Final arguments begin in case of Quebecers seeking assisted death

MONTREAL — The case of two Quebecers who suffer from incurable degenerative diseases but are ineligible for medically assisted death is entering its final phase.

The parties are beginning final arguments today after 24 days of hearings in the challenge of the provincial and federal laws covering medical aid in dying. Arguments are scheduled to continue until Feb. 28.

Nicole Gladu and Jean Truchon are arguing before Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin that the laws are unconstitutional.

Under federal law, a person’s natural death must be “reasonably foreseeable” before they can receive medical assistance in dying. The Quebec law similarly says people must “be at the end of life.”

Because Gladu and Truchon did not meet the criteria, doctors turned down their requests.

They are asking the court to allow doctors to provide them with medical aid in dying and to invalidate the articles of the federal and provincial laws that blocked their requests. They argue the 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision that decriminalized medical aid in dying established suffering, not imminent death, as the most important consideration.