Is it realistic to affirm that there is a consensus in Quebec in favour of Bill 52: An Act respecting end-of-life care? The answer is clear: NO! While the majority of people support palliative care, the question of "medical aid in dying" (a euphemism for euthanasia) meets a lot of opposition.
No medical consensus
- Over 600 physicians have joined the Physicians' Alliance against Euthanasia.
- 90% of physicians in palliative care oppose euthanasia.
- Dr. Balfour Mount, founder of palliative care in North America, states that it would be a "catastrophic mistake" to legalize euthanasia.
No consensus within the population
- More than 17,000 people have signed and support the Manifesto of Living with Dignity and of the Physicians' Alliance against Euthanasia.
- Looking at the submissions to the Special Committee on Dying with Dignity, 60% were AGAINST euthanasia, 34% FOR euthanasia, 2% for assisted suicide, and 99% IN FAVOUR of palliative care.
- During the special consultation and public hearings on Bill 52 before the Committee on Health and Social Services, 45% of those who presented did not support "medical aid in dying".
No consensus among people with disabilities
- In North America, all major disability rights groups oppose the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide.
No political consensus
- Half of the Liberal MNAs (25 of 49) as well as one MNA from the CAQ voted against the adoption of the principle of Bill 52, on October 29, 2013.
How could we talk of consensus
- When 70% of people in Quebec don't understand that "medical aid in dying" means the injection of a poison that rapidly causes death (Ipsos poll in September 2013).
- When over 90% of the physicians who spoke at the Special Committee on Dying with Dignity, individually or in formal or informal groups, were against euthanasia.
- When the Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens states that 74% of generalists are in favour of euthanasia, despite the fact that only 13% of their 8,000 members responded to their poll.
- When the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec states that 75% of specialists are in favour of euthanasia despite the fact that only 23% of their 9,000 members responded to their poll.
The only true consensus
- Everyone agrees that it is necessary to improve our health care system by making palliative care accessible for all those who require it in Quebec. This is the only true humane answer to the challenges posed by the end of life. Palliative care intends neither to hasten nor to postpone death, states the World Health Organization.