By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
In his decision on December 1, Justice Michel Pinsonnault of the Québec Superior Court stopped the Québec euthanasia law from coming into effect on December 10. The case was launched by the Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice which sought to obtain an injunction and to declare that the Québec law is unconstitutional.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) intervened in the case.
According to the National Post:
The judge noted that last February’s Supreme Court of Canada decision striking down a federal ban on assisted suicide gave Ottawa and the provinces a year to prepare new legislation before the Criminal Code provisions in question become invalid.
Pinsonnault ruled that as long as those provisions are on the books — and it is expected Ottawa will request an extension to the Feb. 6 deadline — a Quebec physician administering euthanasia under the provincial law would be committing a crime. He ordered the suspension of the articles of the Quebec law concerning euthanasia until the Criminal Code is changed.
Paul Saba, the leader of Coalition of Physicians for Social Justice, and Lisa D’Amico, a woman with a disability, brought the suit. But the federal attorney general “intervened on their side, arguing that application of the Quebec law should be suspended until the Criminal Code is amended,” the National Post reported.
The Québec government reacted to the judgement by declaring that they will appeal the decision. The government suggested that the judge made an error when finding that ‘medical aid in dying’ constitutes euthanasia.