Medically assisted dying in Quebec: the Court of Appeal validated the law

Publié le : 23 December 2015

On Tuesday, the Quebec Court of Appeal made its decision to validate the contested articles in Quebec’s “medically assisted dying” law, which came into force on 10 December 2015(cf. Gènéthique du 10 décembre 2015).

 

Superior Court Judge, Michel Pinsonnault “noted that certain articles in the Quebec law were incompatible with the criminal code, upheld by Ottawa and that, in the event of conflict, federal law takes precedence over provincial law”(cf. Gènéthique du 2 décembre 2015).

 

In its decision dated 22 December, the Court of Appeal overturned this judgement, justifying its decision to the Quebec Government. It contests the reasoning of Judge Pinsonnault, considering that the provisions of the criminal Code on which it is based “cannot solely prevent the introduction and application of the law”.

 

The Quebec Justice Minister “welcomed the judgment”. Doctor Saba, who initiated the appeal procedure is said to be “disappointed but not surprised”, and aware of “political pressure”. As far as he is concerned, “this decision does not change the underlying issue: the solution for suffering is not a lethal injection but good palliative care”.

 

Moreover, the Court of Appeal judgment “focuses only on the reason behind the precedence of federal laws”. The persons who invalidated the law in the first place will therefore continue to contest its constitutional validity by referring to “the other reasons mentioned, essentially the fact that medically assisted dying does not constitute ‘health care’”.

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