Province should consider ‘advanced consent’ for Alzheimer’s patients in assisted dying law, urges MNA – Montreal

Granby MNA François Bonnardel personally knows the toll Alzheimer’s disease can take on a family.

Bonnardel’s mother was diagnosed with the disease about 15 years ago, and it has progressed to the point that she no longer walks, laughs or recognizes him at all.

Earlier this week, a Montreal man was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of his wife, who family members say had been living Alzheimer’s.

Bonnardel said in the wake of that incident, he believes it’s time to reopen the province’s doctor-assisted dying law and consider adding a section that would give people the right to consent in advance.

“I’m sure the discussion will be difficult for lots of people, but for me, I think that right now, in 2017, it’s time to have the discussion again,” said Bonnardel, a member of the Coalition Avenir Québec, in an interview with CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said the debate around advance consent is “very delicate.”

“If all political parties agree it’s time to put the question back on the table, we can and will have that discussion,” said Couillard.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said the issue of whether to include advanced consent in current legislation is not just a legal question, but a question of humanity. (Radio-Canada)

No advanced consent in Quebec nor in Canada

Canada and Quebec currently have two separate laws governing medical assistance in dying.

Quebec’s law, which is narrower than the recently passed federal version, requires that applicants “be at the end of life.”

The federal law restricts doctor-assisted death to adults with a “foreseeable” death.

Neither law allows for advance consent, which would allow terminally ill patients to express their interest in medical aid in dying while they are still cognitively competent.

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