Quebec could have to wait more than two years before advance requests for medical assistance in dying come into force. Ottawa judges that “additional consultations and studies” must be carried out “before considering any other expansion”.
“The issue of advance requests remains a challenge,” Federal Ministers of Health Jean-Yves Duclos and Justice Minister David Lametti wrote last Tuesday in response to the second report of the Special Joint Committee on Medical Aid to die filed in February.
Among the 23 recommendations, the members of the Committee demand “that the Government of Canada amend the Criminal Code to allow advance requests following a diagnosis of a serious and incurable health problem, disease or disorder leading to incapacity “.
Once in force, the revision of the Act respecting end-of-life care, adopted by a majority at the beginning of June, will allow Quebecers who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to request assisted death care before their cognitive abilities do not deteriorate. It will also make people affected by a “serious physical impairment resulting in significant and persistent disabilities” eligible for such care.
But before the adoption of the bill, the Quebec Minister for Health, Sonia Bélanger, set a deadline of 24 months at the last minute to implement the advance request process. The opposition then criticized him for waiting too long after Ottawa.
The elected representative of the Coalition avenir Québec then assured “do everything to make it happen quickly”, and that the two-year period was a “maximum” period.
Questioned on Sunday afternoon by The duty as to whether Ottawa’s response might extend that deadline by 24 months, the minister’s office was unable to comment immediately.
“The reaction of the government, unfortunately, saddens me”, reacted Sunday the president of the Quebec Association for the right to die with dignity, Georges L’Espérance. “There are mountains that are made by people who, unfortunately, know little about the terrain. »
“This new postponement will create anxiety among all those who had found a certain serenity knowing that they had a light at the end of their progressive darkening,” he wrote in a letter published in The duty.
The retired neurosurgeon in active practice believes that six to twelve months would be more than enough. “Can we trust the population, can we listen to people who are sick, […] can we listen to the people who are on the ground and not base ourselves solely on the fears and fears that the opponents continually raise? »
With Francois Carabin