By Mark Pickup
Editor’s note. With our own Independence Day coming tomorrow, I thought of this post which first ran in 2016. Mr. Pickup, who has multiple sclerosis, is a Canadian disability rights activist who has spoken at National Right to Life’s annual convention.
July 1st was Canada Day, in celebration of Canada becoming a nation on this date in 1867. While the rest of Canada whoops it up, the nation’s sick and disabled have reason to fear.
I am filled with deep sadness. I feel like a stranger in the country where I was born and have lived all my years. In 2016 , Canada passed a law sanctioning physician assisted suicide for suicidal sick and disabled citizens. Canada believes that other Canadians deserve suicide prevention counselling. I know this because in October of 2012, it gave unanimous support (including our current Prime Minister) to the idea of a national suicide prevention strategy. Four years later they pass a law for assisted suicide for suicidal sick and disabled Canadians.
What did that say to me? I am incurably ill and disabled. It said that the government of Canada and the Supreme Court see healthy and able-bodied citizens as worth more than people like me. Of course the government elites and media would not come right and say that. After all are polite people even though Canada would help me kill myself. I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s comment: “After all, when you have kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.”
The self-congratulatory indulgence of the nation today is not for me. I will stay home.
Once my friend and former parliamentarian David Kilgour posted a link on his Facebook page to an article entitled “Canada ranked as second best country in the world.” I commented: “That is, if you are not disabled and suicidal.” A woman responded: “What an ignorant comment – not even remotely funny.” Actually, madam, what is ignorant is that Canada would sanction assisted suicide, and I was not trying to be funny.”
I was expressing my deep sadness for this Canada Day. This patriot has been alienated from protections against killing myself should I sink beneath the waves of my circumstance and become suicidal. My country will not throw me a life-jacket. It will push me further down under a misguided idea of personal autonomy.
Today I will imagine what could have been not what is: I will imagine a gentle Canada that Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote about before state sanctioned and state funded abortion and medical killing of the depressed sick and disabled.
Editor’s note. Lucy Maud Montgomery is a very famous Canadian author of many books, including “Anne of Green Gables.”This column appeared at humanlifematters.org.