The decision to include people with disabilities could jeopardize the consensus on expanding medical euthanasia. Opposition parties assert that this route was never considered, but Quebec says it has no choice.
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The health minister presented his bill on Wednesday, which will make it possible to request medical assistance in advance at the time of death, especially for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Thus, a person who would receive a diagnosis could determine at what stage of the disease they wished to end their life, even if they were no longer able to consent to it.
” Surprise “
With just over two weeks of parliamentary work to go before the end of the legislature, opposition parties have agreed to work together for a speedy passage, as many factions have already been heard during previous work by a bipartisan commission.
However, they denounce the immediate addition of a possibility for a disabled person (tetraplegia, cerebral palsy, amputation after an accident, etc.) to receive medical assistance when dying. In this case it would be a “simultaneous” and unforeseen request.
“Disability is an issue that has never been discussed in Quebec,” said PQ MNA Véronique Hivon, who is often credited as the “godmother” of the first end-of-life care law.
“We didn’t see the possibility of people with a neuromotor disability receiving medical euthanasia coming. It wasn’t in our report,” added solidarity Vincent Marissal.
For Ms. Hivon, this important addition makes it “extremely difficult” for the bill to be passed by the end of the parliamentary session, since disability organizations will have to be consulted.
Liberal David Birnbaum also describes this new aspect as a “major obstacle” to the passage of the bill. He believes that consensus on the issue has not yet been demonstrated in Quebec.
Harmonization with Ottawa
But Minister Christian Dubé assures that he had no choice but to go in that direction after the Carter and Truchon judgments ended the reasonably foreseeable death and end-of-life criteria.
“We want to respond to federal laws because we’re often in a position for doctors that’s a little out of whack. They said, “We have to choose between the federal government and Quebec,” he explained.