Euthanasia bill revived by Liberal government


mentalfloss
#1


Bill 52 revived by Liberal government

QUEBEC — In a highly-unusual move, Bill 52, An Act Respecting End-of-Life Care, which died on the order paper when the April 7 election was called, has been brought back in the new session of the Quebec National Assembly.

The bill, the result of five years of cross-party work, mostly between the Parti Québécois and the Quebec Liberals, but with active support from the Coalition Avenir Québec and Québec Solidaire — all four parties represented in the National Assembly — was recalled Thursday in a motion adopted unanimously.

And Jean-Marc Fournier, who as government house leader proposed the motion, added another innovation.

As a rule, a bill bears only the name of the minister who presents it, in this case Health Minister Gaétan Barrette.

But in recognition of her work, first in proposing committee hearings on the idea in 2009, when the PQ was in opposition, then acting as deputy chair of that committee and, as a PQ minister after the 2012 election, presenting it, Bill 52 will also bear the name of Véronique Hivon.

As a rule within the British parliamentary system, in force in Quebec, when an election is called, all legislation that has not been adopted dies, leaving the new government with a clean slate.

At a joint news conference Thursday, Barrette and Hivon, joined by CAQ MNA Sébastien Schneeberger and Amir Khadir, of Québec solidaire, expressed the hope Bill 52 would finally be passed in the short assembly session that began on Tuesday.

Barrette said the bringing back of Bill 52 was “a great day in the parliamentary life of Quebec.”

Hivon said the return of her bill, which gives Quebec residents over 18, capable of making choices, “a continuum of care” from palliative care to medical assistance to die, marks “another day of hope.”

Medical aid to die is only allowed in exceptional circumstances when a patient is suffering from an incurable serious illness, is in “an advanced state of irreversible decline” and is suffering “constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain which cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.”

The bill was in its third and final reading debate and was about four hours from passage when the Liberal opposition did not agree to a PQ proposal to continue the debate on Feb. 20, after the PQ budget was presented. That was the last sitting day of the 40th legislature.

Fournier explained that in bringing it back as it was Feb. 20, there will be about eight more hours of debate, allowing newly elected MNAs to have their say.

That debate would likely be next week or the following week, assuming a June 5 budget, which will preclude consideration of any other business before the June 13 adjournment as the budget becomes the only item on the assembly agenda.

Hivon said the Quebec population is “largely in favour” of Bill 52.

Barrette said he is confident the government would win court challenges on its validity.

“It’s their right to go ahead,” Barrette said. “But I’m not very worried.”

While Hivon was the legislator who pushed for the bill for five years, Barrette in his former role as president of the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec, also played a key role in advocating for its adoption.

Hivon described the minister as “one of the biggest fans of the bill.”

Barrette recalled that his federation and the Collège de médecins were very preoccupied with the problem of medical aid to die, which some considered a crime under Canada’s Criminal Code. Doctors said the issue was one they had to deal with “every day.”

Bill 52 gets around the Criminal Code by treating medical aid to die as a medical issue, within provincial jurisdiction.

Barrette said in 2009 that his federation and other medical associations ordered polls to find out what Quebecers thought, and found overwhelming support.

“It had to be done,” Barrette said. “It was the right thing to do.”

But some medical doctors and others with religious beliefs that ending a life is wrong remain opposed to Bill 52.

In a news release, two groups called Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia, which they say represent over 625 physicians and 17,000 citizens, denounced the re-introduction of Bill 52 and promised a legal challenge of the law’s constitutionality, arguing its aim is to “decriminalize euthanasia.”

Private radio stations have been carrying ads saying Bill 52 would allow lethal injections to end the lives of children. Barrette and Hivon noted medical aid to die is only open to persons 18 and over.

“It won’t happen,” Barrette said, when asked whether he would agree to medical aid to die for a 16-year-old who met the other conditions under the bill.

On second reading of Bill 52, half the 50-member Liberal caucus voted against it.

All parties say there will be a free vote on the bill. Hivon and Barrette said they are confident it will be adopted

Bill 52 revived by Liberal government
 
WLDB
+1
#2
Good, though it won't really go anywhere. They say they get around the criminal code but in practice the feds will go after them. So in practice I doubt this bill will do much aside perhaps spark more debate which I don't mind. I hope this bill or something similar to it does become law at some point everywhere in the country. That won't happen anytime soon, though who knows. Maybe it or something similar will come up in the election next year.

I do like that it will be a free vote. That will probably be far more representative than a whipped vote.

Those opposed - fine, don't take part or opt for it yourself. Let those who want it and those who want to help with it do it.
 
mentalfloss
#3
Liberals sparking a debate you say?
 
Sparrow
+5
#4  Top Rated Post
I hope this passes, it has been a long time coming. I don't believe anyone has a right to judge across the table that a terminal or suffering patient cannot decide on their own if they want to put an end to their life or not. That is between the patient, and if he is incapable his or her family, and the doctor.
 
Nuggler
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by SparrowView Post

I hope this passes, it has been a long time coming. I don't believe anyone has a right to judge across the table that a terminal or suffering patient cannot decide on their own if they want to put an end to their life or not. That is between the patient, and if he is incapable his or her family, and the doctor.


Specially when pain can't be controlled. They won't allow heroin as they don't want a terminally ill person to "become addicted"

Piss on them from a great height.

I have my exit plan.
 
QuebecCanadian
#6
So happy this is continuing on. Goes to show that a good idea is non-partisan...or all-partisan.

My mother died of pancreatic cancer. She knew she was going to die and would have appreciated the choice to go on her terms.
 
mentalfloss
#7
Why is Eurhanasia illegal in the first place?
 
QuebecCanadian
+3
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Why is Eurhanasia illegal in the first place?

Because there are too many self-appointed protectors of the masses who feel they know much better what is good for others. The opposers are worried that we will end up killing people at whim. It's ridiculous and alarmist. I suppose it's good to have those who will watch the progression of the law closely but to take away the rights of someone to be relieved of an inevitably painful and slow death is selfish.


Some seem to have a problem with the word euthanasia, but that's exactly what it is. Ending needless suffering....and it's about time!
 
mentalfloss
#9
I am definitely having a problem with the word today, hehe.

Yea, it seems a bit shocking that for a country that blankly (and justifiably) supports abortion, that we be so shortsighted on euthanasia.
 
Twila
+1
#10
It's odd that we don't let our pets suffer but we expect and allow for our human family members to suffer.

I guess the answer is that if you're terminal keep asking for morphine and the other end of life care drugs. They take longer but they do provide the end result. Here in BC in the palliative care units the patient is allowed to have what ever they want. You can smoke pot, you can drink til you pass out. You can have a friend bring you in heroin and do it. You've just got to make sure that you don't let anyone know which friend.
 
WLDB
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by TwilaView Post

You can have a friend bring you in heroin and do it. You've just got to make sure that you don't let anyone know which friend.

Well thats like everything everywhere else. Legal so long as you don't get caught.
 
Twila
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by WLDBView Post

Well thats like everything everywhere else. Legal so long as you don't get caught.

Sort of. If the intent is to off ones self, then it's illegal. If'n they accidentally take too much, it's an accident...You just want to make sure you're friend isn't charged with your death. Flaunting will get you jail time.

There are ways around...
 
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