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The article Assisted suicide should be an option for the terminally ill published in The Montreal Gazette deals with the topical issue of legalizing assisted suicide for people who suffer from excruciating pain, yet are lucid enough to make a responsible decision concerning their wish to die with appropriate medical assistance. This article belongs to the domain of criminal justice, namely to the topic of the introduction of new legislation and alteration of the provision of Canada’s Criminal Code that presupposes a jail sentence up to 14 years for assisting people to commit suicide.

One of the main proponents of the new legislation is Quebec’s junior health minister Veronique Hivon. She has already announced that the government of the province is going to introduce the legislation concerning assisted suicide for the terminally ill this year. The legislation is to be enacted only in the province of Quebec in accordance with the wishes of its citizens. Recent polls have shown that four out of five citizens of the province advocate for having a right to decide in favor of assisted dying if a person is terminally ill. Doctors and lawyers support this decision as well. The author of the article refers to the quotation of the eminent legal experts working on the legislation who think that it is essential for the contemporary society taking into consideration “the evolution of rights and the expectations of society”.

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The article is unbiased in terms of the issue as it gives arguments both in favor and against the new legislation. Opponents of the assisted dying decision regard the decriminalization of this phenomenon to be the slippery slope that will lead to more people choosing decide because of the societal and family pressure rather than because of their own wish to terminate their sufferings. However, the proponents of the legislation claim that it will include various safe measures that would ensure the legality of each particular case. If a person suffers from the Alzheimer’s disease, for instance, the law will require that the request for assisted dying should have been made when the patient was still lucid, but not longer than five years ago.

New legislation is in complete accordance with the public opinion concerning the issue of assisted dying in the province of Quebec. There are two possible ways to implement the law: either by adopting new clauses into the Criminal Code on the province level or to make sure that medical workers involved into assisted dying will not be charged for breaking the law. The decision that is to be made in Quebec is a reasonable and sensible one because it enables terminally ill patients die with dignity and on their own terms rather than to suffer from excruciating pain and other detrimental symptoms for years. Besides, the new legislation does not contradict in essence the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms stating that everyone should have the right to liberty and security, hence implying that everyone should have the right to decide in favor of assisted dying under particular circumstances.

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