June 22, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new grassroots group in Quebec is urging Quebecers to join the campaign to stop euthanasia and assisted suicide from being “smuggled” into the public health care system under the guise of medical treatment. Vivre dans la Dignité (Living with Dignity), a grassroots group network that officially launches its campaign on Tuesday, says that Quebecers must tell the Charest government that euthanasia and assisted suicide must be rejected as “unnecessary and dangerous.”
“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are killing, plain and simple. We cannot allow killing to be confused with health care in Quebec,” said Linda Couture, director of Living with Dignity.
Couture said the provincial government must direct its efforts and resources to offering Quebecers the best possible end of life care, including ready access to palliative care, rather than encouraging euthanasia and assisted suicide just to save money.
Dr. André Bourque, president of Living with Dignity, said that is a key point the organization will make in its submission to a travelling parliamentary commission that will hold hearings in late summer or early fall to hear the views of Quebecers on the issue.
Living with Dignity says, however, that it is concerned that the hearings may be a public diversion to rubber stamp a decision the Charest government has already made to permit euthanasia and assisted suicide in Quebec hospitals.
While euthanasia and assisted suicide are prohibited under the federal criminal code, the Charest Liberals could effectively legalize both forms of medical killing by directing provincial Crown prosecutors not to lay charges against doctors who end the lives of the terminally ill, elderly or profoundly disabled.
However, Dr. Marc Beauchamp said he believes it is important to assume the commission is acting in good faith and that euthanasia and assisted suicide can be stopped by public outcry.
Beauchamp, a prominent Montreal orthopedic surgeon, is an outspoken critic of the leadership of the Federation of Quebec Specialists and General Practitioners for what he calls their attempts to “manipulate” public opinion in favor of euthanasia and assisted suicide. He dismissed as “embarrassing rubbish” a much-publicized survey the federation of specialists released showing 75% of its membership supporting euthanasia and assisted suicide.
“The response rate to the specialists survey was only 23 per cent – less than the turnout for municipal elections on a matter that is of fundamental professional importance to doctors. The questions were so amateurishly biased that most of the doctors I know looked at it and refused to respond to such rubbish,” he said.
Dr. Bourque and Dr. Beauchamp are two of a number of doctors and citizens from diverse fields who have worked for the past year as an informal group concerned about what they label euthanasia “propaganda and misinformation.” Living with Dignity was formed when a broad cross-section of ordinary Quebecers, including business people, lawyers, pharmacists, and health care professionals expressed a need to expand the anti-euthanasia fight.
Living with Dignity network director Linda Couture stressed the group is politically nonpartisan, and is open to all who share its mission. She said it is focused solely on end of life issues.
“We realize euthanasia often gets included among other controversial social issues, but our entire concern is stopping euthanasia and assisted suicide by working to ensure that all Quebecers facing end of life have access to palliative care,” she said.