In a surprising turn of events yesterday, the Quebec government was unable to get Bill 52, a bill to legalize euthanasia, to a vote. The result is that the vote has been moved to March when the National Assembly reconvenes.
The drama was something to behold. The Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard, did not cave under Parti Quebecois pressure to get the Bill to a vote. Couillard maintained that given the grave nature of this Bill, it would only be fair to allow all MNAs to vote according to their conscience, and to go on the record publicly, in the Quebec National Assembly, to each explain their views. The Liberal Party advised the Assembly that MNAs would require time to fulfill this important duty: they would allot 10 minutes to each MNA.
The Parti Quebecois did all they could to cut short the debate time, and force Bill 52 to a vote, but to no avail.
Parliament is now, in a two-week recess. It is widely expected the PQ will soon call an election in which they are hoping to win a majority.
To his credit, Mr. Couillard refused to budge from his principled position. This earned him scathing public criticism from the PQ House leader, Mr. Bédard.
If an election is held, and the PQ wins, of course Bill 52 will come back to life. If somehow the Liberals win, the fate of Bill 52 is uncertain.
“This was a very exciting day for democracy and for conscience rights.” said Natalie Sonnen, executive director of LifeCanada. “This Bill to legalize euthanasia is lethal and threatens the well-being of the most vulnerable in our society, those to whom we should extend the greatest of care, not killing. The suspension of the National Assembly allows people more time to become educated about the harms of this proposed legislation.”