The recent adoption of Quebec’s landmark right-to-die bill is concerning, as it opens the door to a form of eugenics, Toronto lawyer Hugh Scher tells CityNews.
Bill 52, dubbed “an act respecting end-of-life care,” says patients would have to repeatedly ask a doctor to end their lives on the basis of unbearable physical or psychological suffering, and they would have to be deemed mentally sound at the time of the requests, the Canadian Press reports.
“When we’re talking about minors and we’re talking about people with dementia, those safeguards don’t seem to have much meaning and that really is another fundamental concern that we have in terms of being able to prevent the spread of this practice as a form of eugenics in a sense,” Scher tells CityNews.
The heated debate over end-of-life care isn’t new to Scher, who acted in the groundbreaking Ontario case of Cuthbertson v. Rasouli for the intervener the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. In Rasouli, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal that would have permitted doctors to end life support for a severely brain-damaged man without the consent of his family or a substitute decision maker. Scher is also representing the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and EPC-BC in Carter v Canada, a constitutional challenge to Canada’s assisted suicide laws, which will be heard by the Supreme Court on Oct. 14.
The federal government has said it could challenge the legality of the Quebec legislation, the Canadian Press reports, noting assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal under Canada’s Criminal Code.