Former Castlegar resident granted legal right to die in landmark case – UPDATED

Gloria Taylor is now eligible for a physician-assisted suicide after a landmark case.

Gloria Taylor

Gloria Taylor

Gloria Taylor, a former Castlegar resident, can now legally ask  for a physician-assisted suicide after a B.C. Supreme Court judge struck down parts of Canada’s law banning the practice.

Taylor, who now lives in West Kelowna, suffers from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a debilitating and fatal neuro-degenerative disease.

The 64-year-old Taylor was born and raised in Castlegar and has lived over  half her life here. Her mother, Anne Fomenoff, still lives here.

“She is my biggest supporter,” said Taylor.

Taylor was one of  several plaintiffs represented by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCLA). “The court found that all their rights were infringed by the law,” said Grace Pestine, a lawyer for the BCLA.

“Gloria was the only person seeking to have a constitutional injunction for an assisted death by a physician.”

Taylor joined the lawsuit which was first filed in April of 2011.  “I  didn’t want to die a cruel and inhumane death. I know from the time of Sue Rodriguez  what a horrible death that ALS is. So I definitely didn’t want to die like that. When I heard that Civil Liberties was doing a case that’s when I decided to come on board,” said Taylor in  an interview Tuesday with the Castlegar News.

The case has been tough on Taylor but she is glad she persevered.

“It’s not been easy, physically, mentally it’s a lot to think about, that’s for sure and to get my head around,” she said.

When Taylor heard the decision, she was ecstatic.

“I was really, really happy that I had won and that I and hopefully down the road all Canadians won’t have to die with no dignity and we won’t have to die in extreme pain or agony of one kind or another,” she said.

“Basically, it will be my call if and when I decide to go that route. I won’t know until I’m there. I live one day at a time. That’s all I can do. I might be able to make it out the duration. Who knows?”