QUÉBEC, March 22, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Living with Dignity network condemns as a "profound act of political betrayal" the report released today by the select committee on dying with dignity.
"From the outset of the committee's consultation, Quebecers were guaranteed that their voices would be heard and that the direction they gave would be followed. On the basis of that promise, Quebecers spoke forcefully against opening the door to euthanasia and assisted suicide. The committee has arrogantly and dangerously broken its word to the very people it promised to heed," said Dr. Andre Bourque, president of LWD.
Bourque noted that an independent analysis of submissions to the special commission showed two-thirds of persons submitting briefs opposed any opening for euthanasia and assisted suicide. A third supported euthanasia and a mere two per cent would tolerate assisted suicide.
Yet the select committee brushed aside that democratic outcome and instead pandered to an elite clique of special interest voices obsessed with decriminalizing both euthanasia and assisted suicide in Quebec, Bourque said.
Many questioned whether the decision to bow to that elite was made before the public consultation even began two years ago. And he reminded Quebecers that some MNAs on the select committee gave themselves a 10-day European "fact-finding" tour to France, Belgium and Holland when their mandate was to listen to their fellow citizens here at home.
"Why waste nearly $1 million in taxpayers' money just to say what they knew they were going to say anyway? Were the hearings just an expensive publicity stunt? If so, there's an election coming up during which these MNAs should be held accountable for betraying Quebecers."
Bourque said the good news is that the report's recommendations are in no way binding, and it is still possible for the Charest government to block the door opened by the PQ-initiated select committee. The onus in now on the Liberal cabinet to assure Quebecers there will be no attempt to re-define euthanasia or assisted suicide as health care. The government's emphasis must be on improved palliative care accessible to all Quebecers who need it.
"The one thing the commission hearings showed unequivocally is that ninety-nine per cent of Quebecers want properly funded, province-wide palliative care," Bourque said. "The greatest betrayal of all is that we seem to have wasted two years and a lot of money that could have gone to achieving what people in this province actually want: develop and fund palliative care."
Living with Dignity is an independent non-profit organization that is entirely secular and non-partisan. Its action is solely centered on end of life issues.
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