With the approach of the fateful date inaugurating the controversial Act Respecting End-of-life Care, on December 10, we have learned that Ontario and British Columbia are open to a federal government extension request to formulate its law following the Supreme Court judgement on the decriminalization of assisted suicide in Canada.
Given the attitude of these two provinces, patient and respectful of the Canadian Criminal Code, we are entitled to ask ourselves the question: why is Quebec so eager to implement a law that would legalize euthanasia in its territory even before the federal government reaches its conclusions on this issue?
The feeble argument used by the Quebec government to pass the law before the Carter decision comes into effect - "it is not euthanasia because of the medical setting" – holds up as badly as a crowded minibus on the road to Ouagadougou.
Unfortunately, this defiant attitude of our politicians will soon put Quebec doctors and healthcare institutions in situations where they will commit or sanction acts that are legally liable to prosecution.
Indeed, despite its camouflage of "medical aid in dying," euthanasia remains legally and constitutionally prohibited under Canadian criminal law, and this situation will still prevail on December 10th. Moreover, the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) wrote on its website that until the Carter decision comes into effect, "the CMPA’s advice to Québec members is the same as to members in the rest of the country — the law currently continues to prohibit anyone from counselling, aiding, or abetting a person to commit suicide”.
The minimum of respect would require that Quebec await the legal conclusion of the Carter decision. And if it refuses to postpone its target date, the Quebec government will place itself in a position completely at odds with the desire for a new federal-provincial collaboration democratically expressed in the last election.
Moreover, if it manages to pass a law whose foundation betrays the Canadian Constitution under the disguise of nice sounding words, Quebec would confirm the victory of euphemisms in our society.
Ironically, it would thus impose its ideology while exposing itself to the risks of a constitutional war with the federal government, which it could avoid by taking into account the scientific medicine principle that it is prepared to overturn with its "medical aid in dying ": the benefit must outweigh the risk.Share