Nicole Gladu and Jean Truchon, the two Montrealers who challenged the country’s assisted dying laws, say a ruling that deemed parts of the provincial and federal laws too restrictive should be seen as a victory for those who struggle with debilitating conditions.
Speaking before reporters at their lawyer’s office, Gladu said she views the decision, issued Wednesday, as a “ray of hope” in a life that has become increasingly difficult.
“Now, it’s really a matter of personal decision. It’s up to me or it’s up to Mr. Truchon or other people like us to decide if we prefer the quality of life to the quantity of life,” Gladu said.
She has post-polio syndrome, a condition that has weakened her muscles and reactivated her childhood scoliosis.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Christine Baudouin determined the provision in the existing assisted-dying laws that requires death to be “reasonably foreseeable” is an infringement on the “life, liberty and security of the person” under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Baudouin gave the federal and provincial governments six months to come up with something new before suspending that provision of the law.
It also granted an exemption to Gladu and Truchon that allows them to apply for medically assisted death immediately.
When asked about her next steps, Gladu said she is still “digesting” the judgments and wants to consult with her friends before deciding what to do.
“I don’t know,” said Gladu, speaking alongside Truchon at the office of their lawyer.
“It’s a politician’s answer, but believe me, I don’t know.”
Speaking through a friend, given his own difficulties with speech, Truchon said he will live through the winter and spring and, “after that, we’ll see.”
Truchon, who has cerebral palsy and no longer has the use of his four limbs, said the ruling represents a “victory for social justice” and gives people the right to die, which he sees as “a privilege.”
The federal and provincial governments have 30 days to appeal the decision.