MONTREAL, QC February 21, 2014 – The delay in the passage of Quebec’s Bill 52, which would allow euthanasia in certain circumstances, gives individuals and groups on both sides of the issue time to reflect on better ways to provide better end-of-life care both in Quebec and elsewhere, the Catholic Civil Rights League said today.
The bill failed to pass before a scheduled two-week break, reportedly because the opposition Liberals want to wait until later in March to continue the debate. Given the level of interest, however, there is no doubt that the bill will be back, and probably similar proposals elsewhere.
“We should use this time to discuss and implement improvements both in the quality of, and access to palliative care,” said CCRL Executive Director Joanne McGarry. “While polls show fairly strong support for some degree of euthanasia and assisted suicide, much of this is likely attributable to the lack of alternatives to institutional care at the end of life, as well as fear of a needlessly protracted and painful death. Rather than opening the door to legalized killing, which is likely to lead to pressure on the frail elderly, disabled and other vulnerable persons, we need to put better palliative care options in place.”
It is also a direct challenge to constitutional law when a province attempts to circumvent the Criminal Code, which is where Canada’s ban on euthanasia and assisted suicide is addressed. The last time Parliament voted on euthanasia, in 2010, it rejected it resoundingly by 228 to 59, and it is in Parliament, not the provinces, that any such vote must take place.
A motion to improve palliative care standards was introduced by MP Charlie Angus (NDP – Timmins James Bay) in October. It calls for a Canada-wide palliative and end-of-life care strategy in conjunction with the provinces and territories that would, among other things, aim to ensure that all Canadians have access to high quality home-based and hospice end-of-life care, and provide more support for family caregivers, improve the quality and consistency of home and hospice palliative care, and encourage Canadians to discuss and plan for such care.
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Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244; firstname.lastname@example.org