As Quebec seeks to flout a federal ban on euthanasia by adopting its own law legalizing the practice, national organizations across Canada have banded together to oppose such a move through a Joint Statement. The Statement, released by LifeCanada, has been signed by 15 organizations, calling on Quebec to rescind Bill 52.
The Statement asks lawmakers not only in Quebec, but also throughout the rest of Canada to attend to their duty of caring for the most vulnerable in society. It says Bill 52 would signal “a momentous shift in medical ethics and public policy.”
“We know that with the acceptance and legalization of [euthanasia] comes an immense loss of commitment to people’s lives, a loss of incentive to provide quality end of life care, a weakening of the resolve of the health care profession to truly work for the benefit of patients, and an opening for abuse of the vulnerable who have no one to advocate for them,” the Statement reads.
“Bill 52 has been modelled on Belgium’s law, but there have been gross abuses in that country, documented by the Canadian Medical Association Journal that should sound an alarm to the lawmakers of Canada,” said Natalie Sonnen, LifeCanada’s Executive Director.
The language of Bill 52 designates euthanasia as a medical act, subject to provincial and not federal law. Bill 52 uses terms like “medical aid in dying” and “terminal palliative sedation”, language meant to deceive the public. These terms refer directly to patient killing, acts that have always and with good reason been prohibited by the Criminal Code.
“With so much at stake, the Quebec Government owes the public honesty about what it is trying to do,” said Ms. Sonnen.
The Joint Statement encourages lawmakers to remain steadfast and support a path that uses both the tremendous gains of palliative care and the ethical defense of human dignity.
“An entirely different path of health care is possible,” reads the Statement, “one that is deeply compassionate, legitimate, that builds on past medical progress to deliver quality end of life care to all those in need, and that kills the pain without killing the patient. It is a path based on the premise that every person, no matter how ill or weak, has an inherent and irrevocable dignity. Indeed, it is this dignity that is the foundation and basis for all human rights.”
Among the signees of the Joint Statement are the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition British Columbia, Albatros Mont-Laurier (MRC Antoine-Labelle), Campagne Québec-Vie, and the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada.
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CONTACT: For more information, please contact Natalie Sonnen at 1-866-780-5433 or 778-239-0061, or Peter Ryan at 1-888-796-9600.
LifeCanada/VieCanada is a national, not-for-profit organization working to ensure respect and dignity for all Canadians.