Current News- 2023

Visit the Clippings Archive to review articles from past years.

September 12, 2023 (Vancouver Sun) A letter to the editor in response to the letter from Bonita J. Thompson (September 11, 2023) on the topic of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID):

To Harold Munro, Editor, in response to the letter from Bonita J. Thompson on the topic of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), I would like to point out that the ability to determine the time and manner of one’s death when dealing with intolerable suffering in irremediable medical circumstances is not in dispute. This describes the current Canadian law as it applies to Track 1 MAID.  Very few people are arguing MAID should not be available in these circumstances.  I am glad that her husband had access to MAID in the end stages of his life, and that it was within the law for him to exercise his right to make the request he did.  
The subject matter under dispute is the expansion of MAID (Track 2 MAID) to those who are not actually dying, to mature minors, and to those whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental disorder.  
I know our health care system in Canada will never be perfect. However, it must be substantially better than it is now before we can even consider the expansion of MAID. We are a long way from determining which mental disorder may be considered irremediable and at what stage of diagnoses and treatment this determination should be made, and by whom.  
We all know about the housing crisis. We must wait for a substantial improvement in that situation before we tell despairing people, who will be smart enough not to give poverty or horrible housing as the reason they are applying, “Yes, you are right, your life is not worth living. In fact, there is probably no hope it ever will be.” Do we really want to tell an 18-year-old, or anyone, that? If we approve Track 2 MAID that is what we may as well come out and say. That is the message we will send. 
I am hopeful it is easy for people to discern the difference between someone who is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and in unbearable pain, and someone who is young with a serious mental disorder who can’t get any psychiatric or psychological assistance.  These two may both request MAID – one should be granted the request and the other should not.
Yours truly, Laurel Jones

Full disclosure: Laurel is my sister-in-law. The letter is entirely her own.

September 1, 2023 (BBC News) Critically Ill UK teen in legal fight with NHS
A 19-year-old patient with mitochondrial disease is fighting to be kept alive to fight another day, but her doctors, and now a judge, have ruled that her life is not one that can be saved. Her condition and the case itself are being compared to that of infant Charlie Gard, whose parents were over-ruled by a judge in 2017. These are not “assisted suicide” cases — Charlie Gard was an infant, incapable of expressing a wish to live or to die; and the teen desperately wants to live and to be supported to do so for as long as possible, but her doctors have deemed treatment to be futile. She will die quickly when her ventilator is turned off, which it will be now that the judge has ruled in favour of the doctors. In Fox News coverage of the same story, her legal advocate has said, “ST has wanted to tell her story to the world in order to try and access further treatment but has been prevented from doing so by the ironically named Court of Protection.” Linguistic irony is becoming an embedded feature in the international end-of-life conversation!

August 24, 2023 (CBC Nova Scotia) Cape Breton woman seeks MAID over lengthy workers’ compensation delays
“A Cape Breton woman who has been fighting for more than a decade for benefits from Nova Scotia’s Workers’ Compensation Board says she will continue to push ahead as long as she can. But Melissa Ellsworth said she can’t wait any longer for pain relief and has applied for medical assistance in dying, also known as MAID.
Ellsworth says, “I can’t live with this type of pain and I’m disintegrating to nothing, and the options that I have for quality of life are there, but workers’ comp is refusing to provide them, so I have no option really but to apply for MAID.”
Nova Scotia’s Workers Comp system is overdue for review, but meanwhile, case workers’ “deny” decisions are overturned 56% of the time. Ellsworth has gone through 11 appeals, and won 10 of them. But problems with service delivery remain.
This is another case of “The system is broken; let’s give the patients an easy option.” This is not okay.

August 19, 2023 (Christopher Lyon on SubStack) Healthcare, Serial Murder and MAiD — How does Canada’s MAiD system stack up against the conditions that enable medical murderers?
Christopher Lyon has undertaken a study comparing the prevailing conditions that enable serial medical killers to operate undetected, sometimes for long periods of time, with the conditions under which the medically-assisted dying regime operates in Canada. There are some stunning overlaps.

August 15, 2023 (National Post) Quebecers no longer seeing doctor-assisted deaths as a last resort, says oversight body
The law says a person must be medically “grievous, irremediable, in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability and suffering intolerably” in order to qualify for death by doctor. But evidence is beginning to show the erosion of this standard. Quebec’s MAID watchdog, Dr. Michel Bureau “… worries doctors are being put in difficult situations by elderly patients who are ready to die but whose health problems aren’t serious enough for them to qualify for MAID.” In other words, they are suicidal, but not grievously or irremediably ill. The doctors in these “difficult situations” need to learn the word “No” in English, “non” in French. “You do not “qualify” for euthanasia. You must wait for your page to be turned naturally. That is the law.” Doctors who fail to transmit this message and instead euthanize such patients are guilty of murder.

August 10, 2023 (The Tyee). She Sought Help in Crisis and Was Suggested MAID Instead
Another article on the case of Kathrin Mentler, a young woman in a mental health crises, feeling suicidal and worried about her ability to resist the urge to kill herself, asked by a clinician if she’d ever considered medical assistance in dying. She has been added to our “Lives in the Balance” page.

August 9, 2023 (Globe and Mail). Vancouver hospital defends suggesting MAID to suicidal patient as risk assessment tool
It is so inappropriate that this incident happened! It is even more outrageous that the hospital defended the horrific “error”, making an excuse for the “clinician” involved. From quotes in the article, it is clear that the worker not only mentioned medically assisted suicide to an actively suicidal patient, but actually promoted it as a “better choice”. Never mind that maid for mental illness is still illegal everywhere in Canada, at least until March of 2024.

July 18, 2023 (Cambridge University Press) The realities of Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada
An important article published in a prestigious academic journal reviews the factual landscape of doctor-assisted death in Canada, complete with evidence of big gaps in interpretation, safeguards, oversight and enforcement of the law when violations occur.

July 11, 2023 (Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Blog) Death by loneliness: Study of assisted suicide in neurodiverse people
“Loneliness was the main reason 77 per cent of 39 Dutch adults with autism and/or intellectual disability chose assisted suicide, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.” (See May 23 entry below).
“In two-thirds of cases, doctors’ reports didn’t mention the patient’s family or other important people in their life. Presumably this would have provided a more complete social picture, and perhaps been a source of alternative solutions.”

July 10, 2023 (Not Dead Yet, USA) Good (old) News: In Early 2023, [American] Suicidology Group Withdrew Statement NDY Protested.
The American Association of Suicidology quietly withdrew a statement that has caused trouble for disability rights groups in Canada and the US. Back in October 2017, the prestigious US organization stated that medically assisted death can easily be distinguished from regular suicide, and that despite minor overlaps, “legal physician assisted deaths should not be considered cases of suicide and are therefore a matter outside the central focus of AAS.” This statement was used as evidence in the Truchon case to support Track 2 MAiD for non-dying disabled people, despite protests from Canadian disability rights advocates. Disabled Americans leafletted the organization’s next conference (2018). In March of 2023, the statement was quietly “retired”. The “retirement” of the statement garnered little press but should make a significant difference to physician assisted death in the Canadian context. “Now the assisted suicide movement has no scientific basis for its assertions that PAS is not suicide.

July 6, 2023 (The Bulwark). What Canada’s Euthanasia Advocates Ask Us to Believe
“Perhaps the government’s choice of a reality-obscuring euphemism is partly to blame for my compatriots’ hazy understanding of what is happening up north.”
This is a thorough review and an excellent analysis. Another quote: “But even if limiting access to euthanasia is a limit on autonomy, we must hold on to the idea that a decent society simply does not allow people to do anything they like. That is so even when the state’s response to particular actions is therapeutic rather than punitive. … Indeed, the state has special duties to protect the vulnerable, which means, in different stages of life, all of us.”

July 1, 2023 (Daily Mail, UK). ‘Disgusting’ slideshow offering assisted suicide ‘is emailed to HEALTHY patients by Canadian healthcare provider,’ as unease grows over country’s euthanasia program.
Apparently, Fraser Health in BC sent out a MAiD powerpoint slideshow promoting assisted suicide programs to healthy patients who were simply receiving information on their pension packages.  This could use some independent verification. Can anyone living in the Fraser Health district confirm that this is true?

June 28, 2023 (Daily Mail, UK) Canada is on track for another record-busting year of euthanasia deaths, with a 35% jump to some 13,500 state-sanctioned suicides in 2022, a projection shows (Article first published June 7, updated June 13; accessed June 28). The federal numbers will be coming out soon, but these projections are based on known provincial numbers.

A map of Canada shows increases in euthanasia numbers for Alberta (+41%), Ontario (+27%), Quebec (+51%) and Nova Scotia (+21%)

June 2023 (The Atlantic) THE OUTER LIMITS OF LIBERALISM: What happens when a society takes individualism to its logical conclusion? By David Brooks
Although this article is behind a paywall, the ideas are well worth considering. We have placed a pdf version of it in the Philosophy section of the Library.

June 27, 2023 (The Nation) When Death Is the Best Choice, Is It a Choice at All? Disabled Canadians need support, but without proper government funding, voluntary death through MAID may be their only option. Featuring the story of Michael Kaliszan, mentioned here and in “Lives in the Balance” earlier this year, this story. “The indignity of it all is just overwhelming,” Kaliszan said. “The question should be: Why is a disabled person considering [MAID] simply on the basis that they can’t get the support services they need?” The answer from the Canadian government at this point seems clear: It’s easier to expand MAID than to give disabled people the support they need to live long and fulfilling lives. 

June 23, 2023 (National Post) Quadriplegic Ontario mother says her only option is assisted suicide due to lack of support
Featured on the “Lives in the Balance” page on this website, and also in the “Ways to Help“. This is a young, bright woman with small children. Death is not the right answer!

June 8, 2023 (National Post) Debate over MAID in funeral homes is yet another bizarre distraction
Once the conversation becomes unhinged, there are few limits to how unhinged it can get!

May 30, 2023 (The Walrus) Have Assisted Dying Laws Gone Too Far?
Meagan Gillmore reviews the law that allows medical professionals to end lives with impunity, and considers some of the moral and legal dilemmas raised by these laws.
She quotes Madeline Li, a doctor who provides MAiD, saying, “The problem has been that the people who first entered MAID work are now very experienced, but they’re confusing experience with expertise. They’ve been very focused on ‘Does a patient qualify?’ and not ‘Should a patient have MAID?’”

May 23, 2023 (Cambridge University Press) Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide in people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders: investigation of 39 Dutch case reports (2012–2021)
The authors conclude: Examination of societal support for suffering associated with lifelong disability, and debates around the acceptability of these factors as reasons for granting EAS, are of international importance. We couldn’t agree more!

May 14, 2023 (Substack). Kevorkian’s Ghosts
Another excellent post by Dr. Christopher Lyon, whose father was euthanized under troubling and highly questionable circumstances

May 9, 2023 (National Post). Canada shouldn’t deny assisted suicide if social conditions made life intolerable: bioethicists
I wasn’t going to post this article, but one of our readers pointed out to me that — horrific as its conclusions are — is at least interesting for the fact that the “bioethicist” authors acknowledge that the social support for people with disabilities is totally inadequate and renders their lives intolerable. I agree. IS DEATH AN ACCEPTABLE SOLUTION?? HELL NO! Support is the solution, not death.

May 4, 2023 (National Post) Canada is putting prisoners to death again (with MAID this time)
Nine federal inmates have died by assisted suicide since 2016
“It’s been 61 years since Canada has carried out a sentence of capital punishment, but state-assisted death has apparently returned to the prison system amid revelations that at least nine federal inmates have received medical assistance in dying.”
“In his 2020 annual report, Zinger detailed the circumstances surrounding one of Canada’s first in-custody MAID deaths. The inmate was serving a two-year sentence for a non-violent offence when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and opted for MAID after he had a request denied for “compassionate parole.”” Shocking.

May 3, 2023 (The Globe and Mail) Depression is a liar
Dr. Harvey Chochinov, a psychiatrist and palliative care specialist, helps readers understand clinical depression in a way that most folks may not have thought of before. It’s not just feeling sad!

April 28, 2023 (Vancouver Sun). Canadians adopting assisted death at 22 times the rate of Americans
The author, Douglas Todd, questions this extreme variation in uptake of this end-of-life option. Daryl Pullman, Memorial University medical bioethicist, told UBC’s Centre for Applied Ethics that Canadians could learn from the U.S. about safeguards against unnecessary assisted suicides. Philosophically, Pullman maintains many proponents of MAID have adopted an ethic of individualism and personal autonomy over an ethic of mutual care. “Regardless of their views on assisted suicide, Canadians would be smart to not pretend such thorny ethical issues have been resolved once and for all.”

April 26, 2023 (Press Release, Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia). Interim agreement reached on a systemic human rights remedy for persons with disabilities.
Pending final approval by the Human Rights Board of Inquiry, this landmark settlement will usher in a new era of life for Nova Scotians with Disabilities.
“Unlike past government reports and commitments … the government’s commitments to persons with disabilities will be legally binding and enforceable“.
Living with Dignity Canada congratulates all of the hard-working and committed folks who made this massive step possible. Well done!!

April 20, 2023 (APTN) MAiD in prison: nine inmates have used Canada’s assisted-death program
 Ivan Zinger, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, said ““Under no circumstances should the procedure of MAiD be dealt with inside a penitentiary,” he tells APTN. “That is highly problematic, unethical and immoral in my view. I think we would be the only jurisdiction in the world who would do that.”
APTN has learned some of the first inmates to use MAiD were Indigenous and all of them were male.
“More than one person shared that they felt like part of their duty to own their debt to society was to free up space, essentially. Knowing that they were going to be there forever.”

April 17, 2023 (Globe and Mail) Canada’s permissive assisted-dying culture is devaluing people with disabilities
I’ve been working on a blog post on this issue, but here is a strong legal voice saying clearly what I’ve been feeling my way towards. Excellent article!

April 9, 2023 (Global News) ‘Awful for patients’: Frustration grows over delay in assisted dying expansion
This is not the kind of article I usually feature, but in the interest of keeping up with the culture of death, I post it here. “Supporters argue [expansion] will give autonomy and dignity to people who have exhausted all other treatment options…” and yet the proposed law does NOT require them to exhaust all treatment options.
I will give in to the temptation to contrast this article with one in Winter 2023 issue of The New Atlantis, titled Arcs of Life. It is a beautiful rumination on life and death and trajectories in between the two events. Whether the arc is long or short, it is precious. And all of us, each on some stage of our own arc, is called to care for others whose path is difficult — to find ways to help and support others. “A just society does not kill suffering people, it shares their burden.” It also features a beautiful artwork by Gustav Klimt that I had never seen before. Treat yourself to this one, as an antidote to the first.

April 4, 2023 (CTV NEWS) Former Quebec doctor faces manslaughter charge after patient dies following surgery
In this case, the surgeon determined, and told a family member, that treatment was futile. The patient would die from his obstructed bowel condition within a few hours or days. But when he closed the incision and left the operating room, the plan was to return the patient to a bed for palliative care. The anesthetist, on the other hand, reportedly questioned “the usefulness of finding a room for the patient when he could be brought directly to the morgue“, and proceeded to remove his ventilation and inject him with “a substance” while he was still under anaesthetic. This happened in October of 2019. The anesthetist resigned in December of 2019. The case is just now coming to court. Watch this space!

April 4, 2023 (Christopher Lyon, Substack) Suicide solution: A year of tennis in Medical Assistance in Dying and suicide
Read this excellent article by Christopher Lyon, who lost his father to assisted suicide. It is bleakly almost humorous to follow the language-manipulators as they try to establish their official propaganda line.

March 30, 2023 (Mad in America Blog) Medically-Assisted Suicide Is Not a Win for Mental Health
“Some disability rights activists are starting to warn that MAID programs lowering their standards for acceptance is already lowering the quality of healthcare being offered, especially in places like Canada, where it’s alarmingly easy to get accepted into their MAID program. In our current for-profit healthcare system in the United States, it’s difficult to see how such a program wouldn’t become a common crutch for saving money…”

March 29, 2023 (Connecticut Mirror). Nietzsche and assisted suicide in Connecticut
Here’s an amazing example of how language can be used to distort and disguise the true motives and meanings driving assisted suicide expansion. An American legislator quotes a famous European philosopher saying “One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly”, but leaves out another part of the quote that would chill the blood of anyone who cares about disability rights. “The sick man is a parasite of society… A new responsibility should be created, that of the doctor — the responsibility of ruthlessly suppressing and eliminating degenerate life.” The 19th Century philosopher, Nietzsche, was not himself a Nazi, of course (any more than the American legislator is), but his ideas were adopted (and distorted when necessary) to support the Nazi regime. We are on VERY dangerous ground here, folks.
[The author of the article includes a link to a fairly readable academic paper about Nietzsche that is well worth taking the time to read.]

March 13, 2023 (Psyche) Should Assisted Death Be Available for Intractable Mental Illness?
A thoughtful psychiatrist/ethicist, Marie Nicolini, testified to the Parliament of Canada as an expert witness on the issue of assisted death for mental disorders. In this article, she reviews the troubling and persistent issues. Here’s a quote: “Of course, one could argue that people will inevitably suffer, unbearably so, due to all sorts of social issues, and that certain structural injustices won’t be solved during our lifetimes – so we should accept that for some, death is the best option available. But there is something cynical and nihilistic about that perspective. As members of a society, we must hold ourselves accountable and recognise our overriding duty to mitigate the harms that people with mental disorders experience.” (Emphasis added).
As non-cynical and non-nihilistic members of society, we DO have a duty to mitigate harms, do we not?

March 20, 2023 (Edmonton Journal) Edmonton man, 75, who killed severely disabled wife on ‘compassionate’ grounds sentenced to house arrest
Oh my word!!! So now it doesn’t have to be a doctor or nurse practitioner — it can be your husband, or your caregiver, or anyone else who’s fed up with looking after you! First degree murder charge pled down to manslaughter, then manslaughter sentence pled down to … WHAT! Two-year conditional house arrest? That’s not even a convincing slap on the wrist, it’s an affectionate hair-toussle! WTF!!
We’re going to have to have a SERIOUS talk about “care-giver burnout”!

March 18, 2023 (National Post) Barbara Kay: Thanks to Trudeau, Canada’s death-care system is top of the line.
The Post, in its wisdom, has guarded this page behind a subscribers-only paywall — pay four bucks and you can read the whole thing. Don’t have four bucks to spare? Let me try to sum it up for you. The author identifies the “winning strategy” adopted by Liberals: Don’t make euthanasia a political plank; let the courts do the work of keeping the expansion ball rolling. And don’t look too closely at the courts in question: e.g. the (newly appointed) judge in the Truchon case was the daughter of one of Quebec’s leading pro-euthanasia advocates; her law firm had financially supported his pro-euthanasia work; her father’s pro-euthanasia publications were accepted by her into evidence in the trial; she did not recuse herself, although it would have been appropriate to do so. The government, far from appealing the weak decision, “welcomed it as a springboard into new legislation”, i.e. the Bill C-7 expansion. The Minister of Justice, David Lametti, promoted that rookie judge to the Quebec Court of Appeal soon after the Truchon decision.
These facts are not brand new, but if you’re learning about them for the first time, you are entitled to feel rather shocked. I did not have them at my fingertips when I wrote Gaslit!

March 9, 2023 (Vancouver Sun) MAID should never be used as a solution to a broken mental health system
Two new voices from inside the mental health “system” such as it is. Where are those billions of dollars that were supposed to be invested in the mental health system, I wonder? Was there a plan? You might want to ask your member of Parliament to keep you posted on where and how that money is being spent. MAID for mental illness has only been delayed for one year and that will speed by quickly!

March 6, 2023 (Globe and Mail) Doctors, disability advocates condemn parliamentary committee’s recommendation to expand MAID law
In a public letter being released Tuesday, the 43 committee witnesses say the final report “misconstrues, misrepresents, minimizes, and completely ignores key evidence necessary to protect Canadians,” while “amplifying” those who favoured more wider access.
“The whole process was dismissive of the evidence,” said Leonie Herx, the chair of palliative medicine at Queen’s University, who was one of the committee’s witnesses, and a signatory to the letter.

March 5, 2023 (Globe and Mail) Judy Heumann, ‘mother of the disability rights movement,’ dead at 75
[Although this is not an assisted suicide story, so I wouldn’t normally include it,] it seems fitting to pay tribute to this dynamic achiever and natural leader who made such a huge difference to the disability rights movement in America. Imaginative, tireless and determined, Judy Heumann will be remembered in Canada for her impressive achievements, not only on her own behalf, but for the entire disability rights community in her own country and around the world. The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was and is monumental. The effects of this law can be felt by Canadian tourists travelling through America at every restaurant and motel stop. She made people with disabilities welcome and expected. Thank you, Judy. Rest In Peace.

March 4, 2023 (Globe and Mail) A right to die, but first a better life
The Globe editorial board is clear on where the government needs to go to get medically assisted death back on the track it was intended to run on. The last two paragraphs read as follows:
“Above all, there should be no further expansion of the right to die in Canada until Ottawa and the provinces invest in publicly funded mental-health care, more palliative care beds, more social housing for people with physical and mental disabilities, and easy access to social supports.
It is Ottawa’s duty to be absolutely certain that a lack of care for the living doesn’t turn state-assisted death from it what should be – a last resort – into just another treatment option. “Irremediable” should not be code for “we don’t have the resources to help you.” That’s barbaric.”
We couldn’t agree more!

March 2, 2023 (Hill Times) Senators agree on extending MAID sunset clause but split on its future
An important article in the Hill Times reports that the bill to delay the adoption of MAiD for mental illness will pass the Senate, with almost everyone agreeing that “we’re not ready”. Some think we’re not ready because doctors have been pre-occupied with COVID-19 (? Really?), others think we’re not ready because we’ll NEVER be ready. However, all agree that a one-year delay is essential. The headline will take you to the article, but it is behind a paywall. I offer a few quotes from the article:
Natalia Hicks, who works for a coalition of Disability Rights organizations explains, “[During discussions about Bill C-7] There was a lot of advocacy happening, but none of us anticipated the need to advocate around MAID on the sole basis of mental illness.” The result, said Hicks, was when the bill returned to the House with a last-minute “amendment to include mental illness” tacked on by the Senate, MPs were legalizing this form of MAID without proper “details on what eligibility would look like, or what safeguarding would look like.” Instead, she said, this was left to an expert panel on MAID, appointed by the health and justice ministers, which convened during the sunset period. Hicks noted the mandate of the expert panel did not include consultation. She said. “For me, it puts a lot of power in the hands of those medical bodies.” We agree with Natalia that the power ended up in the wrong hands!

February 25, 2023 (Globe and Mail) In Canada, MAID has become a matter of ideology
In this stunning article, Dr. Scott Kim cuts right to the heart of the matter. “Reasonable people may disagree about whether MAID should be legal. But one need not be for or against the procedure to see that it should be considered a tragic last resort, and that calling it a medically effective treatment is an especially cruel form of gaslighting.”

February 21, 2023 (The Plough) Canada’s Euthanasia Industry
A 48-minute conversation about what the heck is going on in Canada, with its massive, government sponsored assisted suicide regime. Investigative journalist Alexander Raiken is interviewed.

February 13, 2023 (Angus Reid Institute) Canadians Question Looming Changes to Canada’s assisted-death law
“Since 2016 when the original MAID law was passed, the number of Canadians using the procedure per year has increased ten-fold, to more than 10,000 in 2021. Asked if they consider this a success, that Canadians are now controlling their end-of-life decisions, or a failure, that MAID may be overused or abused, Canadians are more inclined to see value in its availability. More than two-in-five (43%) say this, while one-quarter (25%) disagree and say this trend is a bad thing.”
It seems that a majority of Canadians are opposed or unsure about MAID for mental illness, and yet a majority are okay with MAID for physical disability. Hmmm. Why?

February 13, 2023 (Statistics Canada Press Release) Stats Canada catches up with last year’s annual report.

February 12, 2023 (Vancouver Sun). Colby Cosh: What the court actually said about MAID for the mentally ill
The writer struggles with the legal concepts outlined in the letter by Trudo Lemmens, signed by over 25 other legal scholars. He states that “… it boils down to a plea to the justice minister of Canada, David Lametti, to please stop lying to the public.” You can read the full text of the letter the Sun writer is critiquing below (Feb. 2, U of T Law Review) and come to your own conclusions.

February 7, 2023 (Vancouver Sun). Canada’s mental health minister says suicidal people can’t get assisted suicide. Is that true?
“Carolyn Bennett accused Poilievre of being “totally irresponsible” and misrepresenting what medically assisted death would mean for people with a mental disorder, saying that “all of the assessors and providers for MAID are purposely trained to eliminate people that are suicidal.” Testy!
““On the face of it, even if you look at what the word means, when somebody wants to die and they’re not dying, of course that means that they’re suicidal,” said [Dr. Sonu] Gaind, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. “I’m saying that in a non-pejorative way, but that’s literally what the word means. And the reluctance to acknowledge that very simple literal reality is concerning,” he said. In his view, “it sends a message from our minister of mental health and addictions about a false safety that does not exist.” Dr. Gaind goes on to say, “We now provide MAID to more people in absolute numbers than any other country on the planet,” despite having only had MAID for six years.

February 7, 2023 (Hamilton Spectator). Many people living with mental illness are haunted by suicidal thoughts. So why make it easier?
Dr. John Maher lays out 10 steps in a sick logic that endangers the survival of a great number (57,000!!) of Canadians. “Research tells us that 75 per cent of people thoughtfully plan their suicides. Of the people who try to kill themselves, only 23 per cent try again, and only 7 per cent go on to complete suicide. Tragically 4,000 Canadians complete suicide each year. Ninety per cent of those who die have mental illness. Thankfully 57,000 people don’t die. [emphasis added] What does that tell us? That with support people heal and recover and live full lives.”

February 4, 2023 (HeraldScotland) Health expert issues warning over assissted dying
Once again, Canada makes the international news. “WHEN privileged groups impose bespoke ethics to remove humanity’s unsightly wrinkles, it’s usually the powerless and the marginalised who suffer the unintended consequences.” As Scotland contemplates introducing medically-assisted dying, a Canadian palliative care doctor, Leonie Herx, speaks out, warning that what seems innocent and compassionate at first can quickly devolve into a system that endangers the lives of people on the economic margins.

February 2, 2023. (U of T Law Review) Parliament is not forced by the courts to legalize MAID for mental illness : Law Professors’ Letter to Cabinet.
You should take the time to read the full text of a letter to Cabinet from Professor Trudo Lemmens and 25 co-signatories (the list of endorsing legal scholars has grown since the letter was finalized and delivered).
“We disagree as law professors that providing access to MAiD for persons whose sole underlying medical condition is mental illness is constitutionally required, and that Carter v Canada AG[1] created or confirmed a constitutional right to suicide, as Minister Lametti has repeatedly stated. Our Supreme Court has never confirmed that there is a broad constitutional right to obtain help with suicide via health-care provider ending-of-life.”

February 2, 2023 (National Review) Canada’s Ministry of Death
Alexander Raikin strikes again!! (First strike was Dec. 16, 2022 — see Clippings Archive). This time his focus is on the mysterious way the notion of doctor-assisted death went from a marginal interest of a few people to the national (even international) obsession that it has become.
“To understand how we really got here, to promoting the assisted deaths of the most vulnerable people in society and calling it progress, it is necessary to look past Lametti’s talk about a supposed “consensus” and see a multimillion-dollar PR campaign to persuade the public and elites to stop worrying and love MAiD.”
Raikin clearly sketches out the way DWD moved in on the Federal Liberals and took centre stage.

February 2, 2023 (CBC). Federal government moves to delay MAID for people suffering solely from mental illness
“They’ve announced that a year from today they will introduce measures to end the lives of people who are depressed,” [Poilievre] said. “Will they recognize that we need to treat depression and give people hope for a better life rather than ending their lives?”
Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett chastised the Conservative leader, saying that “health professionals are trained to deny MAID to people who are suicidal.” But are they? Fact-check her by visiting our Remembering Lives Lived page.

February 2, 2023 (The Globe and Mail) Federal government introduces legislation to delay changes to the MAID law until next year
The federal government tabled legislation on Thursday to delay until next year an expansion of Canada’s medical assistance in dying law to allow mental illness as a sole condition. The MAID legislation was set to expand this March, a change that would have made the country’s euthanasia rules one of the broadest in the world.
“It is clear more time is needed to get this right,” Justice Minister David Lametti said in a news conference Thursday.
“Delaying the expansion for maid for mental illness is only the tip of the iceberg of what the Canadian government must do,” said Ramona Coelho, a family physician whose practice is predominantly low-income and marginalized patients, and who has been a vocal critic of expanding MAID to mental illness. Her patients, she says, often have trouble accessing timely care and affordable housing. “Canada has not done its part to ensure them a quality of life that should rightfully be theirs.”

February 1, 2023 (La Quillette) Death on Demand: Cautionary Tales from Canada
What a shame that Margaret Wente spoils an otherwise excellent article by dumping on a group of vulnerable citizens, some of whom have chosen MAID as a last resort when their needs for safe housing went unmet!! She doesn’t believe they have a “real” physical disability, despite acknowledging that her judgement itself is disputed. Over a million Canadians have environmental sensitivities, some of which are quite severe and life-limiting. Her eagerness to dismiss this fact totally undermines the usefulness of her article. TO LEARN MORE, CLICK HERE.
Wente goes on to accuse the disability/poverty advocate community (of which LWD is proud to be a part) of “weaponizing [certain] examples as part of their campaign for more generous social services.” While we agree that social services are underfunded and legislated poverty is a real thing, that is not our main goal and purpose. We want people not to be induced to kill themselves by outside influences, including the very existence of MAID.
There is much in the article that we agree with. For example, “even if ours were the best system that humans could devise, there would still be [disabled and] mentally ill people who’d want to kill themselves. The real issue is whether the state should ever help them.” Our answer to that question is an unequivocal NO!

January 31, 2023 (The Conversation) As eligibility for MAID expands, the ethical implications of broad access to medically assisted death need a long, hard look
An excellent review of the state of affairs and the ethical implications thereof.
“Part of the reason it made sense to allow MAID for people already actively dying was that doing so seemed equivalent to accepted practices such as withdrawing life-sustaining treatment or palliative sedation. This equivalence fails when we broaden the scope of MAID to those who aren’t dying, and all the more when we countenance offering it for non-terminal mental illness, or loneliness, or loss of ability to engage in meaningful activities.”

January 24, 2023 ( LETTER: MAID turning into ‘a form of sanctioned eugenics’
” Local reaction to the article below regarding a homeless man applying for MAID has been divided: On the one hand, you have people joking, assuming that this is some sort of cry for a free ride or money for nothing. On the other hand, we’ve seen people full of compassion who wish they could help.”
The letter makes a strong plea for people to support those in need by supporting a strong social safety net. “Disabled should not mean worthless, useless, or hopeless.”

January 23, 2023 ( Homeless, hopeless Orillia man to seek medically assisted death
Are a patient’s homelessness, hopelessness and bleak outlook on the future acceptable reasons to allow a doctor or nurse practitioner legal immunity for helping that patient to complete suicide? Or is this an opportunity for compassionate suicide prevention?
“Tyler Dunlop, 37, has experienced homelessness on and off for the past 12 years. With a background of traumatic experiences, and a bleak outlook on the future — not only considering himself, but the state of society — Dunlop has begun the process for medically assisted death.” 
“He recently began a job at a fast food restaurant in the city, but he said he’s been unable to keep his job due to a lack of stable housing.
Dunlop was born to a dysfunctional family, he said, experienced physical and sexual abuse in the foster care system as a child, has previously attempted suicide, and both of his parents have now passed away. He lives with schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his trauma, and he has long used alcohol as a means to cope.
However, he has lived and worked his way across Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, and says he has always accepted responsibility for his situation and sought to contribute to the world around him.”
Dunlop himself would advocate for a Scandinavian-style “housing-first” policy for people experiencing homelessness. He has not yet applied for or been approved for MAID. And yet the lure of its very existence enters his troubled mind as a “logical” solution in a country that refuses to offer disadvantaged people more opportunity to advance in society.
According to the government’s website, Canada already has a “Housing-First” approach to ending homelessness. The closest office to Orillia is in Barrie:
This gentleman should not be a candidate for MAID. Any doctor who says he is doesn’t deserve to have the power he/she wields.

January 21, 2023 (The Guardian) Assisted dying seems humane, but can we protect the vulnerable from the malign?
Canada is being watched internationally. Other countries are learning from our experiment. For better or for worse.

January 18, 2023 (Globe and Mail) A complicated grief: Living in the aftermath of a family member’s death by MAID
“Last year, the federal expert panel reporting to Parliament recommended that doctors could deny MAID requests if they felt the lack of family input prevented a full assessment. But it is still unclear how those recommendations will be implemented. The parliamentary committee studying the MAID expansion isn’t slated to report back until February.” Meanwhile, read about three very disturbing incidents that should raise alarms about current practices.

January 18, 2023 (CTV News) Canada performing more organ transplants from MAID donors than any country in the world
The idea that one may be more valuable dead than alive is not new. (The 1947 classic movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, springs to mind.) For people who are already discouraged and feeling worthless, the thought of helping others by dying and donating body parts may be a powerful personal and cultural incentive. The Supreme Court in Carter asserted that, when we allow doctor assisted death, we have to protect vulnerable persons, in times of weakness, from being induced to end their lives. Is organ donation an inducement? We shall see whether or not it is challenged in the future.

January 10, 2023 (Bioethics – Wiley Online Library) Autonomy to a fault: The confluence of organ donation, euthanasia, and the dead donor rule
A published scholarly article raising concerns that were quickly reflected by CTV News in the clipping above. From the abstract: “This paper … critiques proponents’ oversimplified understanding of autonomy with an autonomy-based argument against any linkage of organ donation and euthanasia, regardless of its timing. Respect for patient autonomy does not unilaterally require fulfilling patients’ every  wish. Moreover, the very possibility of organ donation with euthanasia limits donor autonomy qualitatively and quantitatively substantially more than by offering it. In fact, organ donation after euthanasia violates the purpose of the dead donor rule, even if not its technicalities.”

January 5, 2023 (Vancouver Sun) FIRST READING: Disability groups now assuring members they won’t recommend killing them
For example:

A growing coalition of disability and mental health groups have begun openly advocating against Canada’s liberalized MAID (medical assistance in dying) regime, including posting signs assuring patients that they will not recommend them for assisted suicide.

This organization will not recommend, suggest or refer anyone to Medical Assistance in Dying as an alternative to assisting in obtaining necessary supports and services you require,” reads a sign recently circulated on social media by the group Disability Without Poverty.

January 4, 2023 (The Orchard on Substack) Why I changed my mind on MAiD
Jeremy Appel finds dissonance between the public rhetoric on MAiD and its practical application in a country that fails to meet the needs of people with disabilities.

January 3, 2023 (Canada’s National Observer) Unpeeling the false justifications behind MAID expansion
Dr. Sonu Gaind, a MAID provider from the beginning, has become increasingly worried about MAID for people with mental illness as their sole condition.

January 1, 2023. (The Guardian, UK). Assisted dying seems humane, but can we protect the vulnerable from the malign?
A British columnist tries to work through the dangers of assisted death in the UK, using Canada as a cautionary tale.

Excellent undated TikTok post by givenscissors


  1. I do understand the ethical need for examination and scrutiny of the changes proposed to MAID. And I thank you for it as I know why you are doing it. However, as a child of parents, one of whom suffered terribly from FTD before dying thankfully, from the side effects of the off label drug they were taking. And now watching the other going through the same torture and suffering, I cannot in all conscience support your concerns.
    I personally would choose to end my life with a diagnosis of FTD or ALD without a second thought. I will do everything I can to prevent my children having to live through what my siblings and I started living with in 2005 which continues. The impact financially and emotionally is devastating.
    The emotional, constant gut wrenching pain that just doesn’t end. But dying mercifully ends it.
    I believe that the push to exclude dementia from MAID plays into the warehousing industry which profits from suffering of our family members in the twilight years. We watch another parent die without dignity or the choice. No one, should spend their last days, alone overmedicated and abandoned in these horrible places. I speak from experience.
    I will work hard to ensure that access to dying with dignity will be available to those of us who LIVED WITH DIGNITY and who now should have the right to DIE WITH DIGNITY.

    1. Thank you, Jaye, for engaging with Living with Dignity’s post and our point of view. You have my sincere sympathy for the ordeal you and your family have been through. Caring for your parents and watching their condition deteriorate, whether quickly or slowly, is painful and distressing for everyone. I can understand why you would want to spare your children from the agony that you experienced, if ever you were in your parents’ situation. However, it is not the family’s or the caregiver’s pain and distress that MAiD is intended to relieve, is it? I wasn’t familiar with the diagnosis that you mentioned — FTD. When I looked it up, it appeared to me that anyone diagnosed with that condition faces a “reasonably foreseeable natural death” and so would qualify for assistance in hastening their death. Living With Dignity Canada does not oppose that option. However, something to keep in mind is that a big majority of people with terminal illnesses generally do NOT choose to die early, even when that choice is easily available. So your parents might not have wanted that for themselves either, even if you passionately wanted it for them. Surely you can see how this situation could easily lead to elderly folks feeling pressured to end their lives early in order to save their adult children distress and expense — even if it’s not what they really want. External pressure is supposed to be screened for under MAID rules, but it’s subtle and hard to catch, especially by a medical professional who may share the family’s desire to end suffering quickly, no matter whose suffering is at issue.

      Again, thank you for your comment. Rest assured that we here at Living With Dignity Canada feel your pain and wish you comfort and gentleness as the process you face continues to unfold.

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