Monday, 17 June 2013

Quebec euthanasia bill (Bill 52) a short overview.

Alex Schadenberg comments on the introduction of a euthanasia bill into the Quebec parliament:

By Alex Schadenberg
International Chair, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

On June 14, the Quebec national assembly introduced Bill 52: An Act respecting end-of-life care to legalize euthanasia in Quebec.

Euthanasia is an action or omission that is directly and intentionally done to cause the death of another person, to eliminate suffering. Euthanasia is a form of homicide.

Yes, Bill 52 legalizes euthanasia, even though media reports and other groups continue to refer to it as assisted suicide.

In order to avoid the issue of jurisdiction with the federal Criminal Code the Quebec government defined euthanasia as health care and they claim that euthanasia, that they refer to as “medical aid in dying,” is part of the continuum of palliative care.

The federal Justice Minister, Hon Rob Nicholson responded to the Quebec euthanasia bill by stating: 

“The Government of Canada will review the implications of Quebec’s proposed legislation on physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. 
“The laws that prohibit euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are potentially the most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly, and people with disabilities. 
 “In April 2010, a large majority of Parliamentarians voted not to change these laws, which is an expression of democratic will on this topic. 

The Quebec euthanasia Bill 52 is a masterful example of false claims.

The Quebec government claims that there are no laws prohibiting euthanasia in Canada. Section 222 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada states:
“A person commits homicide when directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being.”

Euthanasia is the direct killing of a human being, usually by lethal injection.

Contrary to what the Quebec government states, Bill 52 does not limit euthanasia to terminally ill people. The bill states in Section (26) that a person meets the criteria for medical aid in dying (euthanasia) when: (2) suffers from an incurable serious illness.

Bill 52 does not define the prognosis of the person. In the State of Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, a person must be within 6 months of death.

There are many incurable serious illnesses that are in fact chronic conditions where the person is not imminently dying, but may eventually die from the condition. Type 2 Diabetes for example.

Bill 52 legalizes a form of homicide (euthanasia) under the guise of “medical aid in dying.”

Bill 52 is a very dangerous piece of legislation. 

The Quebec government must abandon its intention to legalize euthanasia and recommit itself to providing the best palliative and long-term care for its citizens.

1 comment:

  1. NB : Link between the economy (finance) and euthanasia

    Robert Evans, a professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, recognizes that non-voluntary euthanasia would be a way to improve the country's finances, but believe that it would NOT BE THE BEST WAY:

    "I would not suggest that the best way to improve the fiscal situation of Canada is to introduce a non-voluntary program of euthanasia for people over the age of 70".

    Source: Senate of Canada, Special Senate Committee on Aging , IMPLICATIONS OF AN AGING SOCIETY IN CANADA, Testimony of Mr. Robert Evans, December 10 2007, p.2: 34 , online:

    In its predictions and foreseeable scenarios for the years 2007 to 2036, the " Development, Concepts and Doctrine Center " ( DCDC ) of the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom stresses that euthanasia of the elderly could become the political instrument to serve the young to reduce the economic burden of care for the elderly. I quote:

    « Declining youth populations in Western societies could become increasingly dissatisfied with their economically burdensome ‘baby-boomer’ elders, among whom much of societies’ wealth would be concentrated. Resentful at a generation whose values appear to be out of step with tightening resource constraints, the young might seek a return to an order provided by more conservative values and structures. This could lead to a civic renaissance, with strict penalties for those failing to fulfil their social obligations. IT MIGHT ALSO OPEN THE WAY TO POLICIES WHICH PERMIT EUTHANASIA AS A MEANS TO REDUCE THE BURDEN OF CARE FOR THE ELDERLY ».

    Source : United Kingdom, Ministry of Defence, Development, Concepts and Doctrine Center, The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme : 2007-2036, 3d ed., 2007 à la p.79, en ligne :

    See also:

    Japan is considering euthanasia as a solution to the economic burden posed by population aging on society.

    See the following article : Annabel Claix , "A Japanese minister asks its citizens to die , and quickly" (January 22 2013) , online:

    Already in 1958, Glanville Williams , who was vice-president of the "Voluntary Euthanasia Society" and regarded as "Britain's foremost scholar of criminal law", stated :

    "Kamisar expresses distress at a concluding remark in my book in which I advert to the possibility of old people becoming an overwhelming burden on mankind. I share his feeling that there are profoundly disturbing possibilities here ; and if I had been merely a propagandist, intent upon securing agreement for a specific measure of law reform, I should have done wisely to have omitted all reference to this subject. Since, however, I am merely an academic writer, trying to bring such intelligence as I have to bear on moral and social issues, I deemed the topic too important and threatening to leave without a word".

    Source: Glanville Williams, « "Mercy- Killing" Legislation - A Rejoinder » (1958) 43 (1) Minn . L. Rev . 1 p.11 .

    Eric Folot
    Lawyer and bioethicist