Helen Long Says you don’t exist — But we see you!

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.


  1. All this dying with dignity is so distressing to me as a parent of a child who needs support for most aspect of his life. He is in his 40’s now. I have been a strong advocate for most of his life and that of others. He has a
    quality of life despite his disability and support needs although it has taken me, as his mom, to ensure that happened and continues to happen. When the service providers chose to not longer support him it was the folks in the community who came to the rescue. They wrote letters of support that was attached to a proposal to DCS to continue to fund the support and allow him to continue to work at the small business he has had for 20yrs. Although the funding was approved, DCS does not want to be the employer so have designated myself and my son to be responsible for the staff they have funded. I am convinced it was those letters of support that allowed the proposal to come to fruition. There is a whole industry out there whose mandate is to support those with intellectual disabilities. So who is it that does not want the responsibility to support him to be part of his community and do something that is important to him and he enjoys? Not the government or the service providers! If the average citizen in the community can see the value of having inclusive communities positive things can happen for everyone. If only the government and service providers had that healthy attitude and the will to care and support people who need it. 8M. can do alot of good to make a difference in this world.

    1. Sorry Judy, I missed this one! Yes, communities need to come together to support each other, don’t they? You’re going to share your experiences with that in your upcoming book, am I right?

  2. I suggest DWD donate at least 25% of their accumulated resources to support those who want to live with dignity, but do not have the means to do so.

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