Quebecois input into the Dying With Dignity Report
The Quebec Commission on Dying With Dignity was very thorough in their examination of the questions of palliative care and medically assisted dying and heard from expert witnesses, held public hearings and received over 16,000 comments by way of mail, fax and email. The commission also set up a website that 6,558 Quebec residents visited and answered the questionnaire.
As the Commissioners said in their report “Although the online consultation is not a scientific poll, the number of respondents certainly gives an undeniable value to the answers received and indicates some trends in our society.” This is a summary of the results of that questionnaire.
A profile of respondents:
- 6558 respondents completed the online survey of which 3820 (58.2%) were women and 2,738 (41.8%) were men.
- 29% of respondents were under 30 years and 49%, 40 to 59 years
Questions about euthanasia
- 74% agreed (fully or partially) that euthanasia should be legalized under certain conditions.
- 80% think that a person with full mental capacity to make their own decisions should be able to demand euthanasia.
- 78% think that a person who has previously made a demand for euthanasia because he knows that he will be incapacitated in the future should be allowed to follow through with his demand.
- 4 out of 5 people want euthanasia made available to people who have an incurable illness and whose physical and psychological pain are intolerable.
- 7 out of 10 want it available for people suffering from a degenerative and incapacitating illness.
Questions about assisted suicide
- Do you agree or disagree with legalizing assisted suicide under certain conditions? 71% agreed with this question and 27% disagreed.
- 77% thought that, under reasonable circumstances, an adult who can make their own decisions should have access to assisted suicide but only 41% would give the same right to a minor.
- When asked “Under what circumstances is assisted suicide justified?” between 7 and 8 people out of 10 thought that it would be appropriate for those people who have a terminal illness and are suffering unbearable physical and psychological pain.
- Two thirds of the responses favour making either euthanasia or assisted suicide available to people who are extremely handicapped as a result of an accident.
Arguments in favour of legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide were examined.
- 75% of respondents agreed that palliative care can not always relieve pain or intolerable suffering and, as a result, medically assisted dying can be a solution.
- Health care workers are torn between compassion for their clients, who are at the end of their life, and the current law. Consequently 3 out of 4 people believe that the law should be changed to prevent this confusion.
- 77% of the respondents support the argument that because it is permissible for a person to refuse treatment or request that it be stopped, even if it means their death, the request for assistance to die should be accepted
- 7 out of 10 respondents said that a person is independent and it is their right to ultimately decide when and how they will die if they consider that their living conditions are intolerable
Quebecers have spoken loudly and clearly and the Commissioners have heard them and acknowledge that “Quebec society wants this change. Indeed medically assisted dying is in line with the changes happening in social values, law and medical practice.” We, at Dying With Dignity, strongly support this statement for all of Canada.
- assisted dying
- assisted suicide
- Carter case
- Dying With Dignity
- euthanasia prevention coalition
- Gloria Taylor
- medically assisted dying
- medically assisted suicide
- Nagui Morcos
- palliative care
- Physician assisted dying
- physician assisted suicide
- Quebec report
- right to die