Monday, June 28, 2021

Canada's mad rush to implement MAiD.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Peter Stockland who has followed the issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide for many years published a comment yesterday on the mad rush to implement more (MAiD) euthanasia in Canada. Stockland comments on the passing of Bill C-7, the bill that expanded euthanasia. He wrote:
My own sense is that ... an enduring legacy of the past 15 months might be a dawning awareness of the correlative radical expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying, a legal euphemism conflating two distinct acts previously criminalized as euthanasia and assisted suicide.

It’s an immense understatement to note that the MAiD-expanding legislation that passed through Parliament in parallel with the eruption and quelling of COVID was overshadowed by the entirely justifiable focus on the pandemic. But the shade on MAiD could conceivably lift when we enter another phase in March 2023 and federal law alters again to permit life-ending injections for mentally ill Canadians.
Stockland refers to the expansion of euthanasia in Canada as a revolution.
We can agree or disagree about MAiD as a measure. We can approve or disapprove of it in principle and practice. But the legislative alterations that occurred within the pandemic penumbra – and those yet to come – represent a revolution in our understanding of what health care is and, more profoundly still, our shared conception of what human life is.
Stockland comments on the revolution to expand euthanasia to people with mental illness.
On February 24th, 2020, I was in the theatre of the National Press Building as Justice Minister David Lametti and Health Minister Patti Hajdu introduced expanded MAiD legislation. At the press conference, I specifically asked Minister Hajdu whether the changes might put mentally ill Canadians at risk. She insisted the government had no intention of making MAiD an option for the mentally ill.

On March 17, 2021, a mushroomed version of the original expansion passed in both the Commons and Senate. In one year – a year of the worst pandemic to strike Canada in more than a century – Canada’s medically assisted dying law had transformed to the point where expert critics said it allowed for individuals – soon to include those with severe psychiatric conditions – to request MAiD in the morning and receive it by evening.
Stockland stresses the speed at which Canada has expanded its euthanasia law
Again, whether we agree or disagree with MAiD, a single year to legalize such a wholesale change about the ending of human life signals a country moving away from its past at warp speed and toward…what? In fact, COVID disruptions of Parliament meant the bill died and had to be reintroduced in October. Full-time focus on the legislation was little more than five months – months when the nation was riveted by pandemic lockdown.

And here is where the COVID overlay on the MAiD calendar becomes illustrative. The five-month expansion process came only five years after Canada’s historic legal change to allow medically assisted death. By contrast, the Supreme Court’s 1993 Rodriguez decision upholding prohibition of medically delivered death stood for 22 years before being successfully challenged.
Stockland concludes by stating that parliament expanded the law and it set the stage for further expansions of (MAiD) euthanasia.
But the thing is, in the pandemic year just past, with Parliament shut down, Canadians locked down, and our most vulnerable population ravaged by COVID in care homes, we rushed through legislation expanding MAiD availability. We affirmed rejection of the sanctity of life. We extended the 2016 legislation far beyond its original intentions. We ultimately set the stage for it to extend to the mentally ill.

That conflation foreshadows the virtual impossibility of pivoting out of COVID and back to the Canada we once knew.
Peter Stockland is Senior Writer with Cardus, and Editor of Convivium.

Some previous articles by Peter Stockland on euthanasia and assisted suicide (Link).


Alex Schadenberg said...

As a deafblind person, I am very concerned about this. Disabled people can so often be driven to suicide by being treated badly and depriving them of painkillers. I've had that experience myself and difficulty getting hold of my painkillers (solphadine max) for various problems. Masked in concern but if I wanted cigarettes I could get them far more easily and you don't need cigarettes but if you are in pain you DO need pain medicine. Also, people with chronic pain are no longer getting the pain medicine they need either.

I wanted to get anti-euthanasia slogans to help raise awareness only to find there isn't any. Lots of pro-euthanasia slogans but nothing anti as far as I can find and I wish there were and would appreciate any help in making my own as Euthanasia scares the living daylights out of me.

Best wishes from Helene Ryles

Alex Schadenberg said...

The previous comment was sent by email to EPC as Helene found it difficult, as a deafblind person, to post her comment to the blog. We will try to rectify that.

Gordon Friesen said...

A suggested slogan : We Want Doctors Who Do Not Kill !

This is to raise awareness that it is not safe to trust non-suicidal patients to euthanasia-friendly care teams (including nurses also of course, but slogans have to be brief).

And another : No Killing Without Consent !

Very soon, it will claimed that we cannot "fairly" refuse to euthanize the incompetent (when everybody else has access to this wonderful treatment).

Gordon Friesen, Montreal (français) (english site in development) (personal philosophical musings)