The government is backing away from a decision to whip the vote on legislation regarding doctor-assisted death. Government House Leader Dominic LeBlanc had announced that Liberal MPs would be forced to vote for the legislation, as the matter relates to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Instead, MPs will make a decision of whether to make it a whipped vote when they meet in caucus.
The Supreme Court ruled that Canadians should have the right to doctor-assisted death, and gave the government one year to draft legislation to that effect. With the election and change in government, the new government asked and received an extension from the court to draft the legislation.
The crux of the issue is not whether to allow or not allow doctor-assisted death in Canada, the court has already decided that. The issue that the government is facing is what the legislation will look like.
The Conservative and New Democratic Parties will allow a free vote on the issue.
Prime Minister Trudeau campaigned during the Liberal leadership race and the last federal election that he plans to let his MPs have more say in the House of Commons by allowing them to vote their conscience more often. He indicated three scenarios where MPs would be expected to vote with the party; on commitments made in the party platform, on matters of confidence and matters related to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Then Liberal Party leader Trudeau announced all Liberal MPs would be expected to vote with the party to protect abortion rights for women.