Opposed to medical assistance in dying in 2014, the independent MP from Quebec would vote for its enlargement

Opposed to the law on medical assistance in dying in 2014, the independent deputy for Chomedey Guy Ouellette is now ready to vote for its extension to incapacitated persons.

He told the Canadian Press that he added his voice to those who urged the CAQ government of François Legault to table a bill before the end of the session.

At the time, in 2014, Guy Ouellette was one of 22 Liberal MPs who voted against the End-of-Life Care Act in a qualified free vote in the National Assembly.

He said opposition to the law in his riding of Laval was so strong that he had no choice but to do so, even though he personally was quite in favor of it, having seen his own parents suffer in end of life.

His constituents “had petitions signed…which were brought to my constituency office,” he said, recalling a tumultuous time when people were quick to tell him they didn’t didn’t agree.

“Today I hear no criticism in my constituency,” he said.

Ouellette believes that the “extraordinary progress” he has witnessed in his riding of Chomedey is a reflection of what has happened throughout Quebec in recent years.

“The respect with which the law has been used over the past seven or eight years means that it is not a free-for-all or a massacre as some may have feared,” he said. he declared. “People were afraid that because we had physician-assisted dying, it would happen under no circumstances, for any reason, in any way; (…) it didn’t happen. . There was no abuse.”

He sat all last year on the Select Committee on Expanding Physician-Assisted Dying along with MPs from other political parties.

After hearing a multitude of experts, the commission recommended that the government allow people with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, to sign a prior request for medical assistance in dying.

The current law sets very strict criteria for requesting a doctor in order to reduce suffering. Currently, in Quebec, you must be capable of consenting when obtaining medical assistance in dying, with a few exceptions.

Like MNAs Véronique Hivon (PQ), Vincent Marissal (QS) and David Birnbaum (PLQ) have done before, Ouellette asks the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, to reflect on the “well-being of society”.

“The population has reached this point,” he said.

Dubé has tabled three bills in recent weeks, as well as a plan to reorganize the health system. There are seven weeks of parliamentary work left before the vote on October 3.

— This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 10, 2022.