Is death becoming an industry in Canada?

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An article by Lee Harding that was published on November 14 by the Epoch Times interviews Amy Hasbrouck from Toujour Vivant – Not Dead Yet, Angelina Ireland from the Delta Hospice Society and myself concerning the direction of euthanasia (MAiD) in Canada.

Harding begins by stating that the Québec euthanasia data was released on October 20 showing that the number of MAiD deaths increased by 37% to 2426 (April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) representing 3.3% of all deaths. Harding asks why the numbers of euthanasia deaths is increasing so quickly. Among other things, I told Harding:

“In the discussion leading up to Bill C-7, all of the cultural taboos about killing people with disabilities or extending this (MAiD) to people with mental health issues and things like that, it was breaking down the negativity or the concept of maybe it’s not a good idea to do this to anyone for any reason,”

“The more we talk about it, the more it will happen. The more people will promote it, the more people will think it’s fine and the more people will die this way. … In a sense, death is becoming an industry. The fact is that all these things have moved our social mores.”

I then spoke about a call that I received from a woman who was upset that her husband had asked to die by euthanasia.

“She’s calling me up all upset, saying, ‘My husband would have never supported this, never. What’s happening?’ And we had a long discussion. She found out that the one nurse in palliative care had spoken to him for two hours in the middle of the night, convincing him that it was the right thing to do,”

“They say this is all about freedom and choice and autonomy, and yet you’re getting calls like this.

Harding also interviewed Angelina Ireland, the President of the Delta Hospice Society, an organization that lost government funding because it refused to participate in euthanasia.

Ireland said:

“They can kill you at your home, the hospital, long-term care facility, hospice, and now the funeral home. But if one actually wants to live—that’s a lot more difficult. With the firing of thousands of health-care workers across Canada, we cannot so easily access even routine surgeries and tests for our own well-being. Where are the priorities?”

Harding then spoke to Amy Hasbrouck who is a disability leader in Canada. Hasbrouck says:

The Truchon decision in Quebec in September 2019 legalized euthanasia for the disabled across Canada, a decision Hasbrouck believes did more to devalue people with disabling health conditions than empower them.

“The judge, basically, instead of saying, ‘You’re right. That’s the problem of our public policies and the way we treat disabled people. We need to do things differently,’ she said, ‘Oh, yes. You’re right. You should have the right to be killed by the state because, of course, you wouldn’t want to go into a nursing home,”

“So the judge’s solution was, they would be better off dead.

Hasbrouck commented on Jonathon Marchand.  A Quebec City man with muscular dystrophy, Marchand camped outside the Legislative assembly in a make-shift cage to protest his confinement to a nursing home, rather than enabling him to live independently with supports. Hasbrouck says:

“Quebec resisted and dragged their feet. And ultimately, they allowed Jonathan to create a program for himself, but they refused to extend the pilot project to other people. … [Yet] it costs less for somebody to live in the community than for the person that lives in an institution,”

“It became much more apparent during the COVID pandemic that society in general considered disabled people [and the elderly in nursing homes] as a disposable population. Those are trends that we have seen most recently that are very worrisome.”

Hasbrouck is decrying the fact that people are not being offered choices to live, but they are being told that they have a choice to die. In other words, people are considered better off dead.