02/19/2014 02:03 EST | Updated 04/21/2014 05:59 EDT

PQ slams opposition for stalling on end-of-life bill

The Parti Québécois government is accusing the opposition parties of purposely stalling on end-of-life legislation.

Government house leader Stéphane Bédard said the PQ’s Bill 52 is an important one for Quebec society, and that the government was hoping to pass the bill this week before the budget gets tabled Thursday.

Bédard called Bill 52 a social priority that goes beyond party lines.

Two successive governments have worked on end-of-life legislation over the last four years. Quebec’s Committee on Dying with Dignity was assembled during Jean Charest’s time as premier and Liberal leader, and the work was continued by the PQ.

The committee tabled its report at the national assembly last June.

Bédard said 16,000 comments were sent in and hundreds of people were heard from on the hearings about the bill.

“Now we are in the final step, for which many of the people from opposition parties want to speak,” Bédard said in French.

Thirty opposition MNAs want to speak on the bill before the vote.

However, if Bill 52 is not passed this week and an election is called after a two-week break following the tabling of the budget, it could die on the order paper.

“There is a real possibility of an election,” Bédard said.

Bill 52 could be revived by the next government, but that’s not a risk the PQ wants to take. That has some opposition MNAs telling the party it's out of luck.

“When you [introduce] a budget, well the game is over after that. You cannot raise another bill because the budget is a priority bill, so the Péquistes are the sole and only responsible for that mess,” said Gérard Deltell of the Coalition Avenir Quebec.

Deltell said the CAQ was willing to cooperate on Bill 52, seeing as it is the culmination of four years of work by different governments.