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Quebec to introduce new version of medical assistance in dying bill

Quebec's Minister of Health and Seniors, Sonia Bélanger, will table a new version of the bill that aims to expand medical assistance in dying (MAID), next year.

She is taking over the bill from Health Minister Christian Dubé, who failed last June to pass Bill 38, which would have allowed people with Alzheimer's disease, for example, to make an early request.

"The minister will table a new version of the bill on medical assistance in dying," Sarah Bigras, the minister's press secretary, told The Canadian Press on Monday.

She did not specify if this would be done at the beginning of the next parliamentary session, in February, or what changes will be made.

One thing is certain: between now and the "holiday season," Bélanger will meet with the various parties in the assembly, said Bigras. The minister wishes to "work in collaboration" and "exchange with them on this subject."

"This is an important issue for Quebec society and we want to include all political parties in this discussion," added the press secretary.

A lot of work has already been done on the issue of expanding MAID.

The all-party parliamentary committee that analyzed the issue in depth submitted its report in December 2021.

It held 14 days of hearings and heard from about 100 stakeholders and experts, not counting the 80 or so briefs received and the 3,000 members of the public who participated in the online consultation.

Last June, many people mourned the failure of Bill 38.

Dubé had waited until the very end of the spring session to introduce it. He had to urgently withdraw a provision concerning severe neuromotor disabilities.

Due to a lack of time, the MNAs were unable to adopt it.The woman who is considered the "mother" of medical aid in dying, former PQ MNA Véronique Hivon, was very upset and did not hide her great disappointment.

"We would have all fervently hoped to be able to adopt this bill, with all our hearts," she commented at a press conference.

The Quebec Association for the Right to Die with Dignity (QARDD) had invited the members of the legislature to roll up their sleeves and get back to work this fall, once the election was over.

"It shouldn't take a year," said Sandra Demontigny, president of the QARDD, who herself has early onset and hereditary Alzheimer's disease.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press in French on Dec. 5, 2022. Top Stories


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