July 1st is Canada Day, in celebration of Canada becoming a nation on this date in 1867. While the rest of Canada whoops it up, the nation's sick and disabled have reason to fear.
I am filled with deep sadness. I feel like a stranger in the country where I was born and have lived all my 63 years. A few weeks ago, Canada passed a law sanctioning physician assisted suicide for suicidal sick and disabled citizens. Canada believes that other Canadians deserve suicide prevention counselling. I know this because in October of 2012, parliament gave unanimous support (including our current Prime Minister) to the idea of a national suicide prevention strategy. Four years later they pass a law for assisted suicide for suicidal sick and disabled Canadians.
The self-congratulatory indulgence of the nation today is not for me. I will stay home.
Yesterday, my friend and former parliamentarian David Kilgour posted a link on his Facebook page with a link to an article entitled "Canada ranked as second best country in the world". I commented: "That is, if you are not disabled and suicidal." A woman responded: "What an ignorant comment - not even remotely funny." Actually, madam, what is ignorant is that Canada would sanction assisted suicide, and I was not trying to be funny."
I was expressing my deep sadness on this Canada Day. This patriot has been alienated from protections against killing myself should I sink beneath the waves of my circumstance and become suicidal. My country will not throw me a life-jacket. It will push me further down under a misguided idea of personal autonomy.
Today I will imagine what could have been not what is: I will imagine a gentle Canada that Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote about before state sanctioned and state funded abortion and medical killing of the depressed sick and disabled.