August 13, 2022

Is euthanasia becoming a runaway train in Canada?

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) is a syndrome attributed to patients who complain of headaches, rashes, depression and dizziness and attribute them to chemicals in the environment. Its medically controversial status as a diagnosis shouldn’t be a trigger for euthanasia.

In Canada, however, it is. In March 2023, people will be eligible for euthanasia simply because they have a mental illness.

CTV National News reports that “Denise”, who is wheelchair bound after a back injury and lives on a disability pension, is severely affected by chemicals in the air like cigarette smoke, laundry chemicals, and air fresheners. In her current accommodation she cannot escape them.

So she has applied for Medical Assistance in Dying, or MAiD, the name for legal euthanasia in Canada. Government agencies, she says, have been unable to find her suitable accommodation. “None of them were able to do anything meaningful in terms of getting me relocated, getting the discretionary emergency, or temporary housing and emergency funds,” she told CTV.

Applying for MAiD has been far easier, although she is not terminally ill and a natural death is not imminent.

“Door after closed-door after closed-door…the gauntlet tends to push people in the direction of the legislation that is there, which is medical assistance and dying, ” said a friend who has launched a GoFundMe appeal to help Denise find a home where she will not suffer from her condition. “I’ve got a very significant concern that this is the tip of the iceberg.”

Another woman suffering from MCS received euthanasia in February “after fruitless attempts to get an apartment away from smoke and chemicals in her building,” said CTV.

Writing in the National Post, Sabrina Maddeaux declared that Canada is experimenting with “opt-in eugenics”.

In March 2023, those suffering from mental illness will become eligible for Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) program — a regime already under scrutiny for going beyond ending the pain of the terminally ill, as illustrated by some recent examples.

A year from now, MAID could become an option for those who can’t afford needed therapy, medications or care in a country that’d sooner approve euthanizing the mentally ill than provide accessible treatment options. A string of news reports has shed light on a system that increasingly functions less as a last resort, and more like a horrendously perverse social safety net.

Some Canadians are having second thought about the steady increase in the number of people who are dying through MAID. Another contributor to the National Post, law professor Brian Bird, wrote:

By next year, Canada may have journeyed — in only seven years — from a total prohibition on euthanasia to euthanasia at an adult’s deathbed to euthanasia for mental and physical illness at any moment of an adult’s life. The speed with which we have travelled on an issue of tectonic societal significance, and the territory we have covered, should raise questions about the wisdom of our approach. Advocates say it is progress. I worry it is a runaway train.