Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Medical aid in dying: the Quebec Court of Appeal judgment does not end the dispute


Today, the Quebec Court of Appeal declared that the Criminal Code provisions "that prohibit medical aid in dying cannot by themselves prevent the entry into force and implementation" of the provisions of the Act respecting end-of-life care related to medical aid in dying since they were declared invalid by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter decision (at para. 44). We take note of this decision but we still deplore this choice as an answer to end-of-life suffering.

It should be noted that the Appeal Court took care to mention that if the Federal Parliament "adopts a valid federal law on medical aid in dying that applies in Quebec, it will be necessary to review the provisions of the Act respecting end-of-life care related to medical aid in dying to determine if they are in conflict ... "(at para. 44).

Thus, the judgment of the Court of Appeal notes "that the respondents will be able to continue to challenge before the Superior Court the substantive constitutional validity of the provisions of the Act respecting end-of-life care related to medical aid in dying for the other reasons they raise in their amended originating motion "(at para. 45), in particular because it is a matter that falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament's criminal law.

The Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia will continue to promote the quality and availability of good health care for all; we will continue our work to ensure the protection of human life, especially for people in vulnerable situations; we will continue our mission for the recognition of the dignity of all citizens of our country until natural death; and we will continue to defend the right of doctors and health care providers to refuse to practice medical aid in dying or to collaborate in any way. 

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition intervened in this case at the Québec Court of Appeal.

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