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Quebec appeals ruling on euthanasia law

MONTREAL – Quebec is prepared to go to court over its controversial euthanasia law.

On Tuesday, Quebec Superior Court judge Michel Pinsonnault suspended the law, called Dying With Dignity, which was supposed to take effect Dec. 10.

READ MORE: A look at right-to-die laws around the world

The judge rejected an injunction request by the Montreal-based Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice.

The group wants the law quashed on the grounds that it violates the Hippocratic oath.

READ MORE: Injunction fights Quebec’s right-to-die law

WATCH: Dying With Dignity debate in Quebec.

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But the judge went ahead and suspended the euthanasia law on his own, saying that some sections contradict Section 241 of the Criminal Code of Canada that reads as follows:

“Every one who (a) counsels a person to commit suicide, or (b) aids or abets a person to commit suicide, whether suicide ensues or not, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.”

READ MORE: What Supreme Court’s assisted suicide decision means for people in pain

This is something the Canadian government is expected to change by Feb. 2016 following a Supreme Court ruling endorsing euthanasia.

The judge said Quebec should wait until then before passing the bill, but Premier Philippe Couillard, a former doctor, denied that the Dying with Dignity law is about euthanasia.

READ MORE: Election 2015: Is Canada ready for physician-assisted death?

“We still maintain that it has nothing to do with the Criminal Code and nothing to do with euthanasia,” he said.

“It’s a care, it’s a way of alleviating people’s suffering at the end of their life and it’s done with a lot of safeguards.”

READ MORE: Family’s difficulty accepting death a barrier in end-of-life care: Canadian study

The province will appeal to have the ruling overturned.

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