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Canada Dec. 13, 2017

Palliative care bill passes into law

By Deborah Gyapong

Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu's private member's bill calling for a national palliative care framework has received royal assent. (Deborah Gyapong / The B.C. Catholic)

OTTAWA (CCN)— MP Marilyn Gladu’s private member’s Bill C-277 calling for a national palliative care framework received royal assent Dec. 12.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously on third reading the previous day.

“In my work on this vital piece of legislation, one thing has been clear to me: Canadians, when given the option, will choose to live as well as they can for as long as they can,” said a release from the Conservative MP for Sarnia Lambton, Ont.  “Providing better palliative care service across Canada will strengthen our nation and improve conditions for millions of Canadians making important healthcare choices.

Gladu’s Bill C-277 had previously received unanimous consent in the House of Commons before passing on to the Senate.

“The bill’s passage ensures that we can begin working with our provincial and territorial partners to create the necessary palliative care framework to give Canadians the type of end of life and near-end of life care that they deserve and want,” Gladu said in a release.

In addition to all-party support in Parliament, Gladu had an array of about 100 healthcare organizations endorsing the bill, including the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians.

“This is great news,” said Peter Murphy, assistant director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family. “Increasing access to palliative care sends the message – upholds the truth – that human life is of inestimable value.”

“When death approaches, bringing with it pain and discomfort, we need to do everything we can to alleviate that pain and discomfort, but never at the cost of eliminating the sufferer,” Murphy said.