Canada's Trudeau defends assisted suicide bill as deadline nears

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Canada PM Talks Assisted Suicide Bill

A bill legalizing medically-assisted suicide in Canada strikes the right balance between defending fundamental freedoms and protecting against abuses, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday, predicting confusion if it is not approved.

The draft legislation, introduced by Trudeau's Liberal government in April, would allow people with incurable illnesses or disabilities to end their lives with a medical professional's help, but stopped short of extending the right to minors and the mentally ill.

"There are people who think we should have gone further with this bill, there are people who think we already went too far," Trudeau told reporters at a Liberal convention in Winnipeg.

Click through images of Trudeau's visit to the White House:

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NTP: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau visits White House, State Dinner
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Canada's Trudeau defends assisted suicide bill as deadline nears
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada exchange toasts during a State Dinner at the White House March 10, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Prime Minister Trudeau is on an official visit to Washington. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: President Barack Obama (C) gives a toast as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) and First Lady Sophie Trudeau of Canada look on during a State Dinner at the White House March 10, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office of the White House March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk from the Oval Office to a joint press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Trudeau and Obama met privately in the Oval Office prior to the press conference. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama stands with Canadian first lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau during an arrival ceremony for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (not pictured) on the South Lawn of the White House, March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take part in a welcome ceremony during a State Visit on the South Lawn of the White House on March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walk from the Oval Office to a joint press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House, March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Obama and Trudeau met privately before the press conference. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Canandian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau escorts his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau during an arrival ceremony with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets invited guests during an arrival ceremony with U.S. President Barack Obama on the South Lawn of the White House, March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau watch as a fife and drum corps performs during a an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the location of the Stanley Cup as he welcomes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is Trudeau's first trip to Washington since becoming Prime Minister. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Barack Obama greet visitors as they take part in a welcome ceremony during a State Visit on the South Lawn of the White House on March 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Making this first step a responsible, prudent one that gets the balance right between protecting vulnerable Canadians and defending rights and freedoms is what we have focused on and I'm confident that we got that balance right."

The Supreme Court of Canada overturned a ban on medical-assisted suicide last year and gave the new government until June 6 to come up with a law, adding Canada to the handful of Western countries that allow the practice.

Trudeau said he expected Parliament to meet that deadline. He added, however, that failing to do so could lead to uneven access to assisted dying across Canada. If new legislation is not in place by June 6, last year's Supreme Court ruling comes into effect, allowing assisted dying for those with a "grievous and irremediable" medical condition.

Some Canadians who should have access to medically-assisted death may not get it if doctors conclude there isn't legal protection for them, while others may gain access to it when they should not, he said.

Trudeau's Liberals hold a majority of seats in Canada's House of Commons, but not in the Senate. Bills must pass both chambers on their way to becoming law. (Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Paul Simao)

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