Can't find affordable housing in Canada. Relax the gov can provide med-assisted suicide!
You think I'm kidding about this! I guess we're just not progressive enough here in the States.
MAID in Canada: What’s Behind the Euthanasia Scandal?
Advocates argue it would be discriminatory to deny assisted suicide to patients with mental illnesses.
By Chris Selley, WSJ
Dec. 30, 2022 4:13 pm ET
Canada’s Supreme Court held in 2015 that people with “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” had a right to assisted suicide, and Parliament responded the following year by enacting a law legalizing “medical assistance in dying,” or MAID. In October 2019, during Justin Trudeau’s first re-election campaign, the prime minister stressed the importance of “ensuring that everyone gets the supports, the treatment they need to live in dignity, and to make the choice of medical assistance in dying one that is made in a way that isn’t because you’re not getting the supports and care that you actually need.” In hindsight, that should have been a gigantic red flag.
Mr. Trudeau essentially promised to strengthen Canada’s social safety net so that no one would want to die rather than live under difficult circumstances. Three years later, that safety net is no less flimsy, and the result he warned about is happening. On Dec. 15, Justice Minister David Lametti announced the government would delay—but not abandon—the planned expansion of MAID to cover those with mental illness. But that point may already be moot.
In April, CTV News reported on two unnamed women who had petitioned to be euthanized for want of housing suitable to their diagnosis of multiple chemical sensitivity, or MCS—a reported intolerance to smoke, air fresheners, commercial cleansers and other irritants that is almost certainly an anxiety disorder. (Studies have found MCS sufferers react negatively to purported irritants that haven’t been introduced into the test environment.)
One of them, a 31-year-old Toronto woman, said she found applying for MAID “surprisingly much easier” than trying to find an apartment. She had sign-off from one of the two doctors or nurse practitioners required for government-provided death. The other, a 51-year-old woman also from Ontario, was already dead.
“They’re easily fixable situations,” one doctor lamented. But they aren’t. Toronto’s rental market is a nightmare even for the healthy and gainfully employed. Many of those on society’s margins live with constant fear of becoming homeless.
That’s what motivated 54-year-old Amir Farsoud, from Ontario’s Niagara region, to apply for MAID earlier this year. He had serious medical conditions: depression, anxiety and terrible pain from a back injury. But the reason he wanted to die, he told CityNews, was that his rooming house was on the market and he saw little hope of finding an affordable alternative. “I don’t want to die but I don’t want to be homeless more than I don’t want to die,” Mr. Farsoud said. At the time of the report, he had one of the two needed sign-offs.
Gut-wrenching as these cases are, they at least involve people who independently opted for assisted suicide. The biggest MAID-in-Canada controversy may be the revelation that at least one caseworker working for Veterans Affairs Canada had been actively pitching euthanasia to veterans who had no interest in it. One reported being offered MAID instead of treatment for post-traumatic stress, another in lieu of a wheelchair ramp. Police are investigating these allegations.
The law as written doesn’t allow for providing euthanasia in such circumstances. But in August 2018, 42-year-old Roger Foley of London, Ontario, recorded two hospital staffers suggesting euthanasia as a remedy for the inadequate housing he was being offered after discharge from treatment for a serious neurological disease.
Even setting aside these horror stories, it’s clear that euthanasia in Canada isn’t working the way most Canadians expected. For decades, advocates of legalization assured us it would be rare, confined (as it was, legally, at first) to terminally ill patients. In 2021, 3.3% of all deaths in Canada were by MAID.
Many advocates for the mentally ill and disabled are among the most horrified at what’s going on. They know better than anyone how willing Canada’s vastly overrated welfare state is to leave people in misery. They have been warning against the current situation forever. And they have been proved right.
I support euthanasia as a humane option for people who are suffering from diseases that are terminal, incurable and painful. Canada, however, is bizarrely obsessed with “equal rights”—and far more deferential than it should be to hopelessly out-of-touch judges who have driven both the legalization and expansion of euthanasia.
Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms prohibits discrimination on the basis of mental or physical disability. Some advocates of euthanasia follow this logic to a chilling conclusion: How, they ask, can we deny euthanasia to people suffering mental illnesses if it is available to patients with objectively terminal conditions? It isn’t a great leap to asking how we can deny it to people who are suffering from poverty. Is it really more humane to deny a miserable person a clean assisted suicide than to grant it?
Authorities should say yes: We won’t help you die because of your depression, poverty or unfit living conditions for the same reason we won’t take out your appendix if you have a broken leg, or prescribe lithium for a nasty case of psoriasis. Only in Canada, it seems, has the right to die with state assistance, no matter the cause, become a leading civil-rights issue. There is no telling where it might end.
Mr. Selley is a columnist for the National Post.