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Quebec government wins challenge on assisted-dying law, Report
Quebec government wins challenge on assisted-dying law, Report

Quebec government wins challenge on assisted-dying law, Report

Quebec can proceed with its dying with dignity law because the Criminal Code provisions banning assisted suicide are invalid, the province’s top court ruled Tuesday.

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a lower court decision aimed at suspending implementation of the province’s assisted-dying legislation.

My reaction is joy, and a lot of emotion because collectively Quebecers have been working on this issue for six years,” said PQ MNA Véronique Hivon, often referred to as the “mother” of the right-to-die legislation in Quebec. “We did it respectfully, we did it all of us together at the National Assembly and we did it mostly with the population, in tuned with the social consensus.”

On Tuesday, Quebec’s top court overturned a lower-court judgment aimed at suspending implementation of the law because of possible conflicts with certain provisions of the Criminal Code.

The legislation, which outlines how terminally ill patients can end their lives with medical help, was adopted by members of the National Assembly in June 2014 and became law Dec. 10.

A Quebec Superior Court justice ruled in favour last month of a group of doctors who were seeking to postpone implementation of the law until at least February.

“There was a lot of frustration when that court decision came down and planted a doubt regarding the application of the law,” Hivon said. “Today, the decision is clear: The court recognizes Quebec’s jurisdiction and our medical aid to die law fully applies.”

Hivon said she is happy the law guarantees Quebecers access to palliative care, and gives those suffering from unbearable pain the option to die with dignity.

“What is heartening is that people who are sick, people who are at the end of their lives, people for whom we wrote this law now have this exceptional option of requesting medical aid to die if their suffering becomes intolerable,” she said.

Agencies/Canadajournal




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