Many people would rather be dead than live in Canada under the tyranny of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Apparently, the Canadian government is happy to oblige. Recent initiatives to expand the country’s laws on euthanasia has put it toward the forefront of this issue. Euthanasia is already legal for the terminally ill but Canadian lawmakers look to continue to expand the scope of what is constituted as legally assisted suicide.
In March 2021, Canada’s existing euthanasia laws were expanded so that it wasn’t necessary for someone to qualify for what is deemed medical assistance in dying. This change was instigated by the passage of Bill C-7, the most major piece of legislation of assisted suicide since the passage of Bill C-14 in 2016. Bill C-7 also included a provision that would allow people suffering from mental illness to qualify for assisted suicide, although they will not be eligible for it until 2023. Before 2016, assisted suicide was entirely illegal. It wasn’t until a Supreme Court decision set the legal precedent that enabled the passage of Bill C-14. In shorter than a decade, Canada has rapidly gone from a nation where assisted suicide was illegal to one that is rapidly advancing the policy.
It doesn’t stop there though. Next month, a parliamentary committee will release a report examining the future outlook for the expansion of euthanasia laws, foreshadowing a trajectory where the practice will seemingly only become more commonplace.
Critics of Canada’s medically assisted suicide would be the first to categorize the policy as a sort of human culling program. The narrative surrounding the government’s assessment of these laws doesn’t do much to challenge that assertion. Immediately following the passage of Bill C-14, a report published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal forecast that medical assistance in dying could save the country’s centralized healthcare system upwards of $138 million each year in claiming that its legalization "should not result in any excess financial burden to the health-care system, and could result in substantial savings." Although the report also stated that it didn’t view that financial considerations should be an incentive for expansion of existing euthanasia laws, it’s impossible to ignore that being of significance. The fact that the country will offer people financial assistance to receive euthanasia is another instance contradicting the report's claim of a lack of any inventive.
In allowing those suffering solely from mental illness to qualify for medically assisted suicide with only as much as the presence of a third-party witness needed to be in attendance to apply for eligibility, a spotlight has been cast on Canada’s failures in addressing mental health across the country. With mental illness and neurodegenerative disorders projected to increase in the future, the tide of medically assisted suicide is likely to increase with that hand-in-hand.
One example especially highlights how little it would actually take for Canadian's to choose death over hardship. In April, a 31-year-old disabled woman from Toronto decided to apply for assisted suicide following her inability to secure affordable housing in a domicile that doesn’t exacerbate the symptoms of her multiple chronic illness. Her diagnosis off Multiple Chemical Sensitivities was the crux of the justification for her request. This instance encapsulates the concern that critics share about how medically assisted suicide will ultimately target the poor and disabled, a context that reframes the initiative as being less about euthanasia and more about eugenics.
Canada is far from the only country where medically assisted suicide is available. In the United States, it's legal in 8 states (Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and California) as well as Washington DC. In Montana, it is also legal for terminally ill patients to request lethal medication from a physician. European nations where it is legal include Belgium, Spain, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the Netherlands. New Zealand and Australia have also legalized it as well while other nations including Germany Italy, and Colombia have had court cases decided which set the precedent for it to be made legal, although no legislation has been passed in any of those countries.
The growing trend of rapidly expanding euthanasia laws paints a bleak future ahead. Late last year, For instance, 3D-printed suicide booths were authorized for use in Switzerland – making what was once thought of as a sci-fi trope turn into a looming reality. The juxtaposition of medically assisted suicide which appeals to the poor, mentally ill, and disabled coupled with equal progress being made in the fields of anti-aging, AI, and machine-brain interfaces available to the upper echelon of society perhaps serves to show the misguided priorities of a medical technocracy which is only growing to have more influence over people’s lives. If this is the path ahead, then perhaps there really is only one way out...