the Court arrives at this conclusion. Then explain the reasoning Justice Smith uses in Carter v. Canada to draw a different conclusion about whether 241(b) unjustifiably violates rights guaranteed under section 7. SECTION 7: everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. Conclusion The rights protect by section 7 can be divided into two branches. First is individual’s value in peril and second is if the value is in accordance with PFJ. Section 241(b) follows the state interest and section 7 follows personal interest. Principle of Fundamental Justice points out a fair balance should be maintained between personal interests and state interests. If people use section 7 to indicate they have the autonomy to control the timing of their death, and ask for legalizing Physician-Asisted Suicide, then it would be conflicted with the state interest. The state interest upholds by section 241(b) is to protect vulnerable people from being influenced by others, such as social pressure or families, on decisions of ending their lives; also protect people who do not really want to die from being killed. The entire society shares the same voice of the high value lives contain, which should not be overwhelmed by any persons’ right to autonomy or PHL282S 2012Bryant dignity. The court states that to determine if the particular action offends the Principle of Fundamental Justice, citizens should look back to the history. From the past, there is no parliament has recognized assisted suicide as legal, therefore this particular prohibition stated by 241(b) does not offend the PFJ stated by section 7. explain the reasoning Justice Smith uses in Carter v. Canada to draw a different conclusion about whether 241(b) unjustifiably violates rights guaranteed under section 7. 1) Balance between two interests, societal interest The discussion of maintaining a balance between the state interest and the personal interest does not belong to the Principle of Fundamental Justice; and whether the infringement is justified by social interest are all what to be uphold by section (1). The burden of the balance should fall on the government. 3)liberty and security Justice Smith thinks that the Court deprives citizens’ liberty on personal medical decision-making, and interferes citizens’ autonomy on protecting self-dignity and self-privacy. People’s right to security contains this sense of autonomy. The sedating effect of palliative drugs may make patients suffer from psychological and mental distress, which is a threat to citizens’ security. Through that time, they are
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