One day before the parliamentary session, the Quebec government is not moving forward with its bill to expand access to medical assistance in dying (MAD).
Bill 38 sought to expand eligibility for MAID for people with severe and incurable neuromotor impairment.
Opposition parties had accused Health Minister Christian Dube of dragging his feet by tabling the bill so late in the parliamentary session without enough time for proper debate on all of the bill’s intricacies. The minister tabled An Act to amend the Act respecting end-of-life care and other legislative provisions two weeks ago, May 25.
The current session of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec ends Friday.
While considering the bill in committee, MPs heard that some want the current law to be changed to allow prior and informed consent to receive MAID for people with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease .
Dubé held a press conference at the National Assembly on Thursday along with members of the opposition parties, who all agreed that not passing the bill in its current form was the best decision.
“It’s so critical when dealing with life and death,” he said.
“We made a good call today. This is the important call for Quebecers and we will come back with the [bill].”
Thursday’s decision was a loss for Parti Québécois (PQ) spokesperson for end-of-life care, Véronique Hivon, who spearheaded MAID legislation for years and has decided not to run in the next provincial elections. Both she and Dubé were emotional at the press conference announcing the fate of Bill 38.
She was asked what message she had for people with Alheimer’s disease who wanted to see the bill passed, including Sandra de Montigny, of Lévis, Que. woman who attended a PQ press conference in early May asking the government to act more quickly.
“I would tell her that I understand that she must be really disappointed, but that I hope she feels that we are still on her side like we were a few weeks ago hoping to deliver what we wanted for her. her, but [also] for all the Sandra de Montignys and all the seniors who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and who would like this choice,” said Hivon.
“I hope she can find some comfort and hope in seeing us all together, really taking the promise that we will come back with this bill because it will only be better for it and it cannot be put in work than faster.”
Dubé said changing the MAID law will be a priority for him in the fall and that the CAQ intends to reintroduce the bill if it wins the October election.
A recent Léger poll revealed that François Legault’s government would win the election with 44% support.