Friday, August 19, 2022

Canada ignored warnings that its euthanasia law immediately went too far.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tristan Hopper wrote an excellent article that was published in the National Post on August 19, 2022 concerning the many stories that have been published in the past few months concerning the many unexpected victims of Canada's euthanasia law. Hopper examines the law based on how the law went too far from its inception.

Hopper writes:
Barely a week now goes by without some new case emerging of a sick Canadian being offered assisted death in lieu of treatment. Most recently, it was a Canadian combat veteran who was casually offered the option of dying after he approached Veteran Affairs Canada for help with his PTSD.

It’s a nightmare scenario that was envisioned by no shortage of ethicists and health figures when assisted death was first written into Canadian law. But with few exceptions, these warnings were ignored by the various court rulings that ultimately forced Canada into adopting the world’s most permissive regime of legal euthanasia.
Hopper points out that the Supreme Court of Canada 1993 Rodriguez decision stated that:
“Given the concerns about abuse and the great difficulty in creating appropriate safeguards, the blanket prohibition on assisted suicide is not arbitrary or unfair”
Whereas the Supreme Court of Canada 2015 Carter decision that legalized euthanasia nearly ignored the concerns about abuse even though experts witnesses explained how the safeguards in Belgium and the Netherlands have become an illusion, the Supreme Court responded by stating that the Belgium experience was:
“the product of a very different medico-legal culture” and said it offered no lessons for Canada.
Hopper quotes from NDP MP Joe Comartin, who during the parliamentary debate warned that:
“mercy killings” becoming a regular component of an underfunded Canadian health-care system. “The risk we have is sending a message to the country that life is expendable, that we are prepared to say that we do not care enough for people to take care of them”
Conservative MP Joy Smith quoted from Theo Boer, a Dutch bioethicist and former member of the euthanasia commission who had supported euthanasia and then changed his mind:
“Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again"
Hopper quotes from John C. Wootten who was published in the CMAJ as stating:
MAID’s core issue was that it was a 100 per cent successful procedure, with no way of telling whether it was a mistake. “Because few other medical acts can be accomplished with such impunity, we are likely to become more and more comfortable with it, and more and more permissive as times goes by,” he wrote.
Hopper then points out that the 2019 Truchon and Gladu Quebec court decision continued the delusion that there are no fears of abuse. Hopper writes:
In the 2019 decision Truchon and Gladu v. Canada, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that extending assisted suicide only to Canadians with terminal illnesses was similarly a violation of the “security of the person.”

“The fact that doubts have been raised is one thing, but any possible ‘slippery slope’ remains theoretical,” it read.
Hopper explains that the Truchon decision led to the passing of Bill C-7 in March 2021 which allowed euthanasia for people with chronic but not terminal conditions, it eliminated the 10-day waiting period for people who are dying and it extended euthanasia to people with mental illness alone to be instituted in March 2023.

Alan Nichols (left side)
He concludes his article with one of the most egregious stories of euthanasia abuse in Canada by writing about the euthanasia death of Alan Nichols. Hopper writes:
Last June, the Medical Assistance in Dying Committee heard from Trish Nichols, whose suicidal and severely mentally ill brother Alan was given assisted death at a Chilliwack, B.C., hospital in 2019, at a time when MAID was still limited only to Canadians with a terminal illness.

Alan had been taken by his family to the hospital only days before to recover from a psychiatric episode, and in the minutes before he received a lethal injection, Trish described Alan screaming uncontrollably, despite the hospital’s assurances that he had opted for a medically assisted death while “of sound mind.”

“Would you feel safe now, bringing your suicidal loved one to seek medical care for recovery when there are no oversight or stringent safeguards surrounding a procedure that kills people?” Nichols told the committee.
Hopper only misses one point. The committee that Trish Nichols was speaking to is debating the expansion of Canada's euthanasia law to children - "mature minors" -to requests by advanced directive, and to determine the rules for killing people for mental illness alone.

Here are some links to more stories of abuse of euthanasia in Canada:
  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Will future Canadians apologize to people with disabilities for euthanasia?

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Charles Lane
Charles Lane wrote an insightful opinion article that was published by the Washington Post on August 17, 2022 titled: Will future Canadians owe the disabled an apology for euthanasia? Lane bases his article on the recent apology by Pope Francis to Canada's Indigenous community and relates it to the recent cases of people with disabilities who are living in poverty or with mental illness dying by euthanasia.

Lane writes:
These permissive standards may be resulting in avoidable death or distress for vulnerable people, and disability rights advocates are expressing concern, as Maria Cheng of the Associated Press reported Aug. 11.

She told the story of 61-year-old Alan Nichols, who requested — and received — euthanasia less than a month after entering a British Columbia hospital in June 2019 suffering from suicidal thoughts, dehydration and malnutrition. The decision was apparently based on a medical history that included serious but typically non-life-threatening conditions such as depression and hearing loss.

His grief-stricken family has sought explanations as to how doctors could have found their loved one competent to “choose” death much less needful of it. “Somebody needs to take responsibility so that it never happens to another family,” Trish Nichols, Alan’s sister-in-law, told Cheng.

Cheng described the case of a man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, who felt driven to seek euthanasia because British Columbia officials would not provide him adequate support to live at home. In a case separately reported by Canadian media this year, a 31-year-old Toronto woman with a disability sought and received approval for euthanasia after what she said was a futile search for safe housing — only to decide to continue living after private parties helped her find an appropriate dwelling.
Lane also reports Cheng as writing that Canada does not require people to attempt effective treatments before dying by euthanasia, which is likely to lead to euthanasia for people who could have got better. Lane also refers to Cheng stating that:
Last year, a top United Nations disability rights official wrote to Trudeau advising him that legalizing euthanasia for the non-terminally ill creates an implied negative judgment on “the value or quality of life of persons with disabilities.”
There have been more sad stories of people with disabilities or those with mental illness or poverty, being urged to consider, being approved for, and/or dying by euthanasia.

Here are some links to some of these stories:
  • Veterans affairs worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD (Link).
  • Shopping for doctor death in Canada (Link).
  • Gwen is seeking euthanasia because she can't access medical treatment (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long Covid and poverty (Link).
  • Canada's MAiD law is the most permissive in the world. (Link).
Lane then writes that Canada is expanding euthanasia to people with mental illness alone which he says is "a practice that has led to controversy over alleged abuses in Belgium and the Netherlands." Lane concludes:
"One of the most haunting aspects of the Canadian Indian Residential School system was that one of Canada’s worst historical crimes was managed and defended by people who fervently believed they were doing the right thing for ‘the Indian,’” Tristin Hopper wrote in the National Post last year.

As they expand euthanasia today, Canadians should bear in mind that they, too, are subject to the law of unintended consequences and to the judgment of future generations.
Either future Canadians will apologize for euthanizing people with disabilities, mental illness, the poor and the chronically ill, or our culture will become hardened to the needs of others and the culture will expect people in these circumstances to die.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Ontario doctor charged with 4 counts of first degree murder. Canada needs to re-evaluate its euthanasia law.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Brian Nadler (36) a doctor who practised medicine in Hawkesbury Ontario, was charged with one count of first degree murder in July 2021 and was charged today with three more counts of first degree murder.

According to a CBC News report:
Nadler was originally charged with one count of first-degree murder in the death of 89-year-old Albert Poidinger of Pointe-Claire, Que. Poidinger was a patient at the Hawkesbury and District General Hospital, which is located between Ottawa and Montreal.

The three most recent alleged victims are 80-year-old Claire Briere of Rigaud, Que., 79-year-old Lorraine Lalande of Hawkesbury and 93-year-old Judith Lungulescu of East Hawkesbury Township.
The Nadler case, and other cases of medical killings, should cause the Canadian government to re-evaluate its euthanasia (MAiD) law.

Canada's euthanasia law employs imprecise "safeguards" to regulate "MAiD." A person must request death but the safeguards only require a physician or nurse practitioner to be of the opinion that the person fits the criteria of the law.

When parliament passed Bill C-7 in March 2021, they eliminated the 10-day reflection period for terminally ill people, meaning a person can ask to die and be killed on the same day. Bill C-7 eliminated the requirement that a person be competent at the time of death and it permitted euthanasia for mental illness alone (with a 2-year-moratorium to provide time to develop regulations). The committee that was charged with developing regulations has suggested that no new regulations are needed for euthanasia for mental illness alone.

Further to that, a parliamentary committee is currently debating permitting euthanasia by advanced directive and euthanasia for children.

Why should Nadler's alleged deaths lead to changes to Canada's MAiD law?

With the loosening of regulations, combined with the imprecise language of the law, it will become very difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate between alleged acts of intentionally overdosing patients and killing patients outright by euthanasia based on the opinion that person fits the criteria of the law.

Nadler's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, told CBC news that:
Nadler will be "vigorously defended" by the law firm.

"All four patients died of COVID-19 and Dr. Nadler provided excellent palliative care. When the facts are fully presented, we are confident that he will be vindicated,"
The question is, based on the language of Canada's MAiD law, whether it is possible to differentiate between intentional medical murder and legal euthanasia.

Veterans Affairs Canada worker advocates euthanasia for PTSD.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sean Boynton and Mercedes Stephenson reported for Global News on August 16 that a Veterans Affairs Canada employee advocated (MAiD) euthanasia for a veteran who is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a traumatic brain injury. According to the report:
A Canadian Forces veteran seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury was shocked when he was unexpectedly and casually offered medical assistance in dying by a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) employee, sources tell Global News.

Sources say a VAC service agent brought up medical assistance in dying, or MAID, unprompted in the conversation with the veteran. Global News is not identifying the veteran who was seeking treatment.
According to the report, the veteran did not bring up MAiD and was disturbed by the suggestion. The news report stated:
Sources close to the veteran say he and his family were disgusted by the conversation, and feel betrayed by the agency mandated to assist veterans. The sources said the veteran was seeking services to recover from injuries suffered in the line of duty, and had been experiencing positive improvements in his mental and physical health. They say the unprompted offer of MAID disrupted his progress and has been harmful to the veteran’s progress and his family’s wellbeing.
A further report by Boynton and Stephenson interviewed experts who care for veterans with PTSD and brain injuries, who stated that veterans living with these conditions often experience suicidal thoughts. The report quotes retired Sgt Tobias Miller, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan:
“(My fear is) can somebody who’s on a razor’s edge be pushed in the wrong direction or negatively impacted by a suggestion … of something like medical assistance in dying?”

“When you have to fight daily against your own brain telling you things that you don’t want to hear, I sort of question how a department whose sole job is to care for us and to help us heal would step in and … make an offering that could see veterans harm themselves.”
Boyton and Stephenson also interviewed Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, who said that advocating for MAiD among veterans living with PTSD is "flat out wrong."

Sgt Miller told the authors that he had sustained a traumatic brain injury from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD. Miller said that
he personally experienced hearing negative and even suicidal “voices” in his head before learning how to “fight that voice and ignore it.”
Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay told Global News that this will never happen again.

This is one of many stories proving that euthanasia (MAiD) has grown out of control in Canada.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Canada is getting comfortable with killing people with disabilities.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Tristin Hopper wrote an insightful article that was published in the National Post on August 15 titled: Canada is getting comfortable with killing its disabled.

Roger Foley
Hopper focuses on several stories concerning people with disabilities who have been pressured to die or have died by euthanasia. Many of these people have disabilities and were also living in poverty.

Hopper writes about Roger Foley of London, Ontario, who did not ask for euthanasia but was urged to ask for it. Hopper writes:
This week, a feature by the Associated Press quoted secretly recorded audio from a London, Ont. hospital that appeared to show a medical ethicist raising the subject of euthanasia with a disabled patient, Roger Foley, after reminding him that he was costing the system “north of $1,500 a day.”

Foley told the AP that he had never previously expressed a desire for medically assisted death, and began recording the staff after they kept mentioning it to see if he had “an interest.”
There are people with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities) who were approved for euthanasia because they couldn't afford a clean place to live. Hopper writes:
There was “Sophia,” a 51-year-old Toronto woman with severe chemical sensitivities who took MAID after she was unable to find an affordable home free of the smell of smoke or chemical cleaners. “Denise,” a 31-year-old Toronto woman, similarly pursued euthanasia as a result of what she called “abject poverty” preventing her from securing appropriate accommodation for a variety of chronic conditions.
Alan Nichols
Alan Nichols died by euthanasia even though he was not terminally ill, but experiencing depression. Hopper wrote:
Alan Nichols, a severely depressed B.C. man, was administered MAID shortly after being taken to the hospital by his family for a psychiatric episode. “They killed our brother,” Nichols’ brother Wayne told the National Post.
Gwen (not her real name), a woman with chronic pain, says that euthanasia will remove patients like her. Hopper quotes Gwen, who said the The Tyee:
“It’s eugenics, because they don’t want us to be properly supported and be OK. And if we don’t have family to take care of us, it’s ‘Please just go and die,’”
Hopper also quotes from Mark Komrad, a psychiatrist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, who argues that Canada's law:
“...will provide, not prevent, suicide for some psychiatric patients,”
Hopper also quotes from a report by a team of United Nations special rapporteurs, who warned that Canada’s liberalization of euthanasia posed dire threats to its elderly:
“There is a grave concern that, if assisted dying is made available for all persons with a health condition or impairment … a social assumption might follow (or be subtly reinforced) that it is better to be dead than to live with a disability.”
Hopper quotes from all of these news stories while acknowledging that the number of Canadian euthanasia deaths have increased significantly:
MAID has seen a dramatic upswing in recent years. In 2020, nearly 7,600 Canadians ended their lives via euthanasia, a 17 per cent increase over the year prior. In disproportionately elderly regions like Vancouver Island, MAID is now the cause of 7.5 per cent of all deaths.
Hopper does miss the recent federal report which indicated that there were more than 10,000 Canadian euthanasia deaths in 2021.

These human experiences, along with many others, provide no surprise that the world is wondering why Canada is euthanizing its poor

The real question is: Has the federal government recognized that their experiment with legalized euthanasia has failed and is now out-of-control?

Friday, August 12, 2022

‘Disturbing’: Experts troubled by Canada’s euthanasia laws

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Maria Cheng published an investigative report for the Associated Press on August 11 titled: 'Disturbing': Experts troubled by Canada's euthanasia laws.

Cheng interviews the family of Alan Nichols, Marie-Claude Landry, Tim Stainton, Theresia Degener, Trudo Lemmens, Heidi Janz, and others.

Cheng opens the article by writing about the euthanasia death of Alan Nichols. Cheng writes:
Alan Nichols had a history of depression and other medical issues, but none were life-threatening. When the 61-year-old Canadian was hospitalized in June 2019 over fears he might be suicidal, he asked his brother to “bust him out” as soon as possible.

Within a month, Nichols submitted a request to be euthanized and he was killed, despite concerns raised by his family and a nurse practitioner.

His application for euthanasia listed only one health condition as the reason for his request to die: hearing loss.

Nichols’ family reported the case to police and health authorities, arguing that he lacked the capacity to understand the process and was not suffering unbearably — among the requirements for euthanasia. They say he was not taking needed medication, wasn’t using the cochlear implant that helped him hear, and that hospital staffers improperly helped him request euthanasia.

“Alan was basically put to death,” his brother Gary Nichols said.
Alan & Gary Nichols
Trudo Lemmens, the chair of health law and policy at the University of Toronto, referred to the Nichols case as disturbing. Lemmen states:
“This case demonstrates that the rules are too loose and that even when people die who shouldn’t have died, there is almost no way to hold the doctors and hospitals responsible,”
Marie-Claude Landry, the head of Canada's Human Rights Commission tells Cheng that 
Nichols' euthanasia death is not unique. Landry states that:
she shares the “grave concern” voiced last year by three U.N. human rights experts, who wrote that Canada’s euthanasia law appeared to violate the agency’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They said the law had a “discriminatory impact” on disabled people and was inconsistent with Canada’s obligations to uphold international human rights standards.
Tim Stainton, director of the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, told Cheng that Canada's euthanasia law is
“probably the biggest existential threat to disabled people since the Nazis’ program in Germany in the 1930s.”
Cheng then tells the story of Sean Tagert, who died by euthanasia in August 2019. Cheng writes:
Some disabled Canadians have decided to be killed in the face of mounting bills.

Before being euthanized in August 2019 at age 41, Sean Tagert struggled to get the 24-hour-a-day care he needed. The government provided Tagert, who had Lou Gehrig’s disease, with 16 hours of daily care at his home in Powell River, British Columbia. He spent about 264 Canadian dollars ($206) a day to pay coverage during the other eight hours.

Health authorities proposed that Tagert move to an institution, but he refused, saying he would be too far from his young son. He called the suggestion “a death sentence” in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Before his death, Tagert had raised more than CA$16,000 ($12,400) to buy specialized medical equipment he needed to live at home with caretakers. But it still wasn’t enough.

“I know I’m asking for change,” Tagert wrote in a Facebook post before his death. “I just didn’t realize that was an unacceptable thing to do.”
Heidi Janz, an assistant adjunct professor in Disability Ethics at the University of Alberta, tells Cheng that: 
“a person with disabilities in Canada has to jump through so many hoops to get support that it can often be enough to tip the scales” and lead them to euthanasia.
Cheng continues by telling the story of Roger Foley, who was urged by hospital staff to request euthanasia:
Roger Foley, who has a degenerative brain disorder and is hospitalized in London, Ontario, was so alarmed by staffers mentioning euthanasia that he began secretly recording some of their conversations.

In one recording obtained by the AP, the hospital’s director of ethics told Foley that for him to remain in the hospital, it would cost “north of $1,500 a day.” Foley replied that mentioning fees felt like coercion and asked what plan there was for his long-term care.

“Roger, this is not my show,” the ethicist responded. “My piece of this was to talk to you, (to see) if you had an interest in assisted dying.”

Foley said he had never previously mentioned euthanasia. The hospital says there is no prohibition on staff raising the issue.
Catherine Frazee, a professor emerita at Toronto’s Ryerson University, referred to Roger Foley's case as a "tip of the iceberg. " Frazee told Cheng the story of Candice Lewis in Newfoundland:
Candice Lewis, a 25-year-old woman who has cerebral palsy and spina bifida. Lewis’ mother, Sheila Elson, took her to an emergency room in Newfoundland five years ago. During her hospital stay, a doctor said Lewis was a candidate for euthanasia and that if her mother chose not to pursue it, that would be “selfish,” Elson told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Cheng ends the article by quoting from Marie-Claude Landry who stated:
leaders should listen to the concerns of those facing hardships who believe euthanasia is their only option. She called for social and economic rights to be enshrined in Canadian law to ensure people can get adequate housing, health care and support.

“In an era where we recognize the right to die with dignity, we must do more to guarantee the right to live with dignity,” she said.
Canada's government has been committed to expanding its euthanasia law and is now debating expanding euthanasia to children ("mature minors"), incompetent people who requested it in their power of attorney for healthcare document, and for reasons of mental illness alone.

Canada needs to re-evaluate its euthanasia law and reverse its current permissive legal euthanasia law.

Links to more articles on Canada's euthanasia law:
  • Shopping for a death doctor in Canada (Link).
  • Canada: More than 10,000 euthanasia deaths in 2021 (Link).
  • Canada's ever-expanding euthanasia law (Link).
  • Euthanasia for disability and poverty (Link).
  • Euthanasia for Long-Covid and poverty (Link).
  • A message to the world. Don't legalize euthanasia (Link).
  • Canada's euthanasia law is the most permissive in the world (Link).

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Support Alex Schadenberg running a half marathon fund-raiser on September 24.

Support Compassionate Community Care (CCC) or the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) as Alex Schadenberg runs a half marathon (21.1 KM) at Hamilton Bay on Saturday September 24, 2022. 

This is the third year for Alex running a half-marathon fund-raiser for CCC and EPC. This run is organized for this purpose and is not combined with another event.

Similar to previous years, Alex will be running with Marcel Lemmen and a few others. If you are interested in joining the run email: alex@epcc.ca

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition informs, educates, and lobbies in opposition to killing by euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Donate to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, which is not a charity, at: (Donation Link).

Compassionate Community Care is a charity that operates a help-line, it provides a training program for visiting seniors and others, it has developed an advocacy training program and it is currently doing a survey of seniors experiences with loneliness and isolation.

Charitable donations are made to Compassionate Community Care at: (Donation Link).


Monday, August 8, 2022

Ireland is establishing a committee to examine euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

In July 2021, an Irish euthanasia bill passed in the Irish Dáil ant then stopped by the Oireachtas Committee on Justice based on the language of the bill. The bill was sponsored by People before Profit TD Gino Kenny.

The Journal reported on July 15
that a special Oireachtas Committee will likely begin in October to examine the issue of euthanasia.

The Journal reported that:
The Oireachtas Justice Committee recommended the formation of a special committee on the issue earlier this year, after finding that the proposed legislation had “serious technical issues” and warranted more detailed examination.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urges the Oireachtas Justice Committee to analyze the Canadian experience and then reject euthanasia. Legalizing euthanasia abandons people to death at a vulnerable time of their life.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Man who shot a Spanish police officer will avoid trial and die by euthanasia.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Stephen Burgen for the Guardian reports that Marin Eugen Sabau, a 46-year-old Romanian man who is awaiting trial for injuring 5 people after shooting them at a Securitas office in Tarragona Spain last December will avoid his trial because he has been approved to die by euthanasia. Sabau was shot in the spine by a police sharp-shooter.

Burgen reports:
The national court in Tarragona upheld an earlier court ruling that, given his condition, Sabau had a right to euthanasia under a law passed last year. The court said the law had not anticipated a situation in which a person facing criminal charges might request assisted dying.
Sabau requested euthanasia based on the fact that his injury from being shot in the spine enabled him to qualify for euthanasia in Spain.

The lawyer for Jose Antonio Bitos, one of the injured officers, argued that Sabau should not avoid his trial or conviction by euthanasia. The lawyer appealed the lower court ruling permitting Sabau's death by euthanasia. The national court upheld the lower court decision.

I am very concerned with the direction of the Spanish euthanasia law. The court stated that euthanasia is a fundamental right. If euthanasia is a fundamental right, then all of the restrictions in the law will someday be removed from the law. You cannot limit a fundamental right.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Shopping for a death doctor in Canada.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

A CBC news report suggests that Canadians who are turned down for MAiD (euthanasia) three times, just need to find another doctor or nurse who is willing to kill them.

Priscilla Ki Sun Hwang reported for CBC news on August 3, 2022 that Margaret Bristow was declared ineligible for (MAiD) euthanasia by assessors in Ottawa three times but then approved for euthanasia in Brampton. According to the report:
Bristow said she applied for medical assistance in dying, also called MAID, three times since the procedure was decriminalized in 2016 — twice prior and once after the recent legislative changes in 2021 broadened the eligibility criteria for patients.

All three times, she said, her Ottawa assessors declared her ineligible.
Bristow said that her family doctor got her in contact with (MAiD) euthanasia assessors in Toronto this Spring. The CBC report states that she is now scheduled to die by euthanasia on August 10 in Brampton and she chose to have it done in a hospital so that she could donate her organs.

Priscilla Ki Sun Hwang interviews Dr. Chantal Perrot, a Toronto family physician and (MAID) provider who explains that many people travel across Ontario or even to another province to die by euthanasia. Perrot states:
Each assessor comes to a clinical decision regarding a patient's eligibility on a case-by-case basis, based on their interpretation of the legislation, the patient's history and conditions, she explained.

"It happens not infrequently that a person will be found ineligible by one assessor, but found eligible by somebody else,"
Shopping for a death doctor is not uncommon in Canada. If one doctor or nurse decides that a person is ineligible another doctor might find them eligible for death.

The 2021 Health Canada euthanasia report stated that only 487 (4%) of the euthanasia requests were declared to be ineligible that year and yet Bristow was turned down three times. There may be more to this story.

When Canada was debating euthanasia legislation in 2016 I recognized that the law lacked clear standards or definitions and I predicted that people could shop for a death doctor. Sadly this CBC report will encourage other people who have been declared ineligible for euthanasia to seek an assessment from a doctor or nurse who will approve their death.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Ontario euthanasia deaths continue to rise in 2022.

Alex Schadenberg
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Yesterday I reported that Health Canada released the Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada (2021)The report stated that there were: 10,064 assisted deaths in 2021 up from 7603 in 2020. Approximately 1740 euthanasia deaths were based on loneliness and isolation.

The 2021 federal report indicated that the number of reported assisted deaths increased by 32.4% and represented 3.3% of all Canadian deaths.

Euthanasia continues to increase.

The Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario released the June 2022 MAiD data which indicates that there were 1822 reported assisted deaths in the first six months of 2022 and 11,620 reported assisted deaths since euthanasia was legalized. The Ontario data is important because it is regularly released and Ontario represents 39% of Canada's population.

The June 2022 Ontario monthly data also showed a significant increase with 334 reported assisted deaths as compared to 281 in June 2021.

The growth in killing by lethal injection continues. According to the data: 
Jan 1 - June 30, 2022 (1822 reported assisted deaths),
July 1 - Dec 31, 2021 (1739 reported assised deaths),
Jan 1 - June 30, 2021 (1363 reported assisted deaths), 
July 1 - Dec 31, 2020 (1251 reported assisted deaths),
Jan 1 - June 30, 2020 (1127 reported assisted deaths).
 
Is there enough killing yet?

Canada's federal government established a committee to discuss further expansions of euthanasia in Canada. This committee is considering euthanasia for incompetent people who requested death in their advanced directive, euthanasia for children and the rules to implement euthanasia for people with mental illness alone. Bill C-7 already approved euthanasia for mental illness alone but the government has not established the killing guidelines yet.

Further to that recently there have been many media stories indicating that Canadians are now dying by euthanasia for reasons of poverty, disability, and mental illness. The world wonders why Canada is euthanizing the poor.

We need your help. Thousands of deaths means that there are thousands of stories. We need you to tell your story. Some of the people were depressed and had questionable competency. Some of these people were subtly coerced. Some of these stories are known by you. We can effectively challenge the culture but we need your stories. 

Contact Alex Schadenberg at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition at: info@epcc.ca or 1-877-439-3348.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Canada releases 2021 euthanasia report. More than 10,000 deaths representing 3.3% of all deaths.

"At least 1740 people died by euthanasia (2021) for loneliness and isolation"

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Health Canada recently released the Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada (2021). The data is gathered from the reports submitted by the medical or nurse practitioners who carried out the euthanasia death. There is no requirement that a third party or neutral person submit the reports to ensure their accuracy.

Canadian euthanasia data.

Comparing the Third Annual report (2021) to the Second Annual Report (2020), the report states that there were: 10,064 assisted deaths in 2021 up from 7603 in 2020, 5661 in 2019, 4480 in 2018, 2838 in 2017 and 1018 in 2016.

The report indicates that the number of assisted deaths increased by 32.4% representing 3.3% of all deaths in 2021.

When all data sources are considered, the total of number of euthanasia (MAiD) reported assisted deaths in Canada from legalization to December 31, 2021 is 31,664.

Regional differences.

The report indicates that euthanasia represented 3.3% of all deaths, which was up from 2.5% in 2021. The data indicates a big difference in the percentage of euthanasia deaths between provinces. According to the data the percentage of all deaths that were euthanasia increased in all provinces notably:
  • British Columbia: 4.8% in 2021 up from 3.8% in 2020,
  • Quebec: 4.7% in 2021 up from 3.0% in 2020. 
  • Prince Edward Island 2.9% in 2021 up from 2.8% in 2020. 
  • Ontario: 2.7% in 2021 up from 2.1% in 2020. 
  • Newfoundland was the lowest with 1.2% in 2021 up from 0.9% in 2020.

The report indicated that due to the passing of Bill C-7 in March 2021, 2.2% of the assisted deaths were people whose natural death was not reasonably foreseeable.

How did Bill C-7 expand eligibility for euthanasia in Canada?

This is the first Health Canada MAiD report since the federal government expanded eligibility for euthanasia (MAiD) in March 2021 by passing Bill C-7.

  1. Bill C-7 removed the requirement that a person’s natural death be reasonably foreseeable to qualify for assisted death. Therefore, people who are not terminally ill could die by euthanasia. 
  2. Bill C-7 permitted a doctor or nurse practitioner to lethally inject a person who is incapable of consenting, if that person was previously approved for assisted death. Therefore, incompetent people can die by euthanasia in Canada. 
  3. Bill C-7 waived the ten-day waiting period if a person's natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable. Thus, a person could request euthanasia on a "bad day" and die the same day. 
  4. Bill C-7 created a two-track law. A person whose natural death is deemed to be reasonably foreseeable has no waiting period, while a person whose natural death is not deemed to be reasonably foreseeable has a 90-day waiting period before being killed by lethal injection. 
  5. Bill C-7 approved euthanasia for mental illness alone, but established a two-year moratorium on euthanasia for mental illness alone to create guidelines.

The data indicates that there were 12,286 written requests for MAID in 2021 representing an increase of 27.7% over the number of written requests in 2020. The majority of the written requests (9,950 or 81.0%) resulted in an assisted death. There must be some missing reports. The data states the 9,950 written requests resulted in euthanasia, but there were 10,064 reported euthanasia deaths.

There were 2,336 requests (19.0%) that resulted in an outcome other than MAID.

  • 231 individuals withdrew their request (1.9% of written requests); 
  • 487 individuals were deemed ineligible (4.0% of written requests); and  
  • 1,618 individuals died prior to receiving MAID (13.2% of written requests).

It is concerning that only 4% of the written requests were deemed ineligible. The Netherlands and Belgium have higher rates of people being deemed ineligible.

Reasons for requesting euthanasia.

The main reasons for requesting euthanasia were

  • the loss of ability to engage in meaningful activities (86.3%), 
  • loss of ability to perform activities of daily living (83.4%), and 
  • inadequate control of pain, or concern about controlling pain (57.6%).

It is concerning that approximately 1740 people (17.3%) died by euthanasia based on loneliness and isolation. Many people with significant medical conditions also live with loneliness and isolation. Social isolation and loneliness require a compassionate caring community, not death by lethal injection.

Inadequate control of pain or concern about controlling pain were reasons for 57.6% of the requests for euthanasia, and yet the report states that 80.7% of the people who requested euthanasia were "receiving palliative care." Being enrolled in palliative care and receiving palliative care are different. A study needs to be done to determine how many people who died by euthanasia were actually receiving palliative care.

The federal euthanasia report essentially provides basic data that is not analysed.

Québec is the only province that provides an analysis of the euthanasia reports, and has a multiple reporting system that may uncover discrepancies in the reports.

Amy Hasbrouck, the past President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, examined the Québec report data (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021). Hasbrouck reported that since Québec has a multiple reporting system, the data indicates a discrepancy between the 2426 euthanasia reports submitted by doctors and the 2688 euthanasia reports submitted by hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities. A discrepancy of 262 deaths.

Since Québec reviews the euthanasia reports, the Québec report indicated that at least 7 of the euthanasia deaths did not fit the criteria of the law. Canada's federal report does not analyze the reports; it only provides data from the reports. Research needs to be done to ensure compliance with the law.

Sadly, Canada has quickly become the most permissive euthanasia regime in the world. Further to that, a Canadian government committee is examining expanding the law to include euthanasia for children, "mature minors," and euthanasia for incompetent people.

Recent stories indicate that Canadians are now dying by euthanasia for reasons of poverty, disability, and mental illness.

It appears that the horse has already left the barn, but I have hope that Canadians will recognize that the slope we have chosen is very slippery and the direction needs reversing, not accelerating.

We need a caring community, not a killing community.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Canadian Virtual Hospice promotes euthanasia book for children

 The Canadian Virtual Hospice (virtualhospice.ca) has published an "activity book" aimed at normalizing euthanasia (MAiD) for children.

A web-based resource launched in 2004 to be a “platform [that] could address some of the national gaps in palliative care,” the Canadian Virtual Hospice was the first attempt at connecting Canadians with an array of health specialists online to help them face the daunting task of accompanying their ill and dying loved ones at the end of their lives. As reported on its website, “visits to Virtual Hospice continue to climb – from 34,000 in 2004 to 2.3 million in 2020,” which bespeaks the desperate need to shore up this crucial yet often-overlooked segment in healthcare.

On July 26th, 2022, The Canadian Virtual Hospice, which gets funding from such organizations as the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Health Canada, and Veteran Affaires Canada, announced its newest children's resource available on its website:

The activity book is replete with vibrant colours, graphics, and a juvenile font, and includes a section that explains the three "medicines" taken to kill a human being. On page 4, Step number 3 states:

The third medicine makes the person’s lungs stop breathing and then their heart stops beating. Because of the coma, the person does not notice this happening and it does not hurt. When their heart and lungs stop working, their body dies.

Meanwhile, some doctors have actually been frank in their admissions that they have no idea whether euthanasia “does not hurt,” since, as reported in a recent National Post article, during the euthanasia procedure: 

Monitors aren’t used. There are no monitors measuring brain waves or heart activity. Doctors say it would take away from the intimacy of the experience for the person and the family. 

This reassurance has also been challenged by Dr. Joel Zivot, an anesthesiologist and critical care doctor at Emory University School of Medicine who has studied how lethal injections impact prisoners' bodies; he has called both for autopsies to be done on MAiD deaths to see exactly how the poison impacted the body, and for paralyzing agents to not be used in the procedure in order to have a more realistic assessment of the MAiD recipient’s experience (link).

While the activity book contains “helpful” exercises such as suggested questions the child can ask the would-be MAiD recipient and a feelings chart, Twitter user Dr. Christopher Lyon (@ChristophLyon) pointed out the inability of the activity book to address the fundamentally flawed premise behind assisted death – the fact that doctors cause a death instead of stopping it – and thus, it can't help the child process the trauma of a betrayal of their trust in healthcare providers:

Even more disturbing, the MAID to MAD initiative (@VulnerableC7) pointed out the similarity in branding between the “Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) Activity book” and the “Me and My Illness” activity books that The Virtual Hospice provides, both aimed at children:

If the message being sent with this colourful and engaging activity book is that euthanasia is a normal, innocuous act that *doesn’t hurt* and is appropriate for anyone who is in pain, how can a sick and/or suffering child escape the conclusion that it may be an appropriate solution for them - especially once MAiD is extended to mature minors?

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Gwen is seeking euthanasia (MAiD) because she can't access medical treatment.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition


Canadians are seeking death by euthanasia (MAiD) because they are not able to access medical treatment, or they are living with a disability, or a mental illness and/or poverty.

Moira Wyton wrote an article on July 26 that was published in the Tyee concerning Gwen, who is seeking death by euthanasia because of her problem accessing treatment for her medical condition. Whyton reports that "Gwen wants to live and care for her daughter. But the system makes it easier to seek MAID than treatment."

Whyton wrote:
...Gwen is considering a medically assisted death if she cannot access essential treatment for her chronic pain and disabilities, which make it impossible at times to eat, sleep, move or play with her child.

Government support and health coverage don’t fund the treatment that Gwen says her doctors recommend to vastly reduce her pain, or to provide enough income to live with a little one.

Gwen tells Whyton that she is desperate to be with her three-year-old daughter. 

Canada's medical system makes it difficult for Gwen to receive treatment but easy for her to receive MAiD (euthanasia).

Whyton continues:
While MAID was intended to give people broader personal choice and autonomy in health care, Gwen says recent eligibility expansions make it easier for those with chronic conditions to die instead of live.
Gwen is not the only one facing this dilemma.

On April 17, I wrote about the euthanasia death of a 51-year-old Ontario woman who had chemical sensitivities. The story was reported by CTV National News Medical Correspondent, Avis Favaro who reported that the woman was not terminally ill but living with chronic chemical sensitivities and environmental allergies.

In late April, Favaro reported on a case of a 31-year-old Ontario woman who was approved for MAiD (euthanasia) for chemical sensitivities. Favaro stated that Denise (not her real name) was diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), which triggers rashes, difficulty breathing, and blinding headaches called hemiplegic migraines that cause her temporary paralysis. At least in this case, money was raised to enable this woman to temporarily find a clean place to live.

A June 8 report by Penny Daflos for CTV News Vancouver concerned a chronically ill woman in her 30's who was approved for euthanasia even though she has been unable to obtain the medical treatment that she needs to live. Daflos wrote that "Kat" wants to live, but she had an easier time accessing death care (euthanasia approval) rather than health care.

Hannah Alberga reported for CTV news on July 11 that Tracey Thompson, a Toronto resident who is in her 50's, requested MAiD (euthanasia) because she is living with Long Covid and is approaching poverty since she is unable to work. Alberga explains that Thompson doesn't want to die, but she cannot live without an income or support.

Hannah Alberga also reported for CTV news on July 11 that Mitchell Tremblay (39) is planning to request MAiD (euthanasia) in March 2023 based on mental illness and poverty. According to Alberga, Tremblay is considering euthanasia because he doesn't receive enough money to survive.

On July 12, Christina Frangou wrote an article that was published by Chatelaine concerning a 54-year-old Vancouver woman who has amassed $40,000 in debts trying to treat myalgic encephalomyelitis and other ailments. When her money runs out, she says a medically assisted death may be her only option.

Whyton wrote that Gwen is experiencing suicidal ideation, but she doesn't want to die.
“I don’t want to die, but when you’re in that much pain, these intrusive thoughts come up,” she said. “The suffering is so far beyond what anyone can fathom.”
The Canadian government is currently debating further expansions to the euthanasia law. Canada needs to recognize how its euthanasia law threatens the lives of people with disabilities and other chronic conditions and reverse its killing direction.