December 11, 2015
Status of Québec Euthanasia Law
We share with you the latest developments concerning the Québec euthanasia law. The following is a portion of the press release issued by the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition:
Status of Québec Euthanasia Law Remains in Flux
Press Release – December 10, 2015
On December 9, 2015 the Québec Court of Appeal granted permission for Québec to appeal a declaration rendered by the Québec Superior Court on December 1, 2015, which rendered inoperable the euthanasia provisions set out in the Québec euthanasia law, finding that they were in conflict with existing Criminal Code prohibitions against homicide.
The Court of Appeal made it clear that it was not making any decision on the merits of the case, but did note that the issues raised by the case are of significant public importance and should be addressed swiftly. A hearing has been scheduled for December 18, 2015 to address the appeal, putting in flux the status of the Québec law, which was to come into effect on December 10, 2015.
As such, a doctor in Québec can still be prosecuted if they participate in an act of euthanasia.
In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), found that existing laws against homicide and assisted suicide to be unconstitutional, but kept those laws in effect and gave Parliament one year to enact a new law that provides for a regime of effective oversight and safeguards.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) was an intervenor at all levels of court in the Carter case and is also an intervenor before the Québec Court of Appeal in D’Amico c. Procureure générale du Québec.
EPC’s position in the D’Amico litigation is that Québec’s euthanasia law goes beyond the jurisdiction of the Province of Québec and falls under the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada. The intentional killing of patients by doctors is not medical treatment or health care, and the lack of before the death oversight represents a fatal flaw in the proposed Québec law that puts the safety of the public at risk, contrary to s.7 of the Charter.
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