Hivon confident her end-of-life bill will survive a legal challenge

So far there seems to be broad and deep support in Quebec for medically-assisted death.

Senior political analyst Bernard St-Laurent on Quebec's end-of-life bill

Social Services Minister Véronique Hivon (The Canadian Press)

If you base yourself on the evidence so far, there certainly appears to be broad and deep support in Quebec for medically-assisted death.

 Bill 52, an act respecting end-of-life care, is the result of an all-party committee which traveled the province and came up with a series of unanimous recommendations and restrictions which are now at the heart of the bill. 

 Public support for allowing doctors to administer end-of-life treatment is overwhelming, but far from unanimous.

The debate will reconvene in the fall during clause-by-clause study. 

Liberal leader Philippe Couillard will allow members of his party to vote according to their own conscience. 

Coalition Avenir Québec leader Francois Legault says his party will wait for the clause-by-clause study of Bill 52 before making a final decision.

But it will be hard for them to reverse their position after being part of that unanimous all-party committee.

So even though the PQ is a minority government, it's safe to assume Bill 52 will become law.

The real challenge could come from Ottawa

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has already served notice: "The Government of Canada will review the implications of Quebec’s proposed legislation on physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

"The laws that prohibit euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are potentially the most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly, and people with disabilities.

 But Véronique Hivon, the minister sponsoring the bill, is confident Bill 52 will stand the test.

Criminal law is a federal jurisdiction. But the provinces are responsible for the administration of laws. 

Quebec can take the same approach it did back in 1976 when it stopped prosecuting Dr. Henry Morgentaler on abortion charges after he had been acquitted by three separate juries.

The provincial government simply told its prosecutors to stop charging doctors who perform clinical abortions.

And by carefully framing Bill 52 as part of an overall approach to end-of-life care, Quebec is hoping to give judges the ability to see the law as dealing with a health issue rather than a criminal one.

You can alsolisten to Bernard St-Laurent's discussion with CBC's Mike Finnerty, host of Daybreak, on the end-of-life bill and on the turban ban controversy which refuses to go away.