Friday, January 18, 2013 | Categories: Episodes
Quebec's Right to Die Legislation: Will other provinces follow?
This week, the province of Quebec announced its intention to legalize some cases of physician-assisted suicide. It puts the province in direct conflict with Canada's Criminal Code, which prohibits all forms of assisted suicide.
But a panel of legal experts advised the province that end-of- life care can fall under the healthcare umbrella -- an area of provincial jurisdiction. Quebec's junior health minister, Veronique Hivon explained the decision to reporters. We aired a clip.
Those in favour of more choice in end-of-life care hope this will set a precedent for the other provinces. But, some worry about the slippery slope.... putting the elderly and disabled in danger.
The laws against assisted suicide do seem to be under pressure. In June, a BC judge granted Gloria Taylor, a woman who suffered from ALS -- the right to an assisted suicide, effectively striking down parts of the Criminal Code. Taylor died of natural causes in October, but the federal government is pressing ahead with an appeal and says it has no plans to reopen the debate.
Russel Ogden is a criminologist as well as the director of the Farewell Foundation which supports assisted death. He's been present at 6 "self-chosen" deaths here in Canada, the US and Switzerland. He was in our Vancouver studio.
And Dr. Kerry Bowman is a bioethicist at the University of Toronto. He was in our Toronto studio.
This segment was produced by The Current's Dawna Dingwall.
Other segments from today's show: