Over the past twelve months many Canadians have had to make significant, and in some cases, drastic changes to their lives and their families from a pandemic that has caused economic upheaval for so many:
Our Governments stepped up early on, providing wage subsidies to businesses so that workers would remain in the job. Highly successful. As well, the Federal Government created the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) that provided $2,000 per month for those who were or are no longer working. Again, highly successful.
In previous blog posts and on social media, I have written quite extensively about the fact the disabled were left behind. Unable to qualify for CERB, the disabled instead were forced to continue with meagre benefits, despite having increased costs during the pandemic. As mentioned, the attitude towards the disabled by Governments and, by extension, society itself did little to serve the ongoing Ableism faced by the disabled. It became clear, the disabled are considered a burden.
If not purposeful, but it certainly was and is the perception.
The disabled have lost confidence in their elected officials. Activists and advocates are loud enough but one wonders if anyone is listening. It is disgraceful enough that the disabled require the use of a food bank but then can’t get there because of snow on sidewalks, inaccessible locations and little thought given to how they would carry the items back home. Instead they must pay for taxis and uber from an income already well below the poverty line.
The depressed mindset of the disabled in Canada today could be characterized as “feeling hopeless”. It didn’t need to be this way but sadly there’s worse news coming. Much worse.
The Federal Government over the past while has been reviewing changes to the assisted suicide legislation. The final draft was presented a short time ago and to Disabled Canadians there was immediate shock and disgust as well as a level of fear and helplessness.
To be clear, I support MAID. Anyone who has held the hand of a loved one through a terminal illness would typically understand if that individual wished to end their life on their terms. If death is foreseeable and pain unbearable, it makes sense if that individual wishes to avail themselves of professional end of life care. Where my support ends is when Eugenics gets a toehold in the legislation. Today this is exactly where we are.
The new legislation allows for any Canadian who has a terminal illness, where death is foreseen, where life may have become intolerable to apply for MAID. This is good, this is righteous. The controls are in place, the experts who help with the decision are professionals. The new legislation known as Bill C-7 however now has a carve out. A new section that reads, paraphrased, that Canadians with disabilities may apply for MAID who are not at deaths door, where death isn’t even foreseeable. Instead the criteria is ONLY that they are disabled.
Hold up a second!!!! The only demographic of Canadians who can apply for MAID who are not currently dying are the disabled who make up 24% of Canadians. Not Canadians with Blonde hair, or Canadians over 6 feet or Canadians with poor taste in hockey teams but only Canadians who are disabled.
The very demographic we have already deemed 2nd or 3rd class citizens in our country.
This is Eugenics plain and simple and cannot be allowed to stand. Bill C-7 cannot be allowed to pass as it is.
Over the past year a number of Ontarian’s with disabilities looked at the options they had in terms of income, quality of life and determined the best option was death. Imagine such a decision in a country as rich as Canada but alas, this has happened and has been confirmed.
Thankfully the professionals who control the decisions over who can and cannot access MAID would today, deny a claim if the only reason the claim was made was economic distress that led to depression and hopelessness. That however isn’t good enough. Positions change; governments change; those who make those decisions down the road may not have the same mindset as those who are there today. That’s why legislation must always be looked at from the point of view that the officials enforcing it are at the lowest possible common denominator.
The Senate generally approves of the changes to MAID. This is ridiculous considering we have a few disability advocates sitting in the Senate along with Canada’s most decorated Olympic champion Chantel Petitclerc. The voices as I said are loud but who is listening?
Bill C -7 as it stands is a slippery slope that puts the rights of the disabled firmly back in the 1990’s. Many of us remember the farmer who killed his teenage daughter back then to relieve her from pain and suffering but how many of us remember the groundswell of support that farmer received. What if that attitude seeped into the oversight and control of MAID.
International media has condemned Canada for Bill C-7 in its current form. It’s time for PM Justin Trudeau, his cabinet and his party to fix what could easily become a deadly disaster for Canadians with disabilities.