75% of Quebec doctors

A recent poll indicates that an overwhelming majority of medical specialists in Quebec support legalizing euthanasia:

A majority of Quebec’s medical specialists are in favour of legalizing euthanasia and believe the public also supports the idea, according to an Ipsos Descarie poll released Tuesday.

Of 2,025 medical specialists who answered a poll on the subject, 75 per cent said they were “certainly” or “probably” in favour of legalizing euthanasia, as long as the practice were strictly regulated.

Imagine that — patients exercising self-determination and making their own end-of-life decisions, without the unwelcome and unnecessary intrusion of the benevolent nanny state that always knows better than we do what’s good for us, or those vexatious godbags with a mania for stuffing their noses into everyone else’s most private personal business and pestering them to distraction.

It’s significant that this was a poll of medical professionals, given that Canadians tend to lead with their opinions and the medical profession to follow:

Barrette says the debate over euthanasia is similar to the one 20 years surrounding legal access to abortion.

He said doctors hesitated to perform abortions despite the wishes of the public.

“Society was ahead,” he said. “Doctors came after, and then governments legislated much later after [the] Superior Court had to rule [ on the issue],” he said.

When it comes to civilized attitudes about personal liberty, Quebec is something of a bellwether province — as Quebec goes, so goes the rest of Canada.  And hopefully, somewhere down the line, our government.

UPDATE: Right on schedule, the Idiot Fringe is suggesting the poll results  are  “questionable” because — get ready for it — the doctors are unclear on what “euthanasia” is.  Right, they probably thought they were being polled about “youth in Asia”.

25 Responses to “75% of Quebec doctors”

  1. 1 Torontonian Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Indeed! Euthanising the Harper government would
    put US out of our misery!

  2. 2 The Anti-Social Socialist Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I’m not sure about this ‘strictly regulated’ bit. I can understand there would need be some limitations on just who can go and who can’t, but I’m a bit leery on the idea that there need be say, a list of things you need to have before you can choose to off yourself.

    – – –

    I’m eager to see what the in-house maniac has to say on this subject… if he can actually stay on topic.

  3. 3 JJ Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Torontonian – Perfect example of something that needs to be put out of its misery.

  4. 4 CK Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Well, why not? It’s been legal in the Netherlands and in Switzerland.
    In fact, in some cases in the Netherlands, it’s manditory to allow a patient to die when there is absolutely nothing more they can do for them. In other words, why prolong their agony?
    My grandmother who died in her nursing home in Rotterdam; no drama there; those who go that particular nursing home are DNR and it’s automatic that no heroic measures are taken to keep them alive artificially. They believe in keeping the patient as comfortable as possible during their last days and allowing them to die peacefully with dignity.

  5. 5 JJ Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm


    I’m not sure about this ’strictly regulated’ bit.

    Yeah — I think what they probably mean is to ensure that someone who’s depressed or whatever (not physically ill) shouldn’t qualify for euthanasia. Just those suffering horribly from terminal conditions that have no hope of getting better, and only continue to get worse.

  6. 6 JJ Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    CK – Sure. When a person has no hope of recovering, is getting worse and is ready and wants to die, there’s no reason why a medical professional should not be able to release them rather than wait for their body to fall apart and die screaming in agony (I’ve watched it happen). The state has no business in this decision.

    Geez, we treat our pets with more dignity.

  7. 7 CK Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I know, I’m actually in the midst of discussing this with my mom. My dad has advanced stage of Cirrhosis of the liver & may not qualify to be put on the wait list right away for a new liver.
    So, it’s plan B; what to do? My family & I have always been in support of the legalization of euthanasia; right to die with dignity. I still agree, but my mom is having a hard time accepting.

  8. 8 Green Assassin Brigade Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 4:59 am

    As I understand the Neatherlands system, to quality you must be
    1. cleared by a shrink as sane and not depressed
    2. make the decision before the pain becomes severe (so not to make a rash “oh shit this hurts” decision.
    3. and agree to the criteria for when.

    Of course you can back out at any time.

    I’m totaly in favour of this kind of legislation but because I don’t think it would pass any time soon, I have opium poppies in my personal seed bank collection in case I ever have need to grow them myself.

  9. 9 JJ Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:24 am

    CK – Sorry to hear about your dad. It’s so terrible to watch a loved one suffer.

    It is a terrible decision to make, even though the person who’s sick wants it. Nobody wants to be the one to pull the plug. When my mother was dying of pancreatic cancer, an especially virulent and painful disease, she literally begged me to kill her (ie. OD her with medication), but I just couldn’t. In spite of the fact that we’d had this discussion long before she got sick and we both agreed that if it came to a horrific illness that wasn’t getting better, we would release the person from their suffering. She ended up getting away on her own not long after, but at the end she was very angry at me for not helping her and I’ll always feel guilty that I let her suffer instead of doing the right thing.

    That’s why we need to be able to call upon medical professionals to help us.

  10. 10 JJ Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Green Assassin Brigade – That sounds about right to me for “regulations” or whatever they want to call them.

    I’m totaly in favour of this kind of legislation but because I don’t think it would pass any time soon, I have opium poppies in my personal seed bank collection in case I ever have need to grow them myself.

    Not a bad idea. The problem is that we often don’t know or admit to ourselves how sick we are until it’s too late, and we’re immobile or stuck in some hospital bed 😦

  11. 11 brebis noire Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I was alarmed when I heard this on the (English Quebec) news. I thought it was a mistranslation – putting euthanasia in there instead of assisted suicide. I don’t know if something was lost in translation, but if doctors can’t even make a distinction between assisted suicide and euthanasia, I don’t want them to be having this debate.

    I do euthanasias regularly – I’m a vet. I also sign euthanasia papers for the local SPA, and frankly, the reasons for them are rarely health-related. It’s almost always convenience and cost-related. I don’t want to pretend that this won’t be an issue with human medicine if we’re talking about euthanasia. Heck, I’m participating in projects to reduce euthanasia for animals.

    The bottom line is: euthanasia implies a lack of ability to consent. I don’t want to go there with humans.

  12. 12 brebis noire Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I should also add that I haven’t had particularly good first and second hand experiences(stories from friends, relatives and acquaintances) with the medical doctors in Quebec. I have serious issues with their training and competency compared to their colleagues in the rest of Canada, countries in Europe, and the US. If you compare their number of years of training with the rest of Canada, there are serious gaps in both ability and critical thinking skills. I would therefore tend to regard any of these types of debates with great suspicion.

    Nurses here are great though – very well-trained and professional.

  13. 14 JJ Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    Brebis – Maybe I’m the one who’s confused here. Euthanasia means assisted suicide, doesn’t it? Or at least includes assisted suicide? I hope

  14. 15 CK Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    JJ, the way I understand it is that euthanasia is such actions like turning off a respirator, unplugging life support machines, to stop feeding, etc. etc. IN other words, let nature take it’s course wihtout any artificial means.
    Assisted suicide is an actual act: usually a fatal drug cocktail of some kind.
    If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.

  15. 16 Jasper Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a fetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, or and old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying.” Also, we have no right “to ask for this act of killing” for ourselves or for those entrusted to our care; “nor can any authority legitimately recommend or permit such an action.” We are dealing here with a “violation of person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity.

  16. 17 JJ Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    CK – Isn’t euthanasia already in practice, ie. when people have Do Not Resuscitate clauses in their living wills?

    In any event, I’m in favour of both euthanasia and assisted suicide. No government or nattering religious nitwit (see above) has any right to tell me when and how I can end my life, and if necessary, I should have access to professional help to do it.

  17. 18 JJ Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Jasper – What are you quoting from, some papal encyclical? With all due respect, it’s meaningless drivel to an atheist.

    People’s bodies are their own property and they can do with them what they will. That includes deciding when it’s Game Over, in the case where someone has a terminal illness that’s not getting any better.

    It’s not like anyone would ever be forced to suicide against their will.

  18. 19 brebis noire Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Euthanasia would have to be specifically re-defined as assisted suicide, otherwise it’s more literal definition is “mercy killing” – and that is how people will understand it and rightly oppose it. Mercy killing is what we do for animals, without their consent, when we decide that they are suffering too much to be able to have any enjoyment in life, or when we decide that their suffering has become too inconvenient, messy or expensive to deal with. It is painfully obvious to me that if we call assisted suicide euthanasia then disabled and chronically ill people will feel threatened.

    I do not oppose assisted suicide within a proper regulatory and medical framework. I do oppose euthanasia.

  19. 20 JJ Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    brebis – I would think that euthanasia for humans would be a lot different than it is for animals — animals can’t tell us what they want, but people can. I couldn’t support just euthanizing people without their consent — it’s their body, their life, they decide. And if people haven’t made their wishes clear and they’re comatose, then it’s reasonable to err on the side of caution and keep them alive as long as possible.

  20. 21 brebis noire Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    JJ, I agree on both points. But we have to keep the terms clear otherwise people jump to what I think are reasonable conclusions about euthanasia. Sometimes people can’t express what they want, and it’s not that hard to think of examples and situations where a clear distinction between euthanasia and assisted suicide would be absolutely necessary. Consent is the key, as is how and when the consent is obtained.

  21. 22 brebis noire Friday, October 16, 2009 at 3:59 am

    Actually, it has to be more than consent – it has to be that the person has actively sought out the option. Not that it was proposed to them, or that they were talked into it by family members or a doctor.
    Unless the person seeks it out him or herself without prior instigation, it shouldn’t be considered.

  22. 23 toujoursdan Friday, October 16, 2009 at 7:14 am

    There are religious cases for assisted suicide under certain conditions.

    The Rev. John Cartwright makes one here:


    My church is still officially against assisted suicide. I am on the fence myself.

  23. 24 JJ Friday, October 16, 2009 at 8:41 am


    Actually, it has to be more than consent – it has to be that the person has actively sought out the option. Not that it was proposed to them, or that they were talked into it by family members or a doctor.

    Absolutely. I’m talking about people that are far too ill to be helped, in great suffering, and asking to be released from it. Not everyone wants to choose this option, especially religious people, and that’s fine. But if someone does, they shouldn’t be forced to continue suffering.

  24. 25 JJ Friday, October 16, 2009 at 8:43 am

    toujoursdan – Thanks for the link — what an interesting take from a religious standpoint. It makes sense:

    I do say that I find it incompatible with my conception of God that a patient be effectively tortured by being kept alive with no hope of anything but pain and deterioration. God would not want that to happen to me; he thinks more of me than that.

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