Quebec’s euthanasia debate must be getting horribly confusing when even a Catholic priest doesn’t know the right answer to whether the practice should be legalized.

It must be doubly so when the priest is also a former MP who knows — or should know — that euthanasia can be made legal only by amending the federal Criminal Code.

Yet here was Fr. Raymond Gravel, the one-time Bloc Quebecois MP for a Montreal-area riding, musing about whether killing the elderly, the weak and the suffering might be just what the doctor ordered for Quebec’s health care system.

Published in Peter Stockland

OTTAWA - Quebec’s Catholic bishops and the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) have expressed opposition to a Quebec committee’s recommendation to allow euthanasia under limited circumstances.

“While we are pleased that members of the commission recommend greater access to palliative care for all people, we disagree with the recommendations to change laws to recognize physician-assisted dying as appropriate end-of-life care,” the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec said in a statement. “Changing the terms ‘assisted suicide’ and ‘euthanasia’ to ‘physician-assisted dying’ does not change reality.”

Published in Canada

People who believe doctors should never kill a patient even when a patient asks to die are losing the political and cultural battle against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Catholics must learn to articulate their arguments in positive ways, doctors, nurses and others heard at a Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute presentation March 28.

A December poll by Forum Research found 67 per cent of Canadians support legalizing assisted suicide. In Quebec the number rises to 81 per cent. A Quebec government commission recommended March 22 that Quebec’s Attorney General no longer prosecute cases of physician-assisted suicide.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

OTTAWA - Living with Dignity (LWD), a network of anti-euthanasia groups in Quebec, has condemned the province’s Select Committee on Dying with Dignity report’s support for euthanasia as “dangerous” and a “profound act of political betrayal.”

After holding consultations across the province last year, on Mar. 22 the committee recommended the legalization of euthanasia for people experiencing constant, unbearable physical or psychological suffering.

Published in Canada

A Quebec legislative committee’s call for legalized euthanasia might be a grave danger to Canada’s health care system. Its immediate and unquestionable menace, however, is the damage it does to democracy.

For the moment, the Select Committee on Dying With Dignity’s all-party report presented March 22 to the province’s National Assembly is in parliamentary and pre-election limbo. There is reason to hope its mad demand for legalizing doctor-administered assisted suicide in Quebec by 2013 will be lost in the dust of politicians hitting the campaign trail.

Published in Peter Stockland

Politicians given enough rope will invariably hang themselves, figuratively speaking of course.

Such is the case with Parti Quebecois justice critic Veronique Hivon, whose clamor for legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide should, if there is any justice, now be choked off for good and all.

Madame Hivon came hard out of the chute to condemn Quebec Tory Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu for his recommendation, later withdrawn, that our most notorious convicted killers be left alone in their cells with a length of state-supplied rope.

Published in Peter Stockland

The next big battle facing Catholics is over euthanasia. Already a few preliminary salvos have been fired.

For example, an “expert panel” on euthanasia set up by the Royal Society of Canada recently reported: “The underlying premise — namely that all human beings are possessed of dignity in virtue of a special relationship to a God — is incapable of being used as a basis of public policy proven in the context of a democratic, multicultural and multi-faith society that must cleave to the strictures of public reason in ethical deliberation.”

Published in Guest Columns