MONTREAL, March 23, 2012 – The Quebec legislature has received the report of the Select Committee on Dying with Dignity, which recommends the limited legalization of euthanasia among its recommendations for end-of-life care. The report of the all-party committee, which follows two years of hearings and more than 400 submissions, including some from CCRL Quebec members, also calls for improvements to palliative care both in institutions and within the home.
“We support the recommendations for better palliative and other end-of life care, since it’s widely acknowledged to be inadequate,” said Joanne McGarry, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League. “However, making any euthanasia legal, even with the proposed safeguards and restrictions, diminishes the inherent sanctity of life and could lead to pressure on the disabled, the frail elderly and other vulnerable populations. Liberalizing euthanasia could also put pressure on the religious and conscientious freedom of doctors and other medical professionals who are pro-life.”
Although euthanasia falls under the federal Criminal Code, the committee recommended that the provincial government introduce legislation to make its recommendations law by June 2013. The report could easily re-ignite national debate on the matter, which has been the subject of parliamentary hearings and several private members’ bills. The most recent, introduced by Francine Lalonde of the Bloc Quebecois, was defeated by a vote of 228 to 59 in the House of Commons in 2010.
Medical aid to die endorsed, Montreal Gazette, March 23, 2012
Quebec bishops speak out against euthanasia proposal, Post Media, March 29, 2012