“The Criminal Code of Canada explicitly prohibits any form of euthanasia – and with good reason. For the province of Quebec to seek to circumvent its own national law with a manipulative exercise of semantics is nothing short of a betrayal of society’s most vulnerable, who shall surely end up the victims of this bill.”
So said Luca Volontè, Chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, in a statement earlier today in response to comments from the Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose. The minister re-affirmed that euthanasia remained illegal according to national law, a fact the Quebec government has chosen to disregard.
The professed intent of the Quebec government to press ahead with the legislation now puts the province on a collision course with section 14 of the National Criminal Code which clearly states:
‘No person is entitled to consent to have death inflicted on him, and such consent does not affect the criminal responsibility of any person by whom death may be inflicted on the person by whom consent is given.’
The proposed Bill 52, ‘an act respecting end of life care’, takes no account of the expressed will of the Canadian Parliament, which in 2010, voted not to change the laws preventing euthanasia. In addition, this week’s conference of the Canadian Medical Association saw overwhelming support for the continued ban of euthanasia in all its forms.
The Quebec legislation, due to be continued after the Summer Recess, is structured on the Belgium model, a system now notorious for its high proportion of cases where killing has been sanctioned without the patient’s consent.
Warning of the inevitability of abuse, Luca Volontè urged the Quebec government to respect the established national law: “Prohibiting euthanasia is the only guaranteed way of preventing the abuse of our most vulnerable. In 2012, my colleague Nirj Deva MEP, speaking in the name of this Institute, said of a plan to legalise ‘after-birth abortion’: “A society devoid of any sense of innate human dignity finds increasing opportunities to remove those it considers unworthy of life”. I am reminded today how recurringly true these words are – and precisely this attitude, “life unworthy of life” no matter how it is cynically dressed up in terms of ‘compassion’, inverted in terms of ‘dignity’, or motivated by lack of resources as ‘effective targeting’; it is the same principle that the Nazis used to justify killing (according evidence cited at Nuremburg) over 275,000 people under the Aktion T4 “Euthanasia Programme”.
Volontè concluded: “The purpose of healthcare is to support patients in their life, with full respect for their indelible human dignity, not to accelerate them towards death. Rebranding Euthanasia as ‘medical aid in dying’ does not exonerate the Quebec government from the reality of deliberately killing sick people, nor from the absolute immorality of this nihilistic pursuit towards a culture of death.”