Saturday, September 10, 2011

Quebec woman wants to strike down assisted suicide law

Ginette Leblanc, a Quebec woman who lives with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is challenging Canada's law that protects vulnerable people from assisted suicide.

An article written by Marianne White and published in postmedia news reports that Leblanc, along with her lawyer Rene Duval, intend to bring their case to the Supreme Court of Canada, in the same way as the BC Civil Liberties Association (Carter case) is also challenging our laws that protect people from being directly and intentionally killed.

Leblanc and her lawyer, Duval, intend to challenge through the Quebec court the laws that protect Canadians from assisted suicide in a similar manner as the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) Carter case is attempting to do in BC.

The Leblanc case has not been filed yet, so we do not know how wide the Leblanc case will be, but the BCCLA Carter case is attempting to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide through the court.

Duval, who is representing Leblanc free of charge, is an experienced human rights lawyer and litigator who also represented convicted terrorist Said Namouh believes that a lot has changed since the Supreme Court ruled against Rodriguez in a controversial 5-4 decision.

Duval is working on filing an application on behalf of Leblanc to the Quebec Superior Court to invalidate section 241b of the Criminal Code, which makes assisted suicide illegal.

Duval expects the case to be dismissed, leading to a hearing before the Quebec Court of Appeal and possibly the Supreme Court of Canada. He said:

"I don't expect any court to issue a decision that would contradict Rodriguez. Only the Supreme Court of Canada can re-examine this issue,"

The postmedia news article suggested that if the country's highest court chooses to address the matter again, it is likely the B.C. and Quebec cases will get rolled into one.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is concerned about the fear that Ginette Leblanc has for her future, but with proper care and a supportive community Ginette can have a good and dignified death.

The reality is that the fears of Leblanc do not justify the courts removing protections for vulnerable Canadians from being directly and intentionally killed by their physicians by lethal injection or lethal dose especially when we consider the scourge of elder abuse and the negative societal attitudes towards people with disabilities and the experience of legal euthanasia in the Netherlands and Belgium and the concerns related to assisted suicide in Oregon should ensure that the courts do not impose euthanasia and assisted suicide upon Canada.

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