QUEBEC CITY, May 20, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nearly 2000 people converged on the Quebec Capital on a brilliant spring Saturday afternoon to March against a government plan to legalise euthanasia in the province. Called the “Springtime March”, the event attracted euthanasia opponents from all corners of the province to protest the Parti québécois government’s proposal to allow “medical aid in dying” –the direct and intentional killing of a patient—under certain conditions. Junior minister Veronique Hivon indicated at the beginning of the year that she would table a bill legalizing the deadly practise before the province’s parliament adjourned for the summer.
Organised by the Quebec Rally Against Euthanasia – an ad hoc group headed by Dr. Claude Morin, an emergency-room doctor in Quebec City – the March was firmly backed by the province’s Catholic bishops, including Mgr. Noël Simard, newly appointed bishop of Valleyfield and member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. As head of the bioethics committee of the Quebec Bishop’s assembly, Simard had earlier this year penned a statement accusing the government of going down “a dangerous path” and questioned its intention to include “deliberately causing death” as part of health care. Also present were Archbishop Gérald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec City, Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal, and Paul-André Fournier, bishop of Rimouski and president of the Quebec Bishops’ Assembly.
The March participants assembled on the historic Plains of Abraham, where they heard speeches delivered by a vast array of Quebec euthanasia opponents including Amy Hasbrook of Not Dead Yet, an organisation defending the rights of disabled people, and Dr. Patrick Vinay, former dean of medicine at the University of Montreal and palliative care expert. Also present were Dr. Catherine Ferrier representing Physicians Alliance for Total Refusal of Euthanasia, Linda Couture of the Living with Dignity Network and Louis-André Richard, a philosophy professor, bioethics expert and spokesperson for the Quebec Rally against Euthanasia.
The Marchers then processed through Quebec City via the Grande Allée chanting slogans such as “killing is not care” and arrived before the Quebec National Assembly where speakers once again rallied the crowd. The crowd seemed especially appreciative of a speech by Hugh Scher of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, who affirmed that “dangerous lessons” ought to be learned from the legalisation of euthanasia in Holland and Belgium and that “each of us is at risk” when life becomes devalued.
At the close of the event Dr. Claude Morin stated that he hoped that the day’s message would make it to the ears of the PQ government, but that in the event that the bill would nonetheless be tabled, he invited the assembled crowd to return for a second protest.
As of the time of writing, the euthanasia bill has yet to be tabled, some indicating that it may even be presented later this fall.