Montreal

CAQ government will look at extending access to doctor-assisted dying, says premier

François Legault told reporters Thursday he made a campaign promise to look into the issue, and plans to honour that pledge — but said it will take time.

François Legault plans to honour campaign promise to examine the issue

Premier François Legault says his government will look at extending the law on medically assisted death to those with Alzheimer’s and other conditions. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Premier François Legault says his government is open to giving those who are seriously ill, but not facing imminent death, access to medically assisted dying.

Legault told reporters Thursday he made a campaign promise to look into the issue, and plans to honour that pledge — but warned it will take time.

"We're going to look into it, and we're going to do it the right way," he said.

His comments come days after two Montrealers with degenerative diseases started a legal battle for improved access to Quebec and Canada's doctor-assisted dying laws.

Jean Truchon, 49, and Nicole Gladu, 73, suffer from serious health problems that cause persistent and intolerable suffering, according to their lawyer, Jean-Pierre Ménard.

Both the federal and provincial laws say only people who are facing foreseeable death can receive aid to die. Truchon and Gladu argue Canada and Quebec's laws are too narrow in their criteria and run counter to their Charter rights.

Legault said he was saddened by Truchon and Gladu's story.

His government, he said, will look at extending the law to those with Alzheimer's and other conditions.

When the law was initially passed in 2014, it received support from all parties. Legault said he believes all parties will want to study expanding the rules as well.

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