Dying with Dignity CEO, Helen Long, recently published a long article in McLeans Magazine (May 31/22), detailing the results of DWD’s most recent survey. On the basis of that survey, she and her organization declared that a huge percentage of Canadians are not only very much in favour of medically administered death for people who are dying, but also hugely in favour of expanding the categories of people who can receive the “benefit” of death even though they are NOT dying. She is quoted as saying, “Recently, stories have circulated claiming that MAID is being forced on people, or that those who are not able to access supports like safe and affordable housing are opting to have MAID instead. Or that Canadians wouldn’t want MAID if they could access quality palliative care. This is simply not true and there is no evidence that I’m aware of to support those claims.”
But we at LIVING WITH DIGNITY CANADA are here to tell you that not only are those stories based in reality, but they have been told to the government committee studying the issue of expansion; they have been shared in many media outlets; and they have been shared with us. By real, living people, some of whom, sadly, are no longer living. Told and ignored.
So, like the teenagers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School who cried out when the NRA and Florida legislators made their excuses, “We call BS!”
Barely a month later, in their “June update”, DWD declared themselves to of course be in favour of disabled people having the resources they need to live with dignity! But they have been unconcerned in the past, and you might want to question whether they have your best interests at heart now. Their main thrust and business interest is having everyone in Canada buy into the idea that death is a “benefit” for which one can “qualify”. And the service they offer is death planning. So if you’re dying, and you want to explore MAID as one of your options, look them up. But if you’re alive and want to stay that way for as long as possible, do not let their voices get inside your head.
How could DWD demonstrate that they are in favour of having people with disabilities live with dignity? We have suggestions. For example, they could publish a retraction of their declaration of willful ignorance in the McLean’s article. They knew full well that the C-7 MAID expansion was controversial, and far from settled. They know full well that most Canadians do not support euthanasia for people with mental illness, for example.
For another example, without naming any organizations in particular, they could actively (and with NO strings attached) support grassroots disability rights activists and mutual aid networks in every province and territory of Canada. There are folks out there struggling for income supports, housing, transportation, personal care, child care, education, unfunded health care, debt financing, legal services, even food. Given that DWD is sitting on an $8M pile of cash, that seems to us to be a reasonable place for them to start.
Or they could press our “Donate” key and make a very generous contribution to our startup operations. We would be polite and say thank you. But we would not buy in to their program.
What do you think? Please leave a comment in the box below.