Quebec euthanasia law subject of court challenge


The recently-passed Bill 52 of the Quebec legislature that legalised euthanasia will be challenged in the Canadian Courts.

Alex Schadenberg Reports:


Montreal, July 17, 2014 - As announced when Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, was adopted, the citizen movement Living with Dignity (LWD) and the Physicians' Alliance against Euthanasia (the Alliance), representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, have today filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal. The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of An Act respecting end-of-life care that deal with "medical aid in dying", a euphemism used to describe euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The Alliance and LWD are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism "medical aid in dying". Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under the Criminal Code. It is a subject-matter which is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

In addition, the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, the Alliance and LWD request an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgement before the expected coming into force of the Act on December 10, 2015.

Sources: The citizen network Living with Dignity and the Physicians' Alliance against euthanasia.

For more information or to organize an interview, please contact:
Nicolas Steenhout
Director General, Living with Dignity
[email protected]