Euthanasia Used in Canada to Get Rid of Poorest People

Misión Verdad
Pentobarbital, an anesthetic drug, is used in euthanasia.

Euthanasia, also called “assisted death,” is a measure available in some countries that allows people suffering from incurable illnesses to request medical assistance for a painless death. However, in Canada, it is increasingly used by people living alone and in poverty, yet it is not an issue of concern for the Canadian government.

The Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) Act is Canada’s legal basis for assisted death. It is currently in the eye of the storm because everything seems to indicate that it is being used to eliminate the poorest and most systemically marginalized people.

Alarm bells went off in May when two homeless women applied for assisted death and had their requests approved. While they had underlying illnesses, what pushed the women to choose death was that they no longer had the resources to afford to live.

“The government sees me as expendable trash, a complainer, useless and a pain in the ass,” one of the women said at the time. After spending two years unsuccessfully pleading for better living conditions, she applied for euthanasia.

Recent cases of poor Canadians choosing assisted death due to their inability to live with dignity have provoked disbelief and outrage. These cases have shed light on Canada’s right-to-die laws, which critics argue are being misused to punish the poorest and sickest.

Most Canadians support euthanasia, and the advocacy group Dying With Dignity says the procedure is “driven by compassion, an end to suffering and discrimination and desire for personal autonomy.” However, more and more poor people are dying by euthanasia as their miserable living situation worsens their illnesses. Since the MAiD Act came into force in 2016, its use has increased yearly.

There have been numerous instances where people sought to be killed because they were not getting adequate government support to live. Human rights experts have blasted Canadian authorities for their inaction over this matter.

Euthanasia “cannot be a default for Canada’s failure to fulfill its human rights obligations,” said Marie-Claude Landry, the head of the Human Rights Commission of Canada.

Landry said she shares the “grave concern” voiced last year by three UN human rights experts, who stated that Canada’s euthanasia law appeared to violate the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The experts commented that the law had a “discriminatory impact” on disabled people and was inconsistent with Canada’s obligations to uphold international human rights standards.

Landry called for social and economic rights to be enshrined in Canadian law to ensure that people can get adequate housing, healthcare, and support.

“In an era where we recognize the right to die with dignity, we must do more to guarantee the right to live with dignity,” said the human rights expert.

Some data in this regard:

  • From 2016 to December 2021, there were more than 31,000 assisted deaths in Canada.
  • Last year there were 10,000 euthanasia deaths in Canada.
  • Of that total, 1,740 people in Canada requested and were granted euthanasia solely because they were suffering from loneliness and isolation.
  • Suicides associated with a lack of medical and psychiatric care must also be considered. By providing euthanasia to poor people suffering from illnesses, the government is killing them first so they do not commit suicide themselves.
  • Assisted deaths constitute 3% of the total number of deaths in Canada per year.

Translation by Orinoco Tribune