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Update (July 18, 2014) - Quebec's new euthanasia law is being challenged in court. We are thankful that the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, have filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal. The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of Bill 52 that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a euphemism used to describe euthanasia. "Great civilizations are not murdered. They commit suicide." *For a thorough ethical, legal and medical critique of Quebec's euthanasia law, check out Dr. Margaret Somerville's brief to the Quebec Health Committee. Her brief is No. 053M. By Mark Penninga (www.ARPACanada.ca): These words are credited to the famed 20th Century historian Arnold Toynbee who wrote a 12-volume book set about the rise and fall of 26 civilizations. Toynbee's statement takes on a morbid new meaning when we see how Quebec is rushing to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. With reckless abandon, the province is throwing aside its moral grounding and forging ahead in search of a new identity. Those who thought that this was stalled in the recent election of a Liberal government can think again. Bill 52, reintroduced by the new Couillard government, will allow doctors to lethally inject their patients if they have physical or psychological pain. Because the bill was fast-tracked, it is possible that state-sanctioned killing is law in Quebec within a couple of weeks. Although Bill 52 was first introduced by the previous PQ government and died as a result of the recent election, the new Liberal government has quickly reintroduced it, with no substantial amendments. It then proceeded to move the bill to the same stage as it was prior to the election, which required unanimous, and likely coerced, approval from all MNAs. So why is this such a big deal? Bill 52 would cross a line that Canada has never crossed in its existence, at least for born humans.
As Quebec seeks to flout a federal ban on euthanasia by adopting its own law legalizing the practice, national organizations across Canada have banded together to oppose such a move through a Joint Statement. The Statement, released by LifeCanada, has been signed by 15 organizations, calling on Quebec to rescind Bill 52. The Statement asks lawmakers not only in Quebec, but also throughout the rest of Canada to attend to their duty of caring for the most vulnerable in society. It says Bill 52 would signal "a momentous shift in medical ethics and public policy." "We know that with the acceptance and legalization of [euthanasia] comes an immense loss of commitment to people's lives, a loss of incentive to provide quality end of life care, a weakening of the resolve of the health care profession to truly work for the benefit of patients, and an opening for abuse of the vulnerable who have no one to advocate for them," the Statement reads.
The Quebec provincial government has introduced legislation (Bill 52) that would legalize euthanasia in the province, even though the Criminal Code prohibits euthanasia and assisted suicide. ARPA Canada, and dozens of other organizations, made submissions to the Quebec committee that was tasked with studying the issue (find ours here). Sadly, it is clear that the committee had made up its mind even before it started its consultations. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has an excellent response to Bill 52 that destroys the rhetoric and exposes the bill for what it is...
Margaret Somerville, Globe and Mail, June 19 2013: So, you call your pet duck, which lives with you, a dog, because the law prohibits keeping a duck in your apartment, but allows dogs. A court will convict you for breaking the law. Now you are the Quebec provincial government and you table a bill in which you call euthanasia, which is prohibited as murder under the Canadian Criminal Code, “medical aid in dying” (MAD) and claim it is medical treatment. You define “end-of-life care” as including MAD and you pass...