By Georges Buscemi
Nearly 2000 people converged on the Quebec Capital on a brilliant spring Saturday afternoon to March against a government plan to legalise euthanasia in the province. Called the “Springtime March”, the event attracted euthanasia opponents from all corners of the province to protest the Parti québécois government’s proposal to allow “medical aid in dying” –the direct and intentional killing of a patient—under certain conditions. Junior minister Veronique Hivon indicated at the beginning of the year that she would table a bill legalizing the deadly practise before the province’s parliament adjourned for the summer.
The March participants assembled on the historic Plains of Abraham, where they heard speeches delivered by a vast array of Quebec euthanasia opponents including Amy Hasbrouck of Not Dead Yet, an organisation defending the rights of disabled people, and Dr. Patrick Vinay, former dean of medicine at the University of Montreal and palliative care expert. Also present were Dr. Catherine Ferrier representing Physicians Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia, Linda Couture of the Living with Dignity Network and Louis-André Richard, a philosophy professor, bioethics expert and spokesperson for the Quebec Rally against Euthanasia.
Organised by the Quebec Rally Against Euthanasia – an ad hoc group headed by Dr. Claude Morin, an emergency-room doctor in Quebec City – the March was firmly backed by the province’s Catholic bishops.
At the close of the event Dr. Claude Morin stated that he hoped that the day’s message would make it to the ears of the PQ government, but that in the event that the bill would nonetheless be tabled, he invited the assembled crowd to return for a second protest.