Thanks to Trudeau, Canada's death-care system is top of the line
In February, Abbotsford Conservative Party MP Ed Fast introduced Bill C-314, the Mental Health Protection Act, which would quash the federal government’s (delayed) mental-health extension, without repealing the original “foreseeable death” principle. Nice try, but Sen. Stan Kutcher, prime mover of the mental-disorder expansion, says the issue is “decided.” To our nattering nabobs on the left, the words “slipper slope” conjure up not an avalanche, but a delightful toboggan ride.
Writing in National Review in the fall, one American commentator called Justin Trudeau “modernity’s Doctor of Death,” whose willed expansion of MAiD makes Canada “arguably the assisted-death capital of the world.” An exaggeration? Consider that California, with the same population as Canada, and universally regarded as a singularly progressive domain, legalized medically assisted death in 2016, just like Canada. In 2021, 486 Californians availed themselves of the program. In the same year, 10,064 Canadians ended their lives with MAiD (a term for euthanasia used only in Canada, and brazenly stolen from palliative care, where it rightly belongs.)
And indeed, the world has taken notice. One sees a proliferation of the trope that Canada “has become an international cautionary tale.” A writer for The Critic, a British magazine, alluding to bad domestic public policies that arise from good intentions instinctively adduces for example Canada’s MAiD, “originally marketed as a rational choice for sensible adults and therefore an indisputable moral good, it is now being used to kill the poor and the mentally ill as well as the physically sick and the elderly.”
Too many reported incidents of MAiD chosen and executed for bad reasons — including credit card debt, poor housing, and difficulties getting medical care — attest to the truth of this criticism. In the legislative pipeline are “advance requests” — and consent by “mature minors.” Be afraid, be very afraid.
A Parliamentary Budget Office report informing us that MAiD could save Canada $66 million (a rounding error in the scheme of things), without mentioning the savings’ disincentivizing effect on palliative care and services expansion, further twists the shaming knife. Even more perversely, when completing the medical certificate of death, physicians are obliged to list the illness, disease or disability leading to the request for MAiD as the cause of death, rather than the medications administered, the actual cause. If MAiD is a public good, why the deflection? If the directive were not associated with the depthlessly cynical Trudeau government, I’d assume it was evidence of a guilty mind.
This deliberate obfuscation is consistent, however, with the honed tactics of boundary-pushing activists whose Dignity-R-Us rhetoric captured the nabobs. Liberals settled on a winning strategy. Don’t make euthanasia a political plank; do use the courts to keep the expansion ball rolling. The fix was always in for expansion of the death as “reasonably foreseeable” guardrails established by the 2015 Carter decision. Thus, the 2019 Quebec Truchon decision that found Carter’s limits to MAiD access unconstitutional went unchallenged by Quebec and Ottawa, in spite of a flawed trial process.
The trial judge for Truchon, Christine Baudouin, was a lawyer only recently promoted to Superior Court. Her father, retired Court of Appeal judge Jean-Louis Baudouin, a longtime proponent of state-executed euthanasia, wrote several publications urging decriminalization of assistance to suicide. Christine Baudouin shared his views. Her law firm, Heenan Blaikie, had financially supported her father’s advocacy for state-delivered euthanasia.
The lawyer for the titular disabled plaintiff seeking MAiD, Jean Truchon (who admitted in an email to a friend he didn’t really want to die, he only wanted greater assistance to live with dignity, but couldn’t get it) relied on Jean-Louis Beaudoin’s pro-euthanasia publications, which were accepted into evidence by Christine in the trial.
That Christine Baudouin did not recuse herself in such circumstances compromises the decision. The Quebec and Canada attorneys general knew that, but did not appeal the judgment, an appeal they likely would have won. They welcomed it as a springboard to new legislation. As evidence of their satisfaction with Christine’s ruling, Quebec’s A-G gave Truchon’s lawyer a justice award just days after the decision. And rookie judge Christine Beaudoin was elevated by David Lametti to the Quebec Court of Appeal.
My greatest concern is for the rights of the severely disabled. The disabled rightly believe they are perceived in certain influential circles as, so to speak, “not wanted on the voyage.”
For years I’ve followed the vicissitudes of — and several times commented on — 48-year-old Roger Foley, who suffers from cerebellar ataxia, a fatal neurological disorder that limits his ability to move his arms and legs. His physical condition has not dimmed his intellect, his passion for life or his meticulously focused disability-rights activism. Supportive details regarding the Truchon decision and other pivotal moments in MAiD’s history can be found on Foley’s website, assisteddying.ca. I particularly recommend his well-crafted “public-interest evidence video,” instructive as to the rather incestuous relationships amongst euthanasia ideologues, their justice-system enablers, political foot soldiers and the highly supportive Trudeau Foundation.
In 2019, Justin Trudeau promised Canadians they wouldn’t have to choose MAiD because “you’re not getting the supports and cares (sic) that you actually need.” But Catalina Devandas Aguilar, a lawyer from Costa Rica and the UN’s first ever Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, who explored Foley’s and other Canadian cases, found that was precisely what is happening. “Persons with disabilities have to initiate very lengthy and onerous legal procedures to get their rights recognized,” Devandas Aguilar said in a report to the Governor General. This visit and the rapporteur’s worthy recommendations apparently sank like a stone.
You can wait five years to see a medical specialist in this country. The disabled can wait forever to see their living-with-dignity rights honoured. But the euthanasia doctor is always there for you. Nobody, including our prime minister, denies Canada’s health-care system is broken. But cheer up: Our death-care system is top of the line.