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Even Canadian leftists are starting to recognize the ‘dystopian’ nature of MAiD


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From LifeSiteNews

By Alex Schadenberg

Euthanasia based on poverty or disability is rarely based on personal choice and autonomy, it is horrifying, it is profane, it is the outcome of a failed social welfare system, and it is indefensible.

David Moscrop wrote an excellent article that was published by Jacobin Magazine on May 2, 2024. Jacobin is an ideologically left magazine, which is concerned about Canada killing people with disabilities and the poor by euthanasia, known as MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying).

The article begins with this quote:

Canada boasts one of the world’s highest assisted-death rates, supposedly enabling the terminally ill to die with dignity. However, this suicide program increasingly resembles a dystopian replacement for care services, exchanging social welfare for euthanasia.

Moscrop tells the story of Normand Meunier, the quadriplegic man in Québec who died by euthanasia after suffering from horrific neglect. Moscrop writes:

For want of a mattress, a man is dead. That’s the story, in sum, of a quadriplegic man who chose to end his life in January through medically assisted death. Normand Meunier’s story, as reported by the CBC, began with a visit to a Quebec hospital due to a respiratory virus. Meunier subsequently developed a painful bedsore after being left without access to a mattress to accommodate his needs. Thereafter, he applied to Canada’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) program.

As Rachel Watts writes in her report, Meunier spent ninety-five hours on a stretcher in the emergency room – just hours short of four days. The bedsore he developed ‘eventually worsened to the point where bone and muscle were exposed and visible – making his recovery and prognosis bleak.’ The man who ‘didn’t want to be a burden’ chose to die at home. An internal investigation into the matter is underway.

I find it interesting that the article states that Meunier chose to die by euthanasia when in fact he was put into an untenable situation. Moscrop then reinforces the concerns of the disability community:

Disability and other advocates have been warning us for years that MAiD puts people at risk. They warned that the risk of people choosing death – because it’s easier than fighting to survive in a system that impoverishes people, and disproportionately does so to those who are disabled – is real. Underinvestment in medical care will push people up to and beyond the brink, which means some will choose to die instead of ‘burden’ their loved ones or society at large. They were right.

Moscrop comments on how euthanasia is the outcome of a failed social welfare state:

A libertarian ethos partially underwrote the fact that not many people blinked when MAiD was initially rolled out. Taking a more expansive view of rights, many of those not swayed by rote libertarianism were convinced that concerns over bodily autonomy and compassion were reason enough to adopt MAiD. However, in the absence of a robust welfare state, and in the face of structural poverty and discrimination, particularly toward disabled people, there is no world in which the MAiD program can be understood to be ‘progressive.’

Indeed, last year, Jeremy Appel argued that MAiD was ‘beginning to look like a dystopian end run around the cost of providing social welfare.’ Initially supportive, he changed his mind on MAiD as he considered that the decisions people make are not strictly speaking individual but are instead collectively shaped and sometimes ‘the product of social circumstances, which are outside of their control.’ When we don’t care for one another, what do we end up with?

‘I’ve come to realize,’ wrote Appel, ‘that euthanasia in Canada represents the cynical endgame of social provisioning with the brutal logic of late-stage capitalism – we’ll starve you of the funding you need to live a dignified life [. . .] and if you don’t like it, why don’t you just kill yourself?’

READ: Young, healthy women being euthanized in the Netherlands should be a warning for Canada

Moscrop then comments on that euthanasia for psychiatric reasons has been delayed in Canada based on the lack of mental health care. He refers to the reality as grotesque and writes that this is the stuff of nightmarish science fiction. Moscrop comments on the broken social welfare system in Canada.

In Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, a recipient of disability support receives about $1,300 a month – a pittance they’re meant to stretch to cover food, shelter, and other basic needs. Ontario Works – the province’s welfare program – pays a current maximum of $733 a month. Meanwhile, rental costs for a one bedroom apartment routinely push toward an average of $2,000 a month in many cities. In April, in Toronto, a one bedroom apartment averaged almost $2,500 a month.

Moscrop challenges a statement by euthanasia activists James Downer and Susan MacDonald who stated:

Despite fears that availability of MAiD for people with terminal illness would lead to requests for MAiD driven by socioeconomic deprivation or poor service availability (e.g., palliative care), available evidence consistently indicates that MAiD is most commonly received by people of high socioeconomic status and lower support needs, and those with high involvement of palliative care.

By their own admission, the data on this matter is imperfect. But even if it were, the fact that ‘most’ patients who choose MAiD are better off socioeconomically is beside the point. Some are not – and those ‘some’ are important. That includes a man living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis who, in 2019, chose medically assisted death because he couldn’t find adequate medical care that would also allow him to be with his son. It also includes a man whose application listed only ‘hearing loss,’ and whose brother says he was ‘basically put to death.’ This story came a year after experts raised the concern that the country’s MAiD regime was in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 2022, Global News said the quiet part out loud: poverty is driving disabled Canadians to consider MAiD. Those ‘some’ who are driven to assisted death because of poverty or an inability to access adequate care deserve to live with dignity and with the resources they need to live as they wish. They should never, ever feel the pressure to choose to die because our social welfare institutions are starved and our health care system has been vandalized through years of austerity and poor management.

Moscrop then states that Canada has the resources to prevent endemic poverty and provide adequate care, that poor people being euthanized by the state is profane.

Moscrop then refers to a recent article by professor Trudo Lemmens who is a critic of Canada’s euthanasia law.

In a February piece for the Globe and Mail, University of Toronto law professor Trudo Lemmens wrote, ‘The results of our MAiD regime’s promotion of access to death as a benefit, and the trivialization of death as a harm to be protected against, are increasingly clear.’ In critiquing MAiD’s second track, which allows physician-assisted death for those who do not face ‘a reasonably foreseeable death,’ Lemmens points out that within two years of its adoption, ‘“track two”’ MAiD providers had ended already the lives of close to seven hundred disabled people, most of whom likely had years of life left.’

In raising concerns about expanding MAiD to cover mental illness, Lemmens added that ‘there are growing concerns that inadequate social and mental health care, and a failure to provide housing supports, push people to request MAiD,’ noting that ‘[a]dding mental illness as a basis for MAiD will only increase the number of people exposed to higher risks of premature death.’

Moscrop continues by referring to a commentary from disability leader Gabrielle Peters.

In 2021, Gabrielle Peters warned in Maclean’s that extending MAiD to cover those who weren’t facing an immediately foreseeable death was ‘dangerous, unsettling and deeply flawed.’ She traced the various ways in which a broader MAiD law could lead to people choosing to die in the face of austerity, adding an intersectional lens that is often missing from our discussions and debates over the issue.

She warned that we were failing to consider ‘how poverty and racism intersect with disability to create greater risk of harm, more institutional bias and barriers, additional layers of othering and dehumanization, and fewer resources for addressing any of these.’ And now here we are. We should have listened more carefully.

Moscrop ends his article by suggesting that euthanasia may be OK based on personal choice but it is indefensible when it is based on poverty.

While MAiD may be defensible as a means for individuals to exercise personal choice in how they live and how they die when facing illness and pain, it is plainly indefensible when state-induced austerity and mismanagement leads to people choosing to end their lives that have been made unnecessarily miserable. In short, we are killing people for being poor and disabled, which is horrifying.

It thus falls to proponents of MAiD to show how such deaths can be avoided, just as it falls to policymakers to build or rebuild institutions that ensure no one ever opts to end their life for lack of resources or support, which we could provide in abundance if we choose to.

I agree with most of Moscrop’s comments but I disagree with his statement that euthanasia is possibly defensible as a means of individuals exercising personal choice. Even though people with disabilities experience social devaluation in Canada, they may be still exercising personal choice when they ask to be killed.

The problem with modern writers is that they miss the fact that euthanasia is about killing people. Even if Canada had a greater level of equality, there would be people who ask to be killed based on their poverty or their concerns about homelessness.

The real concern is that Canada has given medical professionals the right in law to kill their patients. This is about people killing people.

Nonetheless Moscrop is right that euthanasia based on poverty or disability is rarely based on personal choice and autonomy, it is horrifying, it is profane, it is the outcome of a failed social welfare system, and it is indefensible.

Reprinted with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

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Great Reset

Canadian author with cerebral palsy says nurse called her ‘selfish’ for refusing euthanasia

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

She was shamed by a nurse in 2019 for refusing MAiD at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital

In 2019, an Alberta nurse reportedly told Christian author Heather Hancock that she was “selfish” for not ending her life through the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) euthanasia program. 

In a July 12 interview with the Daily Mail, Heather Hancock, a 56-year-old Christian author who suffers from cerebral palsy, said that she was shamed by a nurse in 2019 for refusing MAiD at Medicine Hat Regional Hospital in Alberta.   

According to Hancock, during a lengthy hospital stay in 2019 for a bout of muscle spams, a nurse told her while helping her to the bathroom that Hancock “should do the right thing and consider MAiD,” and that her refusing MAiD was her “being selfish” and she is “not living” but “merely existing.”

Hancock recalled feeling “gobsmacked” and told the nurse that her life had value even if she spent most of it in a wheelchair. 

“You have no right to push me to accept MAiD,” she says she told the nurse.  

“They just view me as a drain on the medical system and that my healthcare dollars could be spent on an able-bodied person,” Hancock told the Daily Mail. 

In addition to the alleged 2019 incidents, Hancock says she has been routinely encouraged to end her life via euthanasia.

Hancock, who has cerebral palsy, says she has been encouraged to take MAiD on three separate occasions since Canada launched its euthanasia program in 2016. 

Hancock currently lives in an assisted-living center in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Despite her disability, she remains an active writer and activist against Canada’s growing euthanasia program. 

In May, LifeSiteNews reported on a Canadian man who felt “completely traumatized” and violated that he was offered MAiD “multiple times” instead of getting the proper care he needed while in the hospital. 

First introduced in 2016, MAiD was initially only available to those who were terminally ill. However, in 2021, the Trudeau government expanded the deadly practice to be available to those who were not a risk of death, but who suffered from chronic illness.

While MAiD does not yet apply to the mentally ill, this is not due to a lack of trying on behalf of the Trudeau government, who decided to delay the expansion of euthanasia to those suffering solely from such illnesses until 2027 following backlash from Canadians and prominent doctors.

The most recent reports show that MAiD is the sixth highest cause of death in Canada. However, it was not listed as such in Statistics Canada’s top 10 leading causes of death from 2019 to 2022. When asked why MAiD was left off the list, the agency explained that it records the illnesses that led Canadians to choose to end their lives via euthanasia, not the actual cause of death, as the primary cause of death.

According to Health Canada, in 2022, 13,241 Canadians died by MAiD lethal injections. This accounts for 4.1 percent of all deaths in the country for that year, a 31.2 percent increase from 2021.        

While the numbers for 2023 have yet to be released, all indications point to a situation even more grim than 2022.    

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Great Reset

Canadian euthanasia doctor takes delight in having killed hundreds through assisted suicide

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Ellen Wiebe

From LifeSiteNews

By Jonathon Van Maren

“I know the exact number,” she told Kirkey, but didn’t want to provide it. “It’s become a weird thing, people talking about their numbers, or criticizing people who talk about their numbers.”

The National Post’s July 6 profile of euthanasia doctor and abortionist Ellen Wiebe begins with a barnburner line: “Dr. Ellen Wiebe has never shied away from speaking publicly about the act of ending someone’s life.” That’s a bit of an understatement — Wiebe has positively reveled in it. In the recent BBC documentary Better Off Dead? Wiebe informed disability rights activist Liz Carr that killing patients “is the very best work I’ve ever done.”

Wiebe’s enthusiasm — and chuckling throughout the interview — made viewers very uncomfortable. Clearly, so is National Post writer Sharon Kirkey. The profile of Wiebe is titled “This doctor has helped more than 400 patients die. How many assisted deaths are too many?” Of course, Wiebe hasn’t “helped people die.” She has actively ended their lives by lethal injection. She now realizes that people recoil from that fact. “I know the exact number,” she told Kirkey, but didn’t want to provide it. “It’s become a weird thing, people talking about their numbers, or criticizing people who talk about their numbers.”

“Hundreds is good,” she added. As Kirkey noted, Wiebe had ended at least 430 lives by May 2022, according to her own testimony before a special parliamentary committee on MAiD.

Wiebe has accrued many nicknames — the “pro-choice doctor providing peaceful deaths,” and a “de facto ambassador” of MAiD, for example. Unsurprisingly, she insists that the killing she does be carefully cloaked in Orwellian language. “In Canada, we don’t use the word euthanasia,” she told a podcaster. “That’s what we use for our pets. Here, we call it assisted dying.” Still, Kirkey notes that not everyone is happy about the work she finds so rewarding. She told Scottish euthanasia advocates that “we know that angry family members are our greatest risk” because they are most likely to bring complaints against euthanasia practitioners.

Indeed, as Kirkey notes, Wiebe is willing to bend the rules:

She’s published numerous papers in the assisted dying space, mentoring other doctors and hosting MAID training webinars, but has also been accused of bullying and sneaking her way into faith-based facilities. She’s faced multiple complaints against her to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia. but has always been found in compliance with the rules …

Wiebe has had several complaints lodged against her, including her provision of death in the case of “Ms. S,” a 56-year-old woman with advanced multiple sclerosis who, in 2017, starved herself to meet eligibility criteria that her death was “reasonably foreseeable,” a case with eerie echoes to the 27-year-old autistic Calgary woman who stopped eating and drinking in May over a judge’s order blocking her access to MAiD.

In 2017, Wiebe was accused of “borderline unethical” behaviour for entering Vancouver’s Louis Brier Home & Hospital, an Orthodox Jewish long-term care home, and providing MAID to 83-year-old cancer patient Barry Hyman, despite knowing the facility did not allow assisted deaths on its site. Hyman’s family had invited Wiebe in to honour his wish to die in his room. As Wiebe assembled her prepared syringes, “My heart was racing that someone would open the door,” Hyman’s daughter, Lola, told The Globe and Mail.

The same year, the chief medical officer and coroner with B.C.’s coroner’s service raised questions about Wiebe’s provision of MAID to a woman with dementia.

As she told journalist Peter Stockland in 2018, her practice comes “right up to the edge of the law but never beyond.” Thus far, at least, the authorities have agreed with her.

Although Wiebe is 72 and suffers from a heart condition, she’s determined to continue the work she believes in the most — euthanasia and abortion. Euthanasia, in particular, she says, is “the last thing I’ll give up,” and both euthanasia and abortion are “about honouring people’s wishes, empowering people to have control over their own lives. It’s wonderful that I have the opportunity to do that.” Kirkey notes that, as in the BBC documentary, Wiebe grinned and laughed in her interview with the National Post. “I love life,” she told Kirkey.

Disturbingly, Wiebe isn’t the only euthanasia practitioner who enjoys her work. Kirkey noted that in “one study, MAiD providers with between 12 and 113 assisted deaths each described the delivery of a medical death as ‘heartwarming,’ ‘the most important medicine I do,’ ‘an ultimate act of compassion,’ ‘liberating’ and ‘almost an adrenaline rush. I was surprised at how good I felt.’” As Christopher Lyon, a social scientist at the University of York, observed, this is jarring “because death is usually a deeply painful or difficult moment for the patients and their loved ones.” As Kirkey noted:

Lyon’s 77-year-old father died by MAiD in a Victoria hospital room in 2021, over the family’s objections. (Wiebe was not the provider.) His father had bouts of depression and suicidal thinking but was approved for MAiD nonetheless. Lyon wonders what draws some providers to MAiD “and what happens to a person when killing becomes a daily or weekly event.”

“Some providers have counts in the hundreds — this isn’t normal, for any occupation,” he said. “Even members of the military at war do not typically kill that frequently. I think that’s a question that we’ve not really ever asked.”

Wiebe says she didn’t plan to be a euthanasia practitioner — she grew up in a conservative, Bible-believing Mennonite home in Alberta but abandoned faith by age 17 — but has been long committed to the medicalized killing. In her work as an abortionist, she did “pioneering work on medical abortions and bringing trials of the abortion drug, mifepristone, to Canada.” When the Supreme Court legalized euthanasia, she wanted in. “I called up a friend who was also an abortion provider and said, ‘Palliative care is not going to do the work. We better figure out how to get trained and get in there,’” she told the National Post.

Wiebe believes that Canada’s euthanasia regime will only expand in the years ahead. Kirkey writes:

She fully anticipates that MAiD will be extended to mature minors. “I’ve always been assuming for eight years that a 17-year-old with terminal cancer is going to say, ‘I have the right,’ and of course any judge in the country will say, ‘Yes, you do.’” She also expects some form of advance requests for MAiD in cases of dementia, which would allow a person to make a written request for euthanasia that could be honoured later, even if they lose their capacity to make medical decisions for themselves. Support for advance requests is strong, according to polls. But if someone is unable to express how they’re feeling, who decides if they are suffering unbearably — and what if they changed their minds? MAID doctors may be asked to “provide” for someone they have not met before, and with whom they will not be able to communicate. That’s going to be hard for us as providers,” she said. “This will be a new challenge. And I’m up for challenges.”

Wiebe’s predictions and enthusiasm are a warning for Canada. We have seen tens of thousands of Canadians die by lethal injection and many others speak out about how they feel pressured or pushed into euthanasia. It is imperative that Wiebe’s vision for Canada be opposed at every step. Lives depend on it.

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Jonathon’s writings have been translated into more than six languages and in addition to LifeSiteNews, has been published in the National Post, National Review, First Things, The Federalist, The American Conservative, The Stream, the Jewish Independent, the Hamilton Spectator, Reformed Perspective Magazine, and LifeNews, among others. He is a contributing editor to The European Conservative.

His insights have been featured on CTV, Global News, and the CBC, as well as over twenty radio stations. He regularly speaks on a variety of social issues at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

He is the author of The Culture War, Seeing is Believing: Why Our Culture Must Face the Victims of Abortion, Patriots: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Pro-Life Movement, Prairie Lion: The Life and Times of Ted Byfield, and co-author of A Guide to Discussing Assisted Suicide with Blaise Alleyne.

Jonathon serves as the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

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