Canada’s broadening medical assistance in dying (MAiD) law has already harmed the country’s most vulnerable and will continue to do so unless amended, say critics of the legislation.
“She has been unable to get treatment for her symptoms. So she’s been trying to go to the U.S. for treatment, but she doesn’t have enough money for that. But she’s been approved for euthanasia,” he said.
The law surrounding MAiD in Canada has been revised and expanded more than once since the procedure was legalized in 2016.
Initially, eligibility applied to those suffering from a serious condition, disease, or disability that was impossible to reverse through treatment.
The law also stated that patients could only apply if they were undergoing “unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be relieved under conditions that patients consider acceptable,“ and if their death was ”reasonably foreseeable.”
In addition, their application had to be approved by at least two physicians.
World’s ‘Most Permissive’ Assisted Suicide LawsLondon, Ont., family doctor Ramona Coelho has worked with many patients who suffer from disabilities and strongly opposes Canada’s broadening MAiD laws.
Coelho told The Epoch Times about 71-year-old Ernest McNeill, who was admitted to a hospital after a fall. He was isolated from his family for a long time due to COVID-19 restrictions and contracted an infectious diarrheal illness while in hospital.
“The staff made very inappropriate comments about him,” said Coehlo, adding that McNeill “felt quite sad about it and he was in a lot of pain.”
“Someone on the [hospital] team raised the idea [of] medical assistance in dying [and] that he would qualify and told him all about it,” she said.
The health-care staff quickly diagnosed McNeill with a severe case of bronchitis, called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which Coehlo said McNeill didn’t know he had.
“But he trusted them,” Coehlo said. “So he basically accepted his death based on a diagnosis of COPD when he was acutely sick and feeling terrible.”
“No one should be encouraging MAiD as a means to save money or address staffing shortages,” the organization Dying With Dignity Canada told The Epoch Times in an email. “There are strenuous criteria and safeguards, as set forth in the law, for all MAiD assessments and approvals.”
She said several United Nations officials have warned the Canadian government that “our MAiD law will lead to human rights violations.”
‘You Can Just Apply to Get Assisted’Schadenberg raised the story of Roger Foley, a London, Ont., man who in his early 40s was offered MAiD by hospital staff without having requested it and was even told he would pay extraordinary hospital fees if he continued his long hospital stay.
“How are you feeling, Rog? Are you feeling like you want to harm yourself or anything like that?” asked one worker at the London Health Sciences Centre. “You can just apply to get assisted—if you want to end your life.”
Another worker told Foley it would cost him “north of $1,500 a day” to remain in hospital.
‘Vulnerable Canadians Are Being Put at Risk’Allegations recently became public of a Veteran Affairs worker recommending MAiD to a veteran seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury.
Conservative MP Garnett Genuis said the incident goes to show the inevitable consequences resulting from Canada’s MAiD law.
Health Canada told The Epoch Times in an email that Canada has “a high bar for accessing MAID” through “eligibility criteria” and “safeguards” set forth in the law.
“Just as persons with physical ailments must be suffering grievously and be in an advanced state of decline arising from an incurable condition in order to receive MAID, only individuals with severe and long-standing mental illnesses that have been resistant to multiple treatments and interventions would ever be deemed eligible for MAID,” a spokesperson for Health Canada said.
This was Canada’s largest-ever number of MAiD cases in one year. The previous numbers were 1,018 in 2016, 2,838 in 2017, 4,480 in 2018, 5,661 in 2019, and 7,603 in 2020.
The 10,064 MAiD deaths in 2021 accounted for 3.3 percent of all deaths in Canada that year.
“The rise is continuing, whether it continues at that rate or it slows down,” said Schadenberg.
Ontario saw over 1,800 assisted deaths from January to June 2022. Since MAiD became legal in 2016, Ontario has seen over 11,600 deaths from this procedure.
“The fact of it is, MAiD is already the sixth-leading cause of death in Canada,” Schadenberg said. “And so will it go much higher than that? The answer is yes.”