reported a few days ago that assisted suicide legislation will soon be introduced in the Quebec parliament in spite of the fact that the National Government not only opposes assisted suicide but is moving in the courts to override a recent judgement that sought to strike down the existing prohibition. CBC News Canada
The National Government, based in Ottawa has full powers over the Canadian Criminal Code. Provincial Quebec cannot alter these laws through their parliament. But this has not stopped those whose bent it is, by hook or by crook, to see assisted suicide on the agenda.
The Quebecois refer to assisted suicide by the euphemistic term medical aid in dying which should give us a clue to how they intend to bypass national laws; by redefining assisted suicide as a form of medical treatment.
The CBC article discusses the situation as follows:
In a 2012 report, the chair and vice-chair of Quebec's Committee on Dying with Dignity said "given the large turnout at the hearings, it is clear that Quebecers were ready for this debate and felt it was important."
The committee recommended that the Quebec government amend relevant legislation to "recognize medical aid in dying as appropriate end-of-life care" if the patient seeking it meets certain criteria, including being an adult who is able to consent to treatment under the law.
A group of 500 Quebec doctors opposed the proposed bill, saying that helping patients to commit suicide was not medical treatment.
Dr. Paul Saba is the co-president of the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice and a vocal opponent of the proposed bill. He says that once a law is past in Quebec, there will be pressure to push patients towards euthanasia - particularly patients who don't have help from their families.
"Patients who don't get the appropriate support, who aren't surrounded, who don't get the medical care and support they need could very well make the decision to end their lives," said Saba. "When a bill is passed, people tend to use the bill, and the government tends to promote it."
Saba says he would not assist or refer any patient who expresses a wish to end his or her life, even if it means facing sanctions from the Quebec College of Physicians.
"This goes against many philosophical and moral codes. This also goes against the medical code," he said. "No matter what the college does to change the code, it cannot change what is wrong - and this wrong."
"There's going to be abuse."
Montreal's CTV News also covered the story and spoke with Dr Saba.
"I think most people are concerned about suffering. They don't want to suffer, and that's a real concern. We need to address that," said Paul Saba, president of the Coalition for Physicians for Social Justice and a vocal advocate against euthanasia.
Saba and his patient Frank Humphrey spoke out Wednesday against the controversial decision some make to end their lives with the assistance of doctors.
In the final stages of ALS, Humphrey's can't move or breathe on his own, but he is pain free, he said he wants to live and feels he still has plenty to give.
After months in the hospital, Humphrey is now at home, using a respirator and sleeping in his own bed for as long as he has left.
"Our 35th wedding anniversary is in August and that will be a wonderful time because we'll be together," said Daria Humphrey, his wife.
"No matter what the College (of Physicians) says, what the government says, it's wrong morally and it's wrong medically and there's going to be abuse," said Saba
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