Policy design for human embryo research in canada: An analysis (part 2 of 2) [Book Review]

Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6 (3):351-365 (2009)
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Abstract

This article is the second in a two-part review of policy design for human embryo research in Canada. In the first article in 6(1) of the JBI , we explain how this area of research is circumscribed by law promulgated by the federal Parliament and by guidelines adopted by the Tri-Agencies, and we provide a chronological description of relevant policy initiatives and outcomes related to these two policy instruments, with particular attention to the repeated efforts at public consultation. This second article analyses the history of policy design for human embryo research in Canada, applying a typology of modes of public consultation developed by Eric Montpetit to better understand the various episodes of policy design and their corresponding outcomes. On this basis, we suggest that the degree to which the views of Canadian residents and citizens on human embryo research have been solicited as part of the policy-making process has diminished significantly over time. We also suggest that this diminished participation is likely to continue given the presence of powerful interest groups and policy communities “speaking for” Canadians. This raises interesting questions about the legitimacy of future policy initiatives for human embryo research in Canada.

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Françoise Baylis
Dalhousie University

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