People ask me if I timed the release of A Good Death to coincide with the tabling of Bill C-14, the federal government’s proposed legislation on medical aid in dying. The answer is no. I researched and wrote my book based on the timetable established by the Supreme Court of Canada. It was pure coincidence that the Liberal government tabled its legislation on the day of my book launch.
Nevertheless, I’m thrilled to tell you that A Good Death has debuted on three bestseller lists: Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. Thanks to everybody who is buying and reading my book. Please spread the work, and send me your reactions.
Let me tell you the backstory about the timing of A Good Death. The Court struck down the Criminal Code prohibitions against physician-assisted dying in its monumental decision in the Carter case in Feb. 2015, and suspended its ruling for a calendar year to give the federal government time to introduce and pass new legislation. The Harper government failed to respond for several months, called an early election, and lost to the Liberals, led by Justin Trudeau. You can read all about those dramatic events in A Good Death.
Once in power, the Liberals then petitioned the Supreme Court for a six month extension to give the government time to develop, introduce and pass a new law. The Court agreed, but limited the extension to four months, the amount of time that Parliament wasn’t sitting because of the lengthy election campaign, the longest in modern Canadian political history. Consequently, many suffering Canadians are petitioning Superior Court judges for an exemption, or waiting until June 6, 2016 for a new law and corresponding provincial legislation and regulations.
That’s the story behind the timing. A Good Death always had an April 2016 publication date, but the Court deadline changed. I will be blogging on the progress of Bill-C-14, so readers of A Good Death can follow my reactions to the parliamentary debate.
I’m going to post a list of events and appearances where I will be speaking and signing books. I hope to see you at some of them.