Friday, June 15, 2012

Quebec government establishes a legal committee for the purpose of allowing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide.

The Liberal Quebec government announced yesterday that it is creating a committee of legal experts to examine how euthanasia and assisted suicide could be allowed in Quebec, despite the fact that they are forbidden by the federal criminal code. The announcement was made during a joint press briefing by Minister of Health Yves Bolduc and Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Jean-Marc Fournier.

The comments by Minister Bolduc and Minister Fournier were made the day before Justice Lynn Smith had stated that she would be handing down her decision in the Carter case in BC, a case that seeks to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada.

Yves Bolduc
Minister Bolduc explained that a report recently released by the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity, which recommended that euthanasia be permitted in Quebec, was “well received” and motivated the move to find legal experts who would guide the implementation of its recommendations in Quebec. Bolduc also noted that the Select Committee was one of the most widely followed committees in Quebec history, and the one with the most briefs submitted.

Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier stated that the recommendations contained in the commission’s report had “juridical implications of fundamental import.” He asserted that the commission offered “rigorous conditions for obtaining medical aid in dying” and restated one of the recommendations of the Committee, namely that the attorney general of Quebec direct his various district attorneys to refuse to charge any doctor who commits an act of euthanasia in conformity with certain clearly-stated criteria.

A report published by Vivre dans la Dignité in Quebec in November 2011 found that the majority of the submissions to the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity were opposed to any change in the law. Linda Couture, the director of Vivre dans la Dignité stated concerning her research:
“The numbers are black and white. In the presentations to the Commission there was 99 per cent agreement that palliative care is the dignified choice Quebecers want available at the end of life. 
At the same time, 60 per cent of the submissions opposed any opening for euthanasia. The government’s democratic direction should be clear,” said Linda Couture, director of the nonpartisan, grass roots group, Living With Dignity. 
Couture said an exhaustive Living with Dignity independent analysis of the 427 oral presentations and written submissions to the Commission, shows a mere two per cent of the submissions support assisted suicide. 
Four per cent of those who made submissions did not have a clear position.
Only about a third of those who submitted to the commission were either somewhat or strongly in favor of euthanasia, Couture said: “This is a far cry from the inflated survey numbers often used in the media by advocates for legalizing or decriminalizing euthanasia in Quebec.” 
A further analysis of the content of the submissions of those who apparently favored euthanasia showed significant confusion between directly taking a patient’s life – outlawed under the Criminal Code – and ceasing futile treatment, which is universally acknowledged as ethical and proper.
It is clear from the analysis by Vivre dans la Dignité that the Quebec government needs to be reminded that most Quebecois don't actually support euthanasia or assisted suicide.

The Select Committee report recommended that a bill outlining the criteria by which doctors could kill their patients be presented in Quebec’s national assembly by no later than June 2013. 

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and Vivre dans la Dignité have asked to co-intervene in the Leblanc case in Quebec, a case that seeks to legalize assisted suicide in Quebec.

Link to the original article that was published by LifeSiteNews.

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