What Euthanasia Has Done to Canada We call it MAID - Medical Assistance in Dying

By Pepper Parr

December 5th, 2022



One of the pleasures of the life I live is a newspaper that gets dropped off at the lane way of the house I live in. The Sunday New York Times is, in my world, about as good as it gets.

There was an opinion column that I want to share with you.  It was written by Ross Douthat, a regular NYT columnist

“La Maison Simons, commonly known as Simons, is a prominent Canadian fashion retailer. In late October it released a three-minute film: a moody, watery, mystical tribute. Its subject was the suicide of a 37-year-old British Columbia woman, Jennyfer Hatch, who was approved for what Canadian law calls “Medical Assistance in Dying” amid suffering associated with Ehlers Danlos syndrome, a group of disorders that affect the body’s connective tissues.

“In an interview quoted in Canada’s National Post, the chief merchant of Simons stated that the film was “obviously not a commercial campaign.” Instead it was a signifier of a public-spirited desire to “build the communities that we want to live in tomorrow, and leave to our children.”

“For those communities and children, the video’s message is clear: They should believe in the holiness of euthanasia.

“In recent years, Canada has established some of the world’s most permissive euthanasia laws, allowing adults to seek either physician-assisted suicide or direct euthanasia for many different forms of serious suffering, not just terminal disease. In 2021, over 10,000 people ended their lives this way, just over 3 percent of all deaths in Canada. A further expansion, allowing euthanasia for mental-health conditions, will go into effect in March 2023; permitting euthanasia for “mature” minors is also being considered.

“In the era of populism there is a lively debate about when a democracy ceases to be liberal. But the advance of euthanasia presents a different question: What if a society remains liberal but ceases to be civilized?

“The rules of civilization necessarily include gray areas. It is not barbaric for the law to acknowledge hard choices in end-of-life care, about when to withdraw life support or how aggressively to manage agonizing pain.

“It is barbaric, however, to establish a bureaucratic system that offers death as a reliable treatment for suffering and enlists the healing profession in delivering this “cure.” And while there may be worse evils ahead, this isn’t a slippery slope argument: When 10,000 people are availing themselves of your euthanasia system every year, you have already entered the dystopia.

“Indeed, according to a lengthy report by Maria Cheng of The Associated Press, the Canadian system shows exactly the corrosive features that critics of assisted suicide anticipated, from health care workers allegedly suggesting euthanasia to their patients to sick people seeking a quietus for reasons linked to financial stress.

“In these issues you can see the dark ways euthanasia interacts with other late-modern problems — the isolation imposed by family breakdown, the spread of chronic illness and depression, the pressure on aging, low-birthrate societies to cut their health care costs.

Final moments

“But the evil isn’t just in these interactions; it’s there in the foundation. The idea that human rights encompass a right to self-destruction, the conceit that people in a state of terrible suffering and vulnerability are really “free” to make a choice that ends all choices, the idea that a healing profession should include death in its battery of treatments — these are inherently destructive ideas. Left unchecked, they will forge a cruel brave new world, a dehumanizing final chapter for the liberal story.

“For anyone on the right opposed to Donald Trump and the foulness around him (most recently at his Mar-a-Lago dinner table), the last six years have forced hard questions about when it makes sense to identify with conservatism, to care about its direction and survival.

“One answer turns on which dystopian future you fear most. Among those NeverTrumpers who have left the right entirely, the overwhelming fear is of an authoritarian or fascist future, a right-wing threat to democracy requiring all possible resistance.

“But in the Canadian experience you can see what America might look like with real right-wing power broken and a tamed conservatism offering minimal resistance to social liberalism. And the dystopian danger there seems not just more immediate than any right-authoritarian scenario, but also harder to resist — because its features are congruent with so many other trends, its path smoothed by so many powerful institutions.

“Yes, there are liberals, Canadian and American, who can see what’s wrong with euthanasia. Yes, the most explicit cheerleading for quietus can still inspire backlash: Twitter reactions to the Simons video have been harsh, and it’s vanished from the company’s website.

“But without a potent conservatism, the cultural balance tilts too much against these doubts. And the further de-Christianization proceeds, the stronger the impulse to go where the Simons video already went — to rationalize the new order with implicit reassurances that it’s what some higher power wants.

“It’s often treated as a defense of euthanasia that the most intense objections come from biblical religion. But spiritual arguments never really disappear, and the liberal order in a dystopian twilight will still be infused by some kind of religious faith.

“So I remain a conservative, unhappily but determinedly, because only conservatism seems to offer a stubborn obstacle to that dystopia — and I would rather not discover the full nature of its faith.”

To put this in a Canadian perspective the following CBC news report.

Four — perhaps even five — Canadian military veterans were given the option of medically-assisted death (MAID) by a now-suspended Veterans Affairs Canada caseworker, the country’s veterans minister told a House of Commons committee late Thursday.

Lawrence MacAulay said the matter is now being turned over to the RCMP for investigation and his department’s internal review is ongoing.

“We expect all Veterans Affairs candidate employees to interact with veterans with care, compassion and respect and the actions of this one employee is simply disgusting,” MacAulay told the veterans affairs committee. “And I condemn this behaviour in the strongest terms.”

MAID has become a handy procedure for removing from society those who are to expensive to care for.  That wasn’t the intention when MAID was first introduced.

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7 comments to What Euthanasia Has Done to Canada We call it MAID – Medical Assistance in Dying

  • David

    And yet you refuse to post ‘any’ of my Conservative comments? Twitter much?

  • Ted Gamble

    I agree with Penny but also Hilda. I believe the use of MAID was to be allowed for use by informed competent adults under medical supervision. The expansion plan for infants and seriously challenged is being pushed by the Quebec medical establishment among others in my opinion is outrageous. More so especially with recent condemnation from the national physciatric association.

  • Grahame

    I respect others choice like Penny.

  • Hilda Cirotto

    The slippery slope is now evident. What began with euthanasia with imminent death, the Canadian government is now recommending for mental illness (even teens) and in Quebec they are positing death for babies under a year. Where is respect for life when it is easier to snuff it out when inconvenient?

  • Penny Hersh

    The first question I asked my new physician was “did she believe in MAID”. She looked at me and I said there was no right or wrong answer, I simply wanted to know where she stood on this issue. Her response was that “if she was not prepared to do this she would refer me to someone who would”. For me that was what I wanted to hear.

    I support MAID as a choice for any individual to make. I personally am totally in favour of it for myself It is my “Plan B” should I find myself in a situation that involves chronic suffering.

    Quality of life is much more important to me than quantity. For those who ask what qualifies as quality of life I would answer only the individual in their situation can make this decision.

    We don’t let our pets suffer. We make a decision that is in their best interest. Why is this acceptable in society yet humans who are simply a higher life form are questioned when they decide to do the same thing?

    I understand that some feel very differently and I respect their wishes not to make the choices that I make.

    All I ask is that they respect my choices as well.

    • You are absolutely right Penny. MAID is law and everyone is entitled to make use of this assistance as and when they wish to. Whatever our opinion is it does not count as MAID protects your decision. We have very good friends who chose to use MAID and we respect their decision given it is within the law. The issue we are bringing to the forefront after being approached during the election and having the evidence that it exists is the discontinuation of treatment or setting aside of doctors orders that bring about death for elderly or new borns many with disabilities without consent of the person or their decision makers. In other words the decision to live or die is being taken out of the very hands where MAID placed it, before MAID and after MAID. Sincerely hope the right to make that decision for you is a long way off, this community would definitely miss what you contribute to the well-being of us all.

  • The putting to death of those seeking treatment and are elderly has been an Ontario/Halton well evidenced healthcare issue raised and ignored by all levels of government long before MAID became law. It was an isue raised with us during the election as being current in Burlington in October. We are hopeful that the Veterans Affairs “one off” claimed event which many of us know is like the one off nurse who was convicted of putting her elderly patients to death and was charged only because she confessed; is just the first domino to drop to stop what are well evidenced homicides of elderly patients that police refuse to investigate or pass on to OPP due to a conflict of interest. Google Hansard, Coroner’s Act amendments Anne Marsden to read our presentation to a Provincial committee long before MAID that addresses such issues and MPP Levac promised to take to the Minister but like so many failed to keep his word and failed to communicate as to why.