Quebec euthanasia bill dies as government calls April election
QUEBEC, March 5, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Quebec Premier Pauline Marois’ decision to call an election Wednesday brought good news for the elderly, terminally ill and handicapped in the province as it killed Quebec’s controversial bill to legalize euthanasia.
But pro-life leaders say it’s no time get comfortable, but instead to regroup, because the bill is nearly assured to be reintroduced in the next legislature.
Georges Buscemi, president of Campagne Quebec-Vie, said the election call is “a set-back for the culture of death in Quebec, one we have to build upon throughout this election and afterwards.”
The premier asked Quebec’s lieutenant governor to dissolve the National Assembly and set an election date of April 7.
Marois’ Parti Quebecois held 54 of 125 seats. The Liberal Party held 49 seats, the Coalition Avenir de Quebec had 18, and Quebec Solidaire had two.
Marois says she intends to win a majority government to advance her party’s political agenda, which is topped by the push for Quebec sovereignty. Her party has also sparked controversy over its secularist charter, dubbed the “Charter of Values,” that would bar public employees from wearing large religious symbols.
Bill 52 was tabled in June by the Marois government. Titled An Act Respecting End-of-life Care, the bill would allow those with “an incurable serious illness,” among other criteria, to request death by the hand of a doctor.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide is illegal under Canada’s Criminal Code, which is under federal jurisdiction. But Quebec’s Bill 52 proposed to circumvent the Criminal Code by redefining euthanasia as medical treatment and thus placing it under provincial jurisdiction.
The bill was expected to pass February 20, but in a chain of events dubbed a “mini victory” by one pro-life leader, the bill failed to reach a vote, and the legislature then adjourned on a two-week recess.
The Liberal Party, which had begun the discussion of legalizing euthanasia while in government during the previous legislature, delayed the vote by insisting its members of the National Assembly should each have the opportunity to speak during the debate.
Parliamentary house leader Stéphane Bédard accused the Liberals of blocking the bill’s passage and said the missed vote was the most disappointing event of his political career.
The Quebec College of Physicians has indicated that they view the euthanasia bill as merely a first step.
“As Quebecers become accustomed to doctors administering lethal injections to dying patients, the questions will not be about who is receiving euthanasia but who is being denied it,” said Dr. Yves Robert, secretary of the College, according to the National Post.
Robert identified two classes of patients who would have been excluded from the legislation that should be considered for eligibility: patients suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s disease and the terminally ill who are under 18 years of age and suffering.
“We will have to think about that, not only for [incapable] adults but obviously for youngsters who face terminal diseases,” he said.
Junior Health Minister Véronique Hivon likewise said Bill 52’s provisions are “really, really restrictive.”
“However nice this victory may be, after this election, the bill will surely reappear in one way or another once a new government is formed,” said Buscemi. “A PQ majority would in all probability resurrect and promptly pass the bill. A PQ minority would also reintroduce the bill and count on the Liberals that were for the bill to pass it. But even the Liberals would reintroduce the bill if they won -- at least this is what Phillipe Couillard has promised.”
“What has to be done now is to get as many pro-life and anti-euthanasia MNAs elected,” he continued. “For us that means telling our people to NOT vote for the PQ, which does not allow for conscience votes for its pro-euthanasia legislation, and to NOT vote for the neo-marxist Québec Solidaire, which is way out in left field as far as life issues go. After that, whatever candidates are left, we instruct that they vote for the one who is most pro-life.”
“Many Christians, sadly, are tempted in this election to vote for the PQ, since they feel that the proposed Charter of Values will ‘protect them from the Muslims’. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the PQ are doing is waving the islamist threat in our faces while in fact eradicating ALL traces of religion in the public square, including the Christian. And this is clearly dangerous.”
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