This video presents the testimonies of Jean Vanier and of Balfour Mount against euthanasia and Bill 52, as well as those of Marc Beauchamp, Geneviève Dechêne, Caroline Girouard, Michel Racicot and Nicolas Steenhout.
While the Quebec MNAs are getting ready to vote within the next few days on Bill 52 which aims to legalise euthanasia under the term « medical aid in dying », the real humanity experts are giving out serious words of caution: offering and giving death intentionally to a person by injecting a poison in them will never be a medical treatment, but a grave treason of the sick and dying.
Jean Vanier, founder of l'Arche – with its 150 communities in 40 countries, which welcome people living with a handicap – clearly denounces euthanasia as a crime. He appeals to our humanity in order to refuse any legalisation of euthanasia; we have to, he affirms, relearn how to accompany vulnerable people for our society to be really humane.
Doctor Balfour Mount, founder of palliative care in North America and world expert in the accompaniment of the dying, qualifies as a grave error the eventual legalisation of euthanasia. He insists: palliative care can take control of all the patients` pain and suffering while the legalisation of euthanasia would really put in danger all weakened and vulnerable people. The security and protection of all citizens is essential, it has always had precedence on the individual right in public health.
Euthanasia is at our doorstep, but we still have the ability – for humanity`s sake – to forbid it from entering.
Transcription - Integral Version
The MNAs who will vote in a few weeks to adopt Bill 52 or not will probably take the most important decision of their careers. Because at the end of their decision, they will take part in a chain of events which could bring about homicides.
I`ve been working as a family doctor for the past 32 years in Verdun, located south-west of Montreal. I`ve been doing palliative care at home for over 20 years. I refuse to see the law, Bill 52, I refuse this bill. It insults me and it surprises me, because it rehashes, in fact, more concisely the essentials of the excellent end-of-life health politics from 2004. The minister has already doted itself with a superb 94-page policy which explores in detail the medical services, nursing and other for dying patients in Quebec. For the past 10 years this policy has been signed but is tabled, and Quebecers haven`t seen a shadow of a change at the front lines of end-of-life. And now we`re proposing a new law which repeats for the palliative care what has already been so well done. I don`t understant why. And they added on euthanasia.
I am thankful to be able to contribute to this crucial discussion. I`m talking to you as a doctor who has been at the bedside of dying people at the Royal Victoria hospital for the past 40 years. But I also speak to you as a patient of cancer, having had a tracheostomy, which explains the breathing noises. Sorry for that.
Firstly, intentionally killing the patient has never been accepted as a medical act since the age of Hippocrates, 2400 years ago.
Secondly, the legalisation of euthanasia puts in danger the most vulnerable people among us : the elderly, the handicaped, those who cannot speak up for themselves, those who fear that they are become deadweight to their relatives; the most vulnerable are put into danger when euthanasia is legalised.
Because of that it is easy to become discouraged. Everyone becomes discouraged at one point or another, and we can really get seriously discouraged. And when we become discouraged, we become vulnerable. Me, in my own experience, I know that five years ago if someone had told me «listen, euthanasia is available», I probably would have done it.
For the past 50 years now, I`ve been living with people who are very weak, fragile, with handicaps which are sometimes very serious. Some cannot walk nor talk. And I believe that I can say that these are people who teach us what it is to love. That life is something precious. And in my community over many years, as you can very well imagine, there are many people who have died. We want to accompany them, to be with them until the last minute. We are by the very fact...There is no question of euthanasia. It`s like a sort of wound, a crime.
Thirdly, it`s not necessary because we are able to control pain and thanks to palliative care and a qualified team, we are able to minimize physical, psychological, social, spiritual and existential suffering. And if there`s an exception, palliative sedation is legal, it`s part of palliative care and doesn`t require any type of legislative change.
If, since the diagnosis, or at the end of a metastatic disease, we introduce the option of death upon request, those patients who initially had the idea of ending their lives or of wanting someone to end their lives, those patients won`t come back to the external clinic. Those patients there won`t have the chance to meet the team in palliative care, won`t have the chance to change their minds because they will have died earlier. I`m worried about those patients.
And fourthly, there is the whole question of our desire for control -- the idea that at least I can control when I die and the feeling of which will reduce my anxiety because the unknown increases the anxiety that inhibits our adaptation mechanisms. So I will feel more in control. I want to underlign, that over the ages, there has developped a general consensus relating as to whether the rights of society trump the rights of the individual. Thus, when an individual is infected with a contagious disease, he is put under quarantine because the rights of society trump the rights of the individual. It is the same with this (euthanasia and the necessary protection of vulnerable people). I believe that it would be a catastrophic error to legalise euthanasia in Quebec and in Canada.
I find indecent that we propose to dying Quebec patients that we kill them instead of take care of them. I`m asking the MNAs who will vote on this law, I ask you to vote in favour of caring for our dying patients and not for euthanasia. The act of killing a patient who is dying is not a treatment, it`s a murder.
As a doctor I refuse to participate in any way either by proposing or in giving death to a single sick person.
And especially, we must avoid at all cost any legislation to kill people, to legislate euthanasia. But for that, our society must change. We must discover to a greater degree the accompaniment of the weak. Being with the weak, to discover that a society is not humane, really humane unless the weakest have their place among us. And the weakest of the weak, yes, are those with serious handicaps, but also those who are progressing to the end of their lives in a natural way.
A suicide is a tragedy and nevertheless there are about 1000 suicides a year in Quebec. « You are important for us, Suicide is not an option », that is the message that the government of Quebec gives us in its campaign against suicide. But the messages you are giving us are contradictory.
The Ménard report, written to put into action the recommendations for the adoption of medical aid in dying, sums it up well for us : « The interest of the State to preserve life diminishes towards the end of life... » That is the real message for the elderly. That is the real message for the suffering : « You can bring us no profit. You cost us too much. So we will help you to go. »
We want to prevent the MNAs from making that mistake. Let palliative care build itself up to where it should be. Let medicine really treat people. And let us stop calling « medical aid » what is in fact an injection to kill someone. Quebecers do not deserve to be given the option by their government that they supply a doctor to kill them. Quebecers deserve all the protection, they deserve to be protected until the end of their lives, even if they are really sick. Because each person is important in Quebec. Until the end of his life.Share