MONTREAL — Six Quebec professional orders are calling on the province to challenge the constitutionality of federal legislation on medical assistance in dying.
The orders representing physicians, nurse, lawyers, pharmacists, notaries and social workers issued a statement Tuesday saying the status of the law urgently needs clarification.
They are asking the Quebec ministers of justice and of health to begin the process of submitting a reference to the Quebec Court of Appeal without delay. The orders said it is a matter of protecting fundamental rights for all.
"The right to die with dignity is a societal issue of primary importance that involves an able person's right to self-determination and the right to human dignity guaranteed by the (federal and Quebec rights) charters," the statement said.
A key point of contention is the requirement in the federal law that a natural death be "reasonably foreseeable" for someone to receive medical aid in dying, which critics say excludes many people with incurable suffering.
Paul-Matthieu Grondin, head of Quebec's law society, said the federal law needs to be challenged — and not Quebec's similar legislation — because it is the federal law that defines what is a criminal act. "Everyone needs to know what is criminal or not," Grondin said.
The Canadian Press