Human Exceptionalism

Govt Funded Euthanasia Coming to Quebec?

A bill to legalize euthanasia in Quebec has been filed, and it is a radical disaster.

First, it would require that all “institutions,” e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities ”provide” terminal sedation (put into a coma and dehydrated to death) or euthanasia, which are included in the bill’s definition of the term, “end of life care.” From Bill 52: 

8. Every institution must offer end-of-life care and ensure that it is provided to the persons requiring it in continuity and complementarity with any other care that is or has been provided to them.

As I understand the Canadian system, all hospitals, nursing homes, etc., are publicly funded, part by the province and part by the federal government. This would appear to mean that every taxpayer in Canada will be underwriting euthanasia, and moreover, that the provincial government of Quebec will require the killing of patients to be allowed in all publicly funded hospitals, residential care facilities and nursing homes.

Assisted suicide and intentional homicide are crimes in Canada, under the federal criminal code. But the provinces are in charge of regulating medicine. So, Quebec seeks to get out from under the federal criminal laws by redefining euthanasia as health care, e.g., the medical treatment of “aid in dying.” 

“Aid in dying,” in turn, is defined as one example of the medical application of “end of life care:”

3. (3) “end-of-life care” means palliative care provided to persons at the end of their lives, including terminal palliative sedation, and medical aid in dying.  

“Medical aid in dying,” is not limited to the terminally ill. Indeed, those who qualify to be euthanized could include people with serious disabilities, chronic illnesses that have advanced, even mental illnesses. And the suffering necessary to qualify for euthanasia is, essentially, whatever the patient determines is “intolerable”–even if the patient turns down treatment that could alleviate the symptoms they are experiencing:

26. Only a patient who meets the following criteria may obtain medical aid in dying:

(1) be of full age, be capable of giving consent to care and be an insured person within the meaning of the Health Insurance Act (chapter A-29);

(2) suffer from an incurable serious illness;

(3) suffer from an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability; and

(4) suffer from constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain which cannot be relieved in a manner the person deems tolerable.

People can also direct that they be killed in their advance directive.

True to form, media reports falsely state that the bill would “only” legalize assisted suicide for the “terminally ill.” From the Toronto Star story:

As early as this fall, Quebec could become the first province in Canada and one of the few jurisdictions in the world to permit terminally ill patients to end their suffering and their lives. Legislation introduced Wednesday by the Parti Quebecois government would allow doctors to administer lethal drugs to a exclusive group of patients whose lives are nearing the end and who are in excruciating pain that cannot be relieved by drugs.

Can’t reporters read? That’s a blatantly false description. No, it is journalistic malpractice. 

Look for yourselves. The wording of the bill does not require that a patient be “nearing the end” of life at all. Nor does it require that the patient be suffering from “excruciating pain that cannot be relived by drugs.” In fact, the bill would allow a broad killing license, with psychological suffering sufficient to be killed. 

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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