Friday, December 2, 2022

Canada's Justice Minister: Euthanasia is more humane than suicide.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

David Lametti
Althia Raj, a National Columnist for the Toronto Star, reported on November 29 that Canada's Justice Minister, made an ‘unbelievable’ comparisons between euthanasia and suicide

During a recent podcast with Raj and Justice Minister David Lametti, Lametti conflated medical assistance in dying (MAID) and suicide. Raj reports:
After I expressed reservations about the expansion of MAID in March to people with mental illness without adequate social and medical supports, Lametti told me to “remember that suicide generally is available to people. This is a group within the population who, for physical reasons and possibly mental reasons, can’t make that choice themselves to do it themselves. And ultimately, this provides a more humane way for them to make a decision they otherwise could have made if they were able in some other way.”
Raj then explains that Lametti's comments are shocking because they fly in the face of suicide prevention efforts. Raj continues:
Psychiatrist Derryck Smith called Lametti’s comments “terrible,” “very distressing,” “so misinformed” and “unbelievable.” 
“It sounds like he’s encouraging suicide,” the University of British Columbia emeritus professor said.
Smith, who has stated that he has approved euthanasia (MAiD) for mental illness stated that Lametti must be confused about euthanasia and suicide. Smith considers them to be different issues. 

Raj interviewed Brian Mishara, the director of the Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide, Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Practices at the Université du Québec in Montreal, who said:
Lametti is treating MAID as if it were any other medical treatment that needs to be widely available rather than as a measure of last recourse.

“It scares the hell out of me,” he said.
Raj interviewed Trudo Lemmens, the Scholl chair in health law and policy at the University of Toronto who said:
Lametti’s words “very disturbing” and said they reflect a “normalization” of end-of-life practices by medical professionals “as a form of inherently beneficial therapy. That deeply worries me. And it’s reflected (by Lametti) in the podcast in a way that was not reflected before.”
Raj continues with Lametti's comment.
Despite this, and the fact that patients who seek MAID may be experiencing “a symptom of the very condition which is the basis for a request for MAID,” Ottawa still plans to press ahead with the legislated expansion in March.

But it does prompt the question: are we willing to end people’s lives through MAID knowing that some of them could otherwise have gone on to lead happy lives?

Several witnesses testified before a parliamentary committee that if MAID had been available to them, they would have ended their lives without knowing help was around the corner.
Althia Raj has helped me understand why the government has become so committed to euthanasia for mental illness alone. Sadly, Lametti and the Liberal government, view euthanasia (MAiD) as a treatment for mental illness. Killing will be a treatment for suicidal ideation.

I'm disgusted. People need to be cared for not killed.

1 comment:

Charles Lewis said...

In 2009 or so I did a piece for the National Post about Oregon's 10th (?) anniversary of assisted suiced. They didn't use "suicide" but death with dignity. When I asked the director of their program why not use the word "suicide" he said that word is pejorative. Go figure.