Ottawa takes great lengths to defend the integrity of his law on assistance to die

Photo: Jeff Pachoud Agence France-Presse
Me Jean-Pierre Ménard believes that the amount of expertise required is much exaggerated, and is obviously contrary to the principle of proportionality of the means provided for under the Code of civil procedure of quebec.

Two Quebecers who are fighting in the courts to get medical help to die criticize the federal government on the use of means disproportionate to prevent them from winning the case.


Even before the hearing of the case begins, Ottawa has asked the superior Court for permission to introduce into evidence the testimony of 13 experts to support his defense of the federal law, request that the judge Christine Baudouin began hearing on Monday.


The lawyer of the two complainants, Me Jean-Pierre Ménard, believes that this is a blatant example of the disproportion of means, the federal government came to the court with an army of experts that his clients have no way to counter.


According to mr. Ménard, the request of the federal government, if accepted, would require its customers to oppose all counter-expertise, and would add undue delays while the plaintiffs are suffering and want a settlement quick question.


The lawyer and expert in medical law says it does not oppose the filing of expert reports by the federal government, but considers that the amount claimed is clearly exaggerated, and is obviously contrary to the principle of proportionality of the means provided for under the Code of civil procedure of quebec.


Nicole Gladu and Jean Truchon filed last June, a request for a declaratory judgment to declare unconstitutional the provisions of the federal law that limits medical assistance to die to those persons whose death is ” reasonably foreseeable “.


Ottawa has been forced to adopt a law to ask for medical help to die after that the judgment in Carter the supreme Court had held that a ban on providing medical help to die was against the charter of rights.


However, the judgment in Carter allowed to offer medical assistance to die for people suffering from a serious illness and irreparable and who were struggling with unbearable suffering that cannot be relieved. The highest court had not issued any criteria associated with an impending death or predictable, but the federal law has introduced a criterion which imposes virtually an obligation to be sentenced to die to be right.


Nicole Gladu, a seventy-year-old victim of polio in childhood, has been diagnosed with a syndrome post-polio in 1992 and his condition is deteriorating continually since that time, to the point where she has trouble holding in her wheelchair without effort, while Jean Truchon, a fifty-year-old with cerebral palsy, has lost in 2012 the use of his left arm, the last a functional member that he had.


Although suffering from serious degenerative diseases to be incurable, to the death of two Montreal is not imminent, and so they have no right to medical help to die, so that they would be entitled if the federal government had complied in full with the judgment in Carter.


Activists pro-and anti


The judge Baudouin must also decide on the participation or not of various organizations, activists who want to make themselves heard on the margins of the legal debate.


The Collective of physicians against euthanasia, which is opposed to any form of medical help to die, has made representations to propose his / her own expertise, such as the canadian Association for community living and Council of Canadians with disabilities, who are also seeking to limit the right to medical assistance to die.


In contrast, the quebec Association for the right to die in dignity, which supports the request of Mrs. Gladu and Mr. Truchon, has also made representations to be heard.


Neither the prosecutors of the federal government or the provincial government, which is also forced to defend its own law, which provides that “imminent death” to have a right to medical help to die — or mr. Ménard does not preclude the concerned groups to file a written analysis, but no party wishes to see the debate on medical aid in dying to be redone in front of the Court and consider that the court should not go beyond a permission is very restricted and framed to file a document to defend their points of view.


No decision was expected Monday.