Alex Schadenberg interviewed by CTV news on Quebec euthanasia bill.
This morning Alex Schadenberg was interviewed by CTV Canada AM news. The some of the interview was then featured in a CTV news article that was written by Angela Mulholland and published on June 13, 2013. The whole interview is not published in the article.
The following is the published text of the interview:
Quebec is expected to hold public hearings this fall on its controversial right-to-die legislation, tabled Wednesday in the national assembly. But in many circles, the debate has already begun.
Quebec’s landmark bill would open the door to allowing terminally ill patients to have a doctor administer medication to cause death. If it passes, it would be the first legislation of its kind in Canada.
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are both illegal under Canada's Criminal Code, but the Quebec government says it has jurisdiction on the matter, because delivery of health-care services is a provincial responsibility.
Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, opposes the bill, saying what’s really needed in Canada is improvements to the country’s palliative-care system.
“People don’t want to be suffering or in significant pain and that’s what we should be looking at. That’s what palliative care is supposed to be and we need better palliative care,” he told CTV’s Canada AM, speaking from London, Ontario.
Quebec Social Services Minister Veronique Hivon said Wednesday she is confident Bill 52 will not trigger Criminal Code sanctions because the bill deals with Quebec’s responsibility in the area of health.
“There is nothing in the Criminal Code that deals specifically with an act to put an end to suffering in a medical context,” she said.
Schadenberg doesn’t agree this is a health issue. “Euthanasia is taking the life of a person; it’s not about withdrawing treatment or pulling a plug, it’s about actually injecting someone with a lethal dose. How could that be health care?” he said.
Federal Attorney General Rob Nicholson said Ottawa would review the implications of the proposed legislation, but noted that “a large majority” of parliamentarians voted not to change Canada’s assisted suicide laws in 2010.
Hon. Rob Nicholson
“The laws that prohibit euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are potentially the most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly, and people with disabilities,” he said in a statement.
“This is a sensitive issue for many Canadians, with deeply held beliefs on both sides of the debate.”