Quebec Assisted Suicide advocate Ginette Leblanc dies of natural causes

By Alex Schadenberg, executive director
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Editor’s note. This appeared on Alex Schadenberg’s blog.

Ginette Leblanc

Ginette Leblanc

Ginette Leblanc, the woman who launched the court case in Quebec to strike down Canada’s assisted suicide law, died Saturday of natural causes in her 50th year.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition offers condolences to the family of Ginette Leblanc as they grieve her loss.

Leblanc, who was living with ALS, hired Rene Duval, a high profile recently retired human rights lawyer. The case, filed on October 31, 2011, claimed that Canada’s assisted suicide law was unconstitutional. The case was scheduled to be heard in Trois Rivières Quebec from March 25 – 28, 2013.

The Toronto Sun reported Duval to have stated on Saturday that

“Due to Leblanc’s death the case is now closed.”

The Leblanc case was nearly identical to the Rodriquez case that the Supreme Court of Canada decided in 1993. By a 5-4 margin the Court held that Canada’s assisted suicide law was not unconstitutional.

However Duval added a clause to the case that would have quietly legalized euthanasia in Canada. (For more, see The Leblanc case in Quebec)

Meanwhile there is another case scheduled to be heard next month by the British Columbia Court of Appeal. In Carter vs. Canada, decided June 15 2012, Judge Lynn Smith struck down Canada’s law prohibiting assisted suicide. However, she suspended her decision for one year to force Parliament to fulfill her demands and gave Gloria Taylor, who also lived with  ALS, a constitutional exemption to be killed by euthanasia or assisted suicide within the year. It is important to note that Taylor died of natural causes last October. The British Columbia Court of Appeal will hear the appeal March 4-8.

Recently the Quebec government published the Menard report that established the direction the Quebec government appears to be going in order to decriminalize euthanasia.

Quebec citizens should be very concerned that their government appears to be intent on decriminalizing along the lines of the “Belgian model.”

When analysing the Belgian model of euthanasia it is clear that the definitions that are used and the system that is in place has led to significant abuses of euthanasia.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition launched the Declaration of Hope as a positive response to the human issues that lead to people requesting euthanasia or assisted suicide.