Monday, May 29, 2023

Killing used as an acceptable solution to social problems?

MAiD exposes Canada's curable social illsby Margaret Shkimba, was published in the Hamilton Spectator on May 23, 2023. Shkimba  is not opposed to MAiD but recent media stories, about euthanasia for poverty and for prisoners, have given her pause for thought. Shkimba writes:

Long ago, I saw someone jump from the 403 overpass on King St. I was on the bus. Before he went over, our eyes locked, just for an instant, I was that close. It’s a sight that has haunted me ever since. I saw the blood stain on the pavement when I walked home from work that day. Of course there was nothing in the paper, no one talks about suicide, so I called the police for information. I was told he suffered with demons for years. His people believed he was at peace now. I felt relief. I was carrying his pain with me. I still do on some level.

Shkimba felt uncomfortable with a presentation made in her church that opposed MAiD. She writes:

While I support MAID, two stories appeared last week that have given me pause to ask if we can’t do better.

The first reported that a third of Canadians support poverty as a valid reason for MAID. That blows my mind. Unlike physical and mental health there is a cure for being poor. We could lift people out of poverty with a stroke of the proverbial pen. It could start with the provincial government increasing OW and ODSP payments to realistic, nonpunishment levels. It would be improved with passing livable wage legislation and rent controls. Even better would be the provision of deeply affordable housing. Easy, peasy, really. But a third of us would rather people kill themselves. Who are we?

The second introduced a MAID population I hadn’t considered: prison inmates. Inmates who fear they will die alone in jail seek MAID to die with their loved ones. We think we’re a humane country because we don’t have the death penalty. But we do. It’s just voluntary. While only a small number have availed themselves of MAID at present, given that the suicide rate in Canada’s prisons is appallingly high, over twice the national average according to the John Howard Society and the punitive and problematic nature of the carceral system, we can expect that number to increase.

MAID is exposing the bleeding wound of Canada’s many social injustices and it doesn’t look good. We can use it like a diagnostic. Then people don’t have to die.

I share Shkimba's concern for suffering people. Euthanasia is about killing people. Is killing ever an acceptable solution to social problems?

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