Saturday, December 3, 2022

Veterans Affairs offers euthanasia to a former Paralympian.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Christine Gauthier
Christine Gauthier, a retired corporal and former Paralympian shocked lawmakers by revealing that she was offered medically assisted death by a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) employee. Sean Boynton reported on December 2 for Global News that:
On Thursday, retired corporal Christine Gauthier, who is paraplegic, told the House of Commons standing committee on veterans affairs that the topic of assisted dying was raised during a years-long fight for a home wheelchair lift.

“On the comment of medical assistance in dying … I was approached with that as well,” Gauthier testified. She described the comments of the VAC agent she spoke with as saying, “‘Madam, if you are really so desperate, we can give you medical assistance in dying now.'”
Gauthier told Global News that the incident happened in 2019. Global News reported:
“I was like, ‘I can’t believe that you will … give me an injection to help me die, but you will not give me the tools I need to help me live,'” she said. “It was really shocking to hear that kind of comment.”

She said she’s been waiting since 2017 to get those supports, including the wheelchair lift.

“It has isolated me greatly, because I have to crawl down my butt with the wheelchair in front of me to be able to access my house,” she said.

Gauthier called the process “cruel” and a “daily eternal ordeal.”
The comments by Gauthier were made at a Veterans Affairs Committee meeting that is examining a new contract for rehabilitation services.

On August 16, 2022 Global News reported that a Veterans Affairs Canada worker advocated that a Veteran seek euthanasia for PTSD. At that time Global News a VAC service agent brought up MAiD unprompted in a conversation earlier this year with the combat veteran, who was discussing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs told the committee, earlier in the week, that there were four incidents of VAC service agents advocating euthanasia for veterans and all the cases are being investigated. Global news reported that Christine Gauthier was not one of the four identified cases.

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