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Justice Minister Peter MacKay responds to a question in the House of Commons on Feb. 6, 2015.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay appears to be ruling out using the notwithstanding clause to override a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision that paves the way for doctor-assisted suicide.

MacKay told The Canadian Press that the government is looking at existing private member's bills and what other governments are doing and will also consult widely before responding to the ruling.

The unanimous decision gave federal and provincial governments 12 months to draft charter-compliant legislation that would allow doctors to help people die or face having no law at all.

But the government also has the right to use the notwithstanding clause, a section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms allowing Parliament or a legislature to override certain judicial rulings.

When asked whether that could be the route the government takes, MacKay said, "Don't count on it."

No federal government has ever invoked the clause.

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