QUEBEC CITY – Five years and two governments ago, Ghyslain Leblond pleaded for a chance to die with dignity.
Leblond suffers from multiple sclerosis. He said that he’s a prisoner in his own body, and when the time comes, he’s hoping someone will help him put an end to his suffering.
His testimony touched MNAs, who have continued, year after year, to shape and mould what would become Bill 52.
In a truly unusual move, the Liberals are now recalling the bill, from the previous Parti Quebecois government.
“The impact is to empower each and every one of us to decide, when we’re at the end of our life, to decide exactly how that life will end,” said Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette.
Exceptionally, the bill is co-authored by Barrette and PQ MNA Véronique Hivon.
“Today is a day of hope,” she said, for democracy, for parlementarism and the severely ill.
To qualify for medical aid to die, patients must be over 18 and suffering from an incurable disease, causing constant unbearable pain.
They have to be lucid and ask freely, in writing, for medical assistance.
The re-tabling of the bill hasn’t gone unnoticed. Dr. Marc Beauchamp from the Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia said on Friday that he will challenge it in court.
“Bill 52 promotes euthanasia,” he told Global News.
The Alliance and Living with Dignity said that they represent 625 physicians and 17,000 citizens.
“It’s their right to go ahead and take that action if they want but I’m not worried at all that it will be revoked in any way,” said Barrette.
Quebec is going around the Criminal Code by treating medical aid to die as a medical issue and therefore within provincial jurisdiction.
There are eight hours of debate left before MNAs pass the bill for implementation in 2015.
Timeline Quebec politics
Rania El-Alloul has filed a challenge after being denied access to courts when she tried to get her car out of an impound lot. But can she win? Read
Lawyers are seeking clarification about the rights of Quebecers who want access to justice while wearing religious attire after Rania El-Alloul was was refused her day in court by a judge because she was wearing a hijab. Read
The lawyer for Quebec prison escapee Francis Boucher is appealing to his client to surrender as quickly as possible. Read
The Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire has finally agreed to restore transportation for a disabled patient who needs lifesaving treatment three times a week. Read
After an outpouring of support, a crowdfunding site has been set up to help a single father in Ile-Perrot get access lifesaving treatment. Read
A crowdfunding campaign in support of a Quebec woman who was refused her day in court because she was wearing a hijab has raised just over $40,000 in 24 hours. Read
The Court of Quebec is standing by the decision of one of its judges who refused to hear a woman’s case unless she removed her Islamic headscarf. Read