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Quebec is the world’s euthanasia hotspot, approximately 7% of all deaths are lethal injections.

by | Jun 22, 2023

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

As part of a series of articles on Canada’s euthanasia law (MAiD), James Reinl, the social affairs correspondent for the Daily Mail, published an article on June 15 concerning Québec, which now has the highest euthanasia rate in the world. Reinl reports:

Quebec has emerged as the world’s euthanasia hotspot, where nearly 5,000 people opted for assisted suicides last year even as the Canadian province’s officials make it easier for the terminally ill to end their lives.

Nearly 8 percent of all deaths in Quebec are assisted suicides — far higher than 
Canada‘s other provinces and even such countries as Belgium and the Netherlands, which have much older euthanasia laws.

The new data comes as Quebec officials expand access to assisted suicides to those with Alzheimer’s and other serious diseases, and require all the region’s hospices and private hospitals to offer the procedure.

Reinl reports that there were 4,810 (MAiD) Québec euthanasia deaths in 2022 which was up by 55% from 3,102 in 2021. As he further states, the number of MAiD deaths will only increase since Québec recently passed Bill 11 which expanded their euthanasia law. Reinl reported:

Earlier this month, Quebec’s regime was expanded to allow persons suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, to request an assisted suicide in advance — before their mental competence degrades.

The amended law will also require palliative care homes and private hospitals to offer access to medical assistance in dying (MAiD), as it is known.

Living with Dignity, a non-profit opposed to euthanasia, slammed the bill’s ‘profoundly unfair treatment of palliative care hospices, particularly those not wishing to offer MAiD.’

Reinl reported that people with disabilities in Québec are concerned:

Steven Laperriere, general manager of the Group of Activists for Inclusion in Quebec (RAPLIQ), which advocates for the rights of disabled people, called Quebec’s euthanasia record a ‘disappointment.’

‘It’s dangerous. It’s almost encouraging people who are exhausted to die,’ said Laperriere.

Even though the Québec government recently expanded their MAiD law, Reinl reported that the Quebec College of Physicians wants to expand MAiD to newborns.

Dr Louis Roy, from the Quebec College of Physicians — said newborns who enter the world with ‘severe malformations’ or ‘grave and severe syndromes’ should be entitled to a doctor-aided death.

Addressing Canada’s Special Joint Committee on MAiD, Dr Roy said euthanasia should be available to ‘babies 0 – 1 years … whose life expectancy and level of suffering mean it would make sense to ensure they do not suffer.’

Reinl reported that Canada is on track to have approximately 13,500 euthanasia deaths in 2022.

Rights groups say the country’s regulations lack necessary safeguards, devalue the lives of disabled people, and prompt doctors and health workers to suggest the procedure to those who might not otherwise consider it.

Canada recorded some 13,500 state-sanctioned suicides in 2022, a 34 percent rise on the previous year, according to an analysis of official data by Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

Categories: Euthanasia
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