Assisted death has gone from a last resort to an earth-friendly way to reduce the world’s population
Liberalism used to mean live and let live. If your neighbour painted his house Day-Glo green, liberals shrugged and said, “so be it”. Now? You must not only heap fulsome public praise on his paint preference but you must paint your own house the same glaring colour, too. While apologizing for your abject failure in not recognizing his lived paint experience.
The runaway freight train that is liberalism over the past decade has come to affect virtually every part of life. Now the moveable goalposts have come to impact death, too. As usual, the best intentions of cozy liberals have become the ugly bureaucratic beast of effective altruism.
The issue de jour of assisted suicide – tactfully known in Canada as medical assistance in dying (MAiD) – leapt into the Canadian public consciousness with the ALS death of Toronto Maple Leaf legend Borje Salming. The spectacle of the legendary Swede taking a last public lap with his former teammates and fans in Toronto last month was heart-rending.
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Salming, who was diagnosed in April, died just after returning to Sweden. Former teammate Mark Kirton, who also suffers from ALS, a progressive nervous system disease with no known cure, spoke for all terminal patients in weighing their options. “He died a good death,” Kirton said. “What I mean by that is, his family was around him. He didn’t allow the ALS monster to tear him apart.
“Let me elaborate on that. He knew how much (of) a burden he would be to his family if it kept going, going, going. He knew what was going on in that respect. He was a smart player, even a smarter man.”
Naturally, the swift end for Salming so soon after returning from Toronto raised questions. Did Salming use assisted suicide? It is not yet legal in Sweden, and no one has confirmed that he did. But to those who think MAiD should be available to terminal patients, Salming’s case perfectly fits the template of compassion.
Had Salming been Canadian, he could have availed himself of MAiD in Canada. Available to physically challenged or terminal patients since 2016, it was expected to be expanded in March to include those with mental health conditions. (The deadline has now been extended.) The law says, “a physician or nurse practitioner can directly administer a substance that causes the death of the person who has requested it, or A physician or nurse practitioner can give or prescribe to a patient a substance that they can self-administer to cause their own death.” (In the United States, physician-assisted suicide is legal in nine states and D.C.)
Many Canadians want the option to decide when enough is enough – and are choosing death. In 2021 over 10,000 ended their lives this way, just over three per cent of all deaths in Canada. But as is typical of this Liberal government and its virtue-seeking cadres, the original compassionate sentiment and its rollout have produced something else used by malign actors.
Assisted death has now seemingly gone from last resort to earth-friendly lessening of the population promoted by society’s top names. And as an alternative to psychiatric treatment. Medical providers of MAiD are being told that bringing up the topic to vulnerable patients is now a professional obligation.
According to reports, patients suffering from depression and other psychiatric conditions are being offered MAiD as an alternative to treatment. One man said he wanted MAiD to escape his terrible financial straits. The most dramatic suggestion has come from desperate Canadian veterans claiming they are being offered MAiD instead of further treatment.
The federal government says it has no evidence of this being offered, but veterans insist it was verbally offered. Retired corporal and Canadian Paralympian Christine Gauthier told the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs in November that she was offered an assisted death during her five-year fight for a wheelchair ramp in her home.
Other veterans had similar stories of their psychiatric treatment being no treatment at all. “Mental-health injuries can be terminal only if they’re untreated, unsupported and under-resourced,” said Wounded Warriors executive director Scott Maxwell, whose organization runs mental-health support programs for veterans and first responders.
According to Maria Cheng of The Associated Press, “the Canadian system shows exactly the corrosive features that critics of assisted suicide anticipated, from health care workers allegedly suggesting euthanasia to their patients to sick people seeking a quietus for reasons linked to financial stress.” But defenders of those too ill or depressed to defend themselves are up against stiff competition in the battle for Canadian hearts and minds.
The fashion retailer Simons produced a lavish public service announcement in October about 37-year-old Jennyfer Hatch, who was approved for MAiD amid suffering associated with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Simons execs said their piece was to “build the communities that we want to live in tomorrow, and leave to our children.” New York Times columnist Ross Douthat observed: “For those communities and children, the video’s message is clear: They should believe in the holiness of euthanasia.”
As if gauzy tributes to MAiD were not enough, mainstream Canadian media found a silver lining. “Medically assisted deaths prove a growing boon to organ donation in Ontario,” chirped the Ottawa Citizen. “Ontarians who opt for medically assisted deaths (MAiD) are increasingly saving or improving other people’s lives by also including organ and tissue donation as part of their final wishes.” Well, gosh, ain’t that swell!
Unspoken in this move to euthanasia is the acknowledged desire by many environmentalists and radicals to reduce the world population. Planned Parenthood has long embraced euthanasia as a means of lowering the population – especially those with whom they disapprove politically or culturally. Noted population catastrophist Paul Ehrlich has predicted everything from nuclear disaster to plague unless we get on with the business of helping people die – especially people not down with climate catechism.
Not surprisingly, Canada is now being mocked as the assisted suicide hub of the world. Annette Prestia: “‘Kill yourself’ is either an insult that will get you kicked off Twitter or health advice from the Canadian government.” Tweeted Adam Zivo: “The toilet in my boyfriend’s apartment stopped working tonight. I let him know that, if the problem persists, we can just fly to Canada and apply for MAiD”.
So if nothing else, Canada has that going for us. We The Dead North coming to a screen near you.
Bruce Dowbiggin is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book by bookauthority.org. His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best.
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