Losing the Will, and the Right, to Live

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on My own, but He sent Me. Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof..… John 8: 42-44

Once again, Canada has been noticed internationally. And once again for shameful reasons.

“Why is Canada euthanizing the poor?” The British weekly news magazine, The Spectator, wants to know.

“Since last year, Canadian law, in all its majesty, has allowed both the rich as well as the poor to kill themselves if they are too poor to continue living with dignity,” writes Yuan Yi Zhu, a Senior Research Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. “In fact, the ever-generous Canadian state will even pay for their deaths. What it will not do is spend money to allow them to live instead of killing themselves.”

That’s quite an indictment. One which appears to have hit a nerve at media outlets such as The National Post which was falling all over itself in embarrassment soon after the article appeared.

In its banner editorial column under the headline The truly awful cost of Canada’s permissive doctor-assisted death program, the Post confirmed Yuan’s charges: It has been quite remarkable to watch: In less than a decade, Canada’s medical assistance in dying (MAiD) program has expanded from a system limited solely to those with terminal illnesses, to one that is now used by people who lack adequate housing. And it will soon be available to those with mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Parliament should put the brakes on this runaway sled, and fix the current system.”

Post columnists also weighed in. Tristen Hopper expressed fears that the Canadian health system has been far too quick and too comfortable with prescribing death to patients. And Sabrina Maddeaux did not conceal her disgust: “Euthanizing the mentally ill without providing proper supports is reprehensible.”

And Brad Bird described the breathtaking speed the government has taken – in just seven years —  to move from a total prohibition on euthanasia to euthanasia at an adult’s deathbed to euthanasia for mental and physical illness at any moment of an adult’s life. “The speed with which we have travelled on an issue of tectonic societal significance, and the territory we have covered, should raise questions about the wisdom of our approach. Advocates say it is progress. I worry it is a runaway train. I believe that euthanasia, in any form, is the wrong choice for a society. It opens a Pandora’s box of risk. It also sends disturbing messages, teaching that human life is a depreciating asset with a ‘best before’ date or that certain conditions are a ‘fate worse than death.’ Human dignity — each person’s intrinsic worth and value — never disappears, no matter how dire the circumstances may be.”

Yet still unspoken is the abject truth —euthanasia is always a sin, a crime and a violation of the sacredness of life itself and the immortal soul of all human beings, each made by God Himself, each in His own likeness and image.

Or as Pope John Paul II put it: “Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.

Yet this eternal truth, which has been central to the heart of Christian civilisation for two thousand years, appears not to have troubled the consciences of Canadian legislators who have arrogated to themselves and to their secular State the power over life and death.

MAiD

“In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed 22 years of its own jurisprudence by striking down the country’s ban on assisted suicide as unconstitutional, blithely dismissing fears that the ruling would ‘initiate a descent down a slippery slope into homicide’ against the vulnerable as founded on ‘anecdotal examples’,” Yuan charges. “The next year, Parliament duly enacted legislation allowing euthanasia, but only for those who suffer from a terminal illness whose natural death was ‘reasonably foreseeable’.”

Five years later, in March 2021, Bill C-7 amending MAiD (Medial Assistance in Dying) was passed making changes to the eligibility criteria and no longer insisting a condition be ‘terminal’ for euthanasia to be performed. Gone was the “reasonably foreseeable” criterion and, as of March 17, 2023, MAiD will be expanded to competent adults whose sole underlying condition is mental illness.

Mental illness. If ever there was a pretext for abuse. And if ever this becomes a legislated criteria for euthanasia, is there a chance the definition might be applied – Soviet style – to a Canadian objecting to any part of the Trudeau government’s ideology?

As the current law stands now, all that’s required is for the candidate to be suffering from a disease or disability which cannot be relieved under life conditions deemed unacceptable. Plus, it’s free.

Hence its appeal to suffering Canadians who, although they would otherwise prefer to live, are too poor to improve their conditions to an acceptable degree. Making euthanasia for some Canadians seem a logical, even inevitable, option in a country with the lowest social care spending in an industrialized country and with among the lowest number of hospital beds per capita anywhere. Plus palliative care is accessible to only a minority and wait times in the public healthcare sector can be unbearable, worsened further by Covid-19. All of which has further exposed the harsh realities of a socialist medical system collapsing under the dysfunctionality its ideology inevitably produces. Beginning with “hallway medicine” which, for decades, has been a feature of Canadian hospitals, as have intolerable wait times for almost all services.

Hallway Medicine

This is a chronic situation with which Canadians are familiar. And which, rather than addressing the multiple dysfunctions of a socialist health care system in realistic, responsible and non-ideological ways, is generating horror stories endured by countless Canadians experiencing the true meaning of ‘carelessness’ in all its permutations in the time of Covid. Particularly the poor, some of whose cases were itemized in The Spectator and confirmed by the few Canadian media who reported them.

As Yuan outlined, these horrors include a Canadian with a neurodegenerative disease testifying to Parliament that hospital nurses and a medical ethicist tried to pressure him into killing himself by threatening to kick him out of the hospital, thereby bankrupting him, and by withholding water from him for 20 days. Consider too the woman pressured into accepting euthanasia because her housing benefits did not allow her to get alternate housing that wouldn’t aggravate her crippling allergies. CTV also reported a similar case – a 31-year-old Toronto woman suffering from chemical sensitivities and using a wheelchair. She too has been applying for government assistance to find more suitable accommodations, but says it was easier to apply for MAiD. “I’ve applied for MAiD essentially … because of abject poverty,” she said. So far, she’s received all the necessary approvals, without anyone involved asking her about her efforts to find more accessible housing free from the chemicals that aggravate her condition.

Another disabled woman applied to be killed because she “simply cannot afford to keep on living”.  And still another sought euthanasia because her Covid-related debt left her unable to pay for the treatment that kept her chronic pain bearable. And all this was coming at a time when disabled Canadians were receiving one-time-only payments of $600 in additional Covid financial assistance while university students received $5000 when businesses were shut down, dramatically reducing incomes across the country.

But the above are a mere handful of the many desperate cases for which MAiD has produced ‘answers’ from a Liberal government which insists that access to voluntary lethal injection is strictly about individual autonomy – meaning an individual’s right to permanently opt out of a life that’s become too painful or too unaffordable.

$$$

But it’s also about the money. Even Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Office admitted that the amended euthanasia law would have such fiscal advantages as cost savings: In addition to the $86.9 million the old MAiD regime saved annually, the amended MAiD would create additional net savings of $62 million per year. The rationale? Healthcare, particularly for those suffering chronic conditions, is expensive. But assisted suicide would cost the taxpayer only $2,327 per ‘case’.

So no surprise that many chronic sufferers have been considering their options and done the math: At the end of 2020 the official death toll from MAiD was 21,589 – 2.5 percent of deaths in Canada – and 34.2 percent higher when compared with 2019.

All of which led Yuan to ask why Canada’s largely subsidized media – except for a very few – have largely ignored the open social murder of citizens in one of the world’s wealthiest countries: “Canada’s public broadcaster, which in 2020 reassured Canadians that there was ‘no link between poverty, (and) choosing medically assisted death’, has had little to say about any of the subsequent developments.”

The situation also promises to get much worse next year when the floodgates open even further as the mentally ill – another disproportionately poor group – become eligible for assisted suicide. There is also talk of allowing “mature minors” access to euthanasia too. “Just think of the lifetime savings,” Yuan concludes.

Hiding the Truth

Is this why coverage of this issue has been so sparse? The legislation so unchallenged? Is it because this total departure from civilised morality is simply too shameful to discuss? Regardless, MAiD looks set for the next phase, which is to normalize itself within a culture that is already dying.

The normalization signs are everywhere and metastasizing.

Take the case of the woman who ended her life through assisted suicide at a Winnipeg church. Referred to as a ‘simple Crossing Over Ceremony,’ the “progressive” and LGBT “affirming” church has used its sanctuary as a place where members can willingly end their lives via assisted suicide.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, an elderly 86-year-old woman suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, was granted approval to have her life taken via medically assisted suicide on March 9 at Churchill Park United Church which, according to her obituary, led to her dying as “the sun streamed through the stained glass windows in the music-filled sanctuary.”

Consider too a London Ontario funeral home which has begun to promote euthanasia as one of its services. Last November, CBC reported that new euthanasia facilities are now able to offer an all-in-one package — death, wake, burial — thanks to the MAiD protocol that’s been legal since 2016, and expanded in 2021.

Paul Needham of Northview Funeral Chapel told CBC News he had been receiving so many calls to provide a place for people to be euthanized that he began to offer rooms for rent at his funeral home where the old and the sick could come to die, either by their own hand or, more commonly, with the assistance of a doctor or nurse. In the past year alone, the funeral home is reported to have facilitated the deaths of 23 people.

Other funeral homes look set to promote these services as well.

Love Gone Cold

Nor– with the legalization of euthanasia in a culture already depraved by millions of abortions – can the collapse of participating nations be far behind. If a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable – do we care for them, or kill them? – what does that say about Canada’s current state of honour, dignity and morality?

Opines French author Michel Houellebeque of euthanasia: “The honour of a civilisation is not exactly nothing. But really something else is at stake; from the anthropological point of view. It is a question of life and death. And on this point I am going to have to be very explicit: when a country — a society, a civilisation — gets to the point of legalising euthanasia, it loses in my eyes all right to respect. It becomes henceforth not only legitimate, but desirable, to destroy it; so that something else — another country, another society, another civilisation — might have a chance to arise.”

Houellebeque then drives to the very heart of the matter: “This is a terrifying thought. Is this the future of a society which is so focused on sex and wealth that it has forgotten how to love?”

And forgotten God?

Covid-19 Heartlessness

How many readers, during the Covid pandemic of the past two years, have experienced the sudden indifference with which unexpected death has been accepted? Death which, just two years earlier, would have prompted shock, surprise, sorrow, shared support, prayer, a formal funeral and burial.

In the past two years, however, death has been transformed into something unrecognizable, even inhuman in some cases. And this new phenomenon has had many manifestations that saw patients with Covid-19 and/or with an underlying illness denied visits in hospital or even at home while the rest of the family was confined to their own quarters and prohibited from attending Mass and the sacraments. Still others were banned from funerals unless vaccinated. I also know personally of at least six vaccinated Canadians who died suddenly, usually alone and uninfected with Covid. Yet their cause of death went unquestioned. Unexamined. Or a coroner was sent, whose report on the cause of death went unremarked, if noticed at all. Was I alone in finding this particularly alarming, bizarre and uncivilised? Was the cause a heart attack? Was death Covid related? Was it a side-effect of the vaccine? What was the actual cause of death? The answer to which no one seemed much interested.

Why?

How easily hearts are hardened. Particularly when they are threatened or frightened or routinely lied to. And particularly when they’ve been breathing in the spiritual fumes of the millions of abortions committed in Canada – in the name of human rights – for more than half a century. And as the predictable consequence of years of government policies that have been perniciously usurping the natural role on family and human charity.

So one must ask: how truly hardened had Canadian hearts become before Covid-19 struck? How hardened were Canadian hearts before MAiD was rammed through Parliament without a vote from the general public? And why must it be regularly amended to increase the body count of Canadians living without faith, without hope, and without love? All to decrease the surplus population of the nation’s neglected sufferers, buried in silence beneath of cacophony of ‘compassionate’ verbiage uttered by contemptuous bureaucrats.

The Truth Outs

Apparently burying all this loveless horror under ‘compassionate’ legislation – as exposed by Yuan – has not made Canada more loveable or humane. The truth cannot remain unburied. Murder is murder, regardless of props and what justification is provided.

So the reaction of the Canadian media to The Spectator piece was not surprising. It was yet another wake-up call to a once Godly and conscientious nation whose laws and social cohesion were based on Christian moral teaching. Which many have long since been persuaded is intolerant, racist, repressive and needlessly cruel. And which has left many Canadian children without knowledge of Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of all love, all order and all civilization. The same Jesus Christ Who has since been replaced by the pernicious State which, in Canada, has produced an adolescent and self-indulgent culture now wallowing in exactly the sorts of immorality that destroys entire nations. This is also why Canada no longer coheres.

The glue has gone. Prosperity is fleeing. And Canada now appears to be losing its will to live. As a nation and as a people.

It’s all so predictable. Yet the supreme irony remains. As the Bloc Quebecois moves to remove prayer from Canada’s Parliament and darkness continues to descend, the irresistible God of God, Light of Light, True God of True God remains Present. And Absolute. As are His immutable laws.

Which Canadian politicians seem ritually determined to break or remove, despite the incontrovertible fact that for the past two thousand years, the vast sweep of human history has been all about this very Presence – the Lord God coming into every human heart He created. And the passing parade of attempts to eradicate Him. Which always and everywhere fail.

This means that unless Canada changes its mind about Life itself – which is God and which is Love – the nation’s very survival is in doubt. The question now is: will the intercession of St. Joseph, Canada’s patron, and all the Canadian saints and martyrs praying that Canadians see the Light for which the saints were willing to serve and to die, bring about a restoration of this once divinely blessed country?

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Paula Adamick is founding editor of The Canada Post, the newspaper serving the Canadian expat community in the United Kingdom (about 200,000 of us) from 1997 to 2012. With a BA in English and Journalism and a UK Masters degree in International Journalism, Adamick has also served as arts correspondent for The Scotsman and as a frequent contributor to The Evening Standard, and The Daily Mail (all UK) as well as to Canadian publications such as Challenge and Catholic Insight.