Medical assistance in dying: the PLQ wants a forum of experts on the notion of disability

Medical assistance in dying: the PLQ wants a forum of experts on the notion of disability

Medical aid in dying: the QLP wants a forum of experts on the concept of disability

Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The Minister for Health and to the Elders, Sonia Bélanger, during the tabling of Bill 11 on the expansion of medical assistance in dying, on February 16

The Liberal Party of Quebec (PLQ) called on Thursday for a forum of experts to study the notion of disability in the context of the bill on the expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAID). The Minister for Health and Seniors, Sonia Bélanger, said she is not closing the door “to anything” for the moment.

“We have never held a debate in the National Assembly in regarding the application of medical assistance in dying and the impact on people with disabilities,” said Liberal MP Jennifer Maccarone during a press briefing.

Bill 11 on the expansion of MAID, which was tabled by Sonia Bélanger in mid-February, aims in particular to authorize advance requests for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The portion of the legislative text that is the subject of debate, however, is that which would allow Quebecers with “a severe and incurable neuromotor disability” to have access to the intervention.

In its brief submitted during special consultations on the bill, the College of Physicians of Quebec believes that the qualifier “neuromotor” should be removed. This term does not appear in the Canadian Criminal Code, which states that a person suffering from a “disease, disease or disability of a serious and incurable nature” may be eligible for medical assistance in dying, if they meet the other criteria.

For her part, Maccarone said she was puzzled and upset because of the lack of consensus on neuromotor disability. “What exactly does 'neuromotor' mean? […] The notion can be very broad. Then are we infringing on the rights of other people who would also like the notion of self-determination, the notion of autonomy, of choice? she asked.

The PLQ MP said she wanted the same rights for all Quebecers, including her two children, who are autistic.

“I'm really scared when I, I won't be there for my kids, then they'll face such a decision, then there won't be proper support,” she said. And I hate to think, to see my children who are suffering then that they will not have access to all the same rights then to all the same care as other citizens. »

Minister Bélanger “surprised”

In a press scrum, Minister Bélanger said she was surprised by Jennifer Maccarone's request to hold an expert forum. The private consultations to study the bill are in their third day, she said. “We do a very rigorous job of reviewing briefs, meeting with different groups,” she said.

If she doesn't close the door on the Liberals' request, Ms. Bélanger believes that this request is hasty. “I think we have to keep listening. There are other groups, they have other things to tell us.

When asked about a possible sense of urgency to pass the bill before the end of parliamentary proceedings in June, the minister maintained that she had no deadline. “There are people who are currently suffering and who are waiting for us to make a decision on our bill. I want us to do a conscientious job.

Last June, the legislative text on the extension of MAID by the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, could not be adopted for lack of time. The one submitted by Ms. Bélanger this winter takes up the main lines.