Québec’s euthanasia expansion bill is likely delayed until after the October election.

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Bill 38 would expand (MAiD) euthanasia in Québec by allowing euthanasia by advanced directive and forcing medical institutions, such as hospices, to participate in euthanasia. Bill 38 was originally slated to be pushed through before the October 3, 2022 election but it has now been delayed.

The Canadian Press reported that politicians in Québec agreed that more time was needed to debate Bill 38. The article stated:

Quebec’s health minister says an end-of-life care bill that would have expanded access to medical aid in dying will not be passed before the legislature breaks for the summer.

Christian Dubé says the members of the committee studying the bill have agreed that the subject is too complex to be pushed through without all the necessary time needed to study it.

Bill 38 would remove the requirement that a person be at the “end of life” to die by euthanasia. It permits euthanasia for incompetent people who requested it in their advanced directive and it permits euthanasia to be done by nurse practitioners. Bill 38 does not permit euthanasia for mental illness alone, as the federal legislation Bill C-7 had done.

Permitting euthanasia by advanced consent creates several problems, even for people who support euthanasia. First, advanced request creates the problem of who will decide the time and place of the lethal injection. Secondly, since the person is deemed to be incompetent, it denies the person the right to change their mind.

Bill 38 also removed conscience protections that were part of the original Québec regulations by forcing all hospices to provide MAiD (euthanasia).

The Canadian Press article explained that Quebec’s Health Minister, in order to get Bill 38 passed, removed a contentious part of the bill concerning euthanasia for people with disabilities. The committee studying Bill 38 decided that they needed more time.

It is good news that Bill 38 will be delayed until after Québec’s October 3rd election. We hope that the election will lead to change enabling the next Québec National Assembly to reject this bill.

Senator Wallin introduced Bill S248 in Canada’s Senate to also permit euthanasia by advanced directive.

Currently Canada’s Parliament and Senate are studying the expansion of euthanasia through the Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying. This committee is examining the expansion of euthanasia to include: “mature minors”, euthanasia by advanced directive and the rules that would be followed to implement euthanasia for people with mental illness alone.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.