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Implementation of Quebec Euthanasia law postponed by Supreme Court

A Quebec Superior Court justice has declared that a provincial law allowing medically assisted suicide in certain circumstances contradicts provisions in Canada’s Criminal Code and therefore cannot take effect as planned. Justice Michel Pinsonnault ruled that key pieces of the Quebec law, which was adopted in June 2014 and set to come into force Dec. 10, conflict with existing federal criminal laws against homicide.

The judge noted that last February’s Supreme Court of Canada decision carving out exceptions to the Criminal Code prohibitions that ban physician-assisted suicide — Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 5 — gave Parliament one year to legislate new rules to give effect to the ruling.

The deadline for Parliament to respond to the ruling was Feb. 6, 2016, but a six-month extension has been requested.

Pinsonnault found that as long as those provisions are in place, a Quebec physician administering euthanasia under the provincial law would be committing a crime. The judge ordered the suspension of the articles of the Quebec law concerning euthanasia until the Criminal Code is changed.

(source National Post)