October 22, 2012
DEBORAH GYAPONG
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS

OTTAWA – Anti-euthanasia groups, including a new physician's organization, are pushing back against Parti Quebecois plans to bring in euthanasia under the euphemistic guise of "medical aid in dying."

Quebec group Living with Dignity director Linda Couture said the Quebec elite is masking its euthanasia plans behind the words "medical aid in dying" without defining them. "Does it mean (lethally) injecting people or not?"

Couture expressed alarm at how fast the government is moving, noting the new government hopes to have a bill passed by June next year.

In early October, Radio CJAD reported Parti Quebecois junior social services minister Veronique Hivon said she hoped to introduce legislation soon to help people who face unbearable end-of-life suffering.

PROVINCIAL POWERS

Though euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal in Canada's Criminal Code and fall under federal jurisdiction, Hivon said health is a provincial matter.

The province could also direct Crown prosecutors not to prosecute cases of assisted death that fall under the guidelines for "medical aid in dying," she said.

Couture said using health care and directing prosecutors in this manner is bringing in "euthanasia through the back door."

The province's plans stem from recommendations of an all-party Dying with Dignity committee that held hearings across Quebec and released its report in March, Couture said.

MAJORITY OPPOSED

Although 60 per cent of the presenters to the committee opposed euthanasia and assisted suicide, the committee's report recommended "medical assistance in dying" for those suffering and close to death.

It ignored grassroots rejection of euthanasia and assisted suicide, Couture said.

"Everybody's in favour of palliative care," she said. "'Let's work on what unites us not what divides us."

Couture dared the small group of physicians who are pushing for euthanasia to put their faces on a public poster the way members of a new physicians organization has.

"They want to do it anonymously," she said.

Couture also said elderly people are becoming afraid to go to hospital even though this measure has not been brought in yet.