Friday, March 17, 2023

Quebec Bill 11 to permit euthanasia by advanced request.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A CBC radio program (french) by Davide Gentile & Daniel Boily reported on February 16.2023 that more than 7% of Québec deaths were done by (MAiD) euthanasia in 2022 representing more than 5,000 people dying by euthanasia, as compared to less than 1,000 deaths five years ago.

The CBC radio program reported that based on the data, the Commission on End-of-Life Care launched a consultation to research why Québec may have the highest rate of euthanasia in the world (British Columbia may have a higher euthanasia rate but the data is not available).

At the same time, Québec's legislature is debating Bill 11 which further expands their euthanasia law. Bill 11, among other changes, will permit euthanasia by advanced request (by advanced directive) in Québec. 

Bill 11 extends euthanasia by advanced request. Bill 11 states:
this Act allows the exercise of some of those rights by patients who are not at the end of life so that they receive end-of-life care in cases where their condition requires it.”
Bill 11 defines the act in the following manner and states:
Such a request is called a “contemporaneous request for medical aid in dying” or “contemporaneous request” where it is made with a view to an administration of such aid that is contemporaneous to the request. It is called an “advance request for medical aid in dying” or “advance request” where it is made in anticipation of a person becoming incapable of giving consent to care, with a view to an administration of such aid after the onset of that incapacity.
The only good news is that Bill 11, unlike the federal legislation, specifically excludes euthanasia for mental illness alone. Bill 11 states:
"a mental disorder other than a neurocognitive disorder is not considered to be an illness."
The federal report by the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying (AMAD) was tabled in the House of Commons on February 15 calling for an expansion of euthanasia (MAiD) in Canada. The report recommended that children "mature minors" and patients with mental illnesses be eligible for euthanasia and that patients with illnesses such as dementia be permitted to make advanced requests by advanced directives for euthanasia.

Bill 11 is Québec's unique way of pushing the legislative agenda by permitting euthanasia by advanced request before the federal government acts on the report.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urges you to write a short commentary on Bill 11 and submit it to the Québec legislation (Link to comment). Even if you fear that your comments will be ignored, it is important to oppose killing.

Euthanasia (killing) is bad enough, but killing by advanced consent changes the nature of consent, meaning, someone can be killed without a clear and present consent. When consent becomes secondary, it changes the question of who can be killed by lethal injection.

Many people may not be aware that Canada has two euthanasia laws, the federal law which legalized euthanasia by creating an exception to homicide in the criminal code and the Québec law, that only applies to Québec, and considers euthanasia as medical treatment. Québec is known for asserting its provincial constitutional powers and having unique regulations.

Bill 11 reminds us that provincial governments have the ability to amend the practise of euthanasia in their jurisdiction. For instance, the federal government has legalized euthanasia for mental illness alone and Québec is specifically excluding it.

1 comment:

P. O'Brien said...

"...that they receive end-of-life care in cases where their condition requires it." And who decides that the condition requires it? Ominous.