Monday, February 26, 2024

We Got MAiD (euthanasia) in the Disability Community

By Stephen C.Barns
Disability Culture Consultant 

Disability does not discriminate, it is not based on your race, creed, shape, gender, or language that you speak.

Since the beginning of time people with disabilities have been told by society that we are cursed, broken, that we need to be fixed or managed, a group to be pitied, when we fight back against these negative narratives, we are labeled as troubled or angry.

Usually when a child is born a doctor gives a clean bill of health and everyone goes about their lives, when someone is born and labeled defective instead of a world of possibilities there is a world of limits, a world of doom and gloom.

Doctors told my family I would grow up to be a vegetable, okay what a carrot, or broccoli, no I wouldn’t be able to communicate, feed myself, or I wouldn’t be conscious.

I am not what some may consider the poster person for the disability community and I don’t speak for all in the community or all disability issues as we are all unique individuals.

Generally the people in my circle, over the years, didn’t really treat me as though I was disabled, they encouraged me. I may have wanted to try something like wrestling in high school or dreams like going to film school and being a writer and a director.

North American culture at the time basically encouraged people to enter high school then you go to college or university to study for your career.

So I went to a so-called guidance counselor who instantly told me I would never be able to be a writer, director, because my english is horrible and with my learning disability and physical disability I wouldn't be able to go to film school…

I and my circle did not accept this, and I proceeded to go about my high school experience and dove head first into local artistic independent films, other writing, and painting as I planned to go to college.

However life took a detour in my last 18 months of high school, I experienced a family event that was traumatic it triggered a big shift which I had no say or control over…

I also was transitioning not only into adulthood but into a big oppressive, discriminatory, ableist, abusive struggle. My experience was Systemically broken because there is no question the systems of governments are designed to oppression and therefore to kill the people within the disability.

I became old enough to receive and manage my own money in the form of a fixed income monthly payment in my province called The Ontario Disability Support Program or ODSP for short.

Which at the time was and still is less than $1000 a month for myself, I am fortunate in that whole time that my rent was reasonable because I was either living with a member of a circle or I was living somewhere that my rent was geared to income but money was still tight and only getting tighter with inflation.

People who receive ODSP are 40% below the Canadian poverty line, well that sucks. I want to work and so do my peers however if we can’t find or given the opportunities or just can’t work period we shouldn’t be vilified or punished for not being able to quote contribute to a society that wants to pretend those of us with disabilities don’t exist.

I tried time and time again to look for work and educational opportunities, I did assessments, resume edits, even looking for volunteer positions. I was dismissed for both opportunities even as I was told to go look for one or the other.

I couldn’t find opportunities, so I tried to create my own opportunities, some good ideas, some bad. They were all hard earned and some painful, but now I have found a path to my spiritual, artistic, mental health recovery, which won’t be complete till my natural death.

I go back and forth on when my recovery began, however I can say a big piece of my recovery map is still ongoing and most likely will be for the rest of my life, is self-advocacy and not by choice.

Elders and other advocates in the disability community, let alone my life experiences, taught me about what it means to be a member of the disability community and historical reputations systemic basis.

I can say without a doubt that the biggest source of my mental health struggles is the way my peers, family, and myself continue to be treated and reminded we do not seem to matter.

We've come across the statement that if we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it, yet when it comes to the disability community, the rest of society seems to have a short memory.

We as a society are not far from ninety years ago when Hitler saw us as defective and wanted us to die off, as we couldn’t work or contribute, whatever that means?

Similarly, rather than build more homes and other accessible buildings and vehicles, instead governments of Canada would rather help to die than to live.

I’ve seen peers die under forty and alone, in supportive living, group homes, nursing/long Term Care homes and other institutions of today for the disability community in Canada.

There are still institutions in Canada whether they are built for the purpose of warehousing people with disabilities or not. There are also makeshift supportive living, group homes or nursing/long term care homes, hospitals and even jails.

This is nothing new, think of the line, Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses, in Charles Dickens's' A Christmas Carol, One met advocates, read through the disability studies and the mind's eye opens.

I have been encouraged by individuals on social media to kill myself, others who are not members of the disability community have informed me if they had to be dependent on the government like me they’d kill themselves, not to mention, having to battle misinformation about being on O.D.S.P, an being herassed for receiving said fixed income.

Years ago a member of my circle told me no one will pity me because I’m disabled. I don’t want handouts, I am willing to work in any way I could and again I tried, I looked, I created, I failed, I learned.

No one wants pity, I and others want the right to live and dream however my peers and I can begin to feel trapped as our peers graduate, meet partners, get jobs and build lives, it’s hard to not internalize the way society continues to see us.

The death penalty was abolished in Canada in 1976 partially because it was coming to light that the wrong individuals were being sentenced to death, it now if you’re disabled society encourages us to go to our deathbeds why?

I know of two peers in the community in Quebec as well in Ontario, who have applied for MAiD because of changes in the Healthcare system in the form of hours being cut during the years of the Covid pandemic along with the loss of dignity and autonomy…

There are peers who applied and died by MAiD, once Premire Doug Ford called for Personal Support Workers (P.S.W.) who work two jobs providing care/ independence living support, they can only work one location.

Once that happened workers chose to work their more secure jobs with hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions, therefore people receiving more direct self-managed government funded programs such as the Ontario Direct Fund Program were left without support/employees and applied and carried out MAiD.

There is a man in Ontario who applied for MAiD because once he became forced out of his home due to corporate landlords doing what they do, out of fear of living on the street with his physical challenges.

A community banded together to help him find this gentleman and now he doesn’t want to die, there is a community in New Brunswick there is a village of 99 homes to help people build on their recovery.

Maid is worse than Hitler’s Nazi Germany because instead of being sought out and killed we are being led to our unnatural deaths under the guise of choice.


Betty said...

Excellently said.

Heather H. said...

Stephen, thank you for writing this article. Everything you have brought to light is 100% true. The weak, elderly, terminally ill, disabled (physically and mentally), and mentally ill all are being targeted and MAID is being pushed on us by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who should know better.

Unfortunately, under our current federal government, the rules and restrictions have been erased or overlooked when it comes to our communities. I have lived with Spastic Cerebral Palsy for almost 56 years. Within the last six years, I have been asked to consider MAID three times.

I can speak clearly and am an advocate for adults with CP. In all three instances, I was in hospital dealing with a major flare of spasticity. To be clear, two of those were in BC and one was in AB. I now live in SK and, so far, the subject has not been broached, but I am staying out of hospitals at all costs unless a dire emergency occurs.

The FACT is this... the disabled community is seen as a huge drain on medical resources and they want to eliminate us so that able-bodied people have access to our healthcare dollars. It's eugenics and I will fight it until my last breath!

Disabled people's lives matter and have worth. We have gifts and abilities that the world needs.

wobbly said...

Bullshit, no hyperbolic bullshit. Never in my 73 years was I EVER treated with anything but the utmost in care and respect by the Canadian medical profession. Certainly Nelly McClung and Tommy(the greatest Canadian? LMAO), both stumped for the Nazi born policy but any facet of it was abandoned long before both your parents were born. The sympathy you are after can be found in the dictionary betwixt shit and syphilis.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Sorry Wobbly.

You can attack the writer all that you want, but his experience remains what it is.
Deny Deny Deny, but that doesn't change reality.

Oat Guy said...

Well done Stephen,

Great points and very well explained.

Myron D Steinman said...

I call for a Citizens Assembly before further expansion of MAiD in Canada.