Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Leblanc case in Quebec - Further thoughts.

On October 31, René Duval, the lawyer for Ginette Leblanc submitted the notice of claim in Trois-Rivières Quebec, asking the Quebec Superior Court to overturn Section 241b of the Criminal Code in order for Mme Leblanc to die by assisted suicide. Ginette Leblanc lives with ALS.

The Notice of Claim in the Leblanc case stated that it was challenging the constitutionality of Section 241b of the Criminal Code, which is the assisted suicide act. It did not indicate openly indicate that it was challenging any other section of the Criminal Code. After reading the Notice of Claim, I was convinced that the Leblanc case was limited to Section 241b of the Criminal Code, but after speaking to Margaret Dore and after reading her commentary on the Leblanc case, I am convinced that the Leblanc case quietly seeks to legalize euthanasia.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) and Vivre dans la Dignité are seeking to co-intervene in the Leblanc case.

The Leblanc case appeared to be taking a less aggressive approach than the Carter case in British Columbia that is clearly trying to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada. Carter Talking Points. Carter was heard by Justice Lynn Smith in Vancouver BC from November 14 - December 16, 2011. EPC and EPC - BC co-intervened in the Carter case and made its legal presentation before Justice Smith on December 14.

Margaret Dore, the fabulous lawyer and elder abuse advocate from Seattle Washington, pointed out that Section 11 of the Leblanc Notice of Claim states:
11. Due to the physical limits, the plaintiff will not without the help of a health care professional and / or that of a person acting under the supervision of such business, obtain and / or administer medication and / or the necessary treatment (s) to end her life.
To administer medication, would constitute an act of euthanasia and not an act of assisted suicide.

The other point that Margaret makes, which was not missed by myself, is that Canada's assisted suicide act does not refer to physicians, therefore striking down Section 241b of the Criminal Code would grant anyone the right to assist the suicide of another.

The Leblanc case went further by stating in Section 11 that: "a person acting under the supervision of a health care professional" could assist the suicide. This traditionally includes family members.

In conclusion, it appears that if the Quebec court accepts the pleadings in the Leblanc case, that in fact they would be decriminalizing assisted suicide and they would be, under the cover of imprecise language, decriminalizing euthanasia.

If I am wrong, please make your case.

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