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The Canadian Government cannot be allowed to add vulnerable groups such as infants 0-1 years of age to its assisted-suicide program
by Dan Fournier, Opinion, published Friday, November 25, 12:00 EST on fournier.substack.com
“Once the door to killing without consent is completely opened, the swath of people
who become eligible for being killed expands exponentially.” – Alex Schadenberg,
Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
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A recent video clip posted by the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF Canada) and Leslyn Lewis, an MP from the Conservative party, has stirred up a flurry of worry and concern amongst Canadians.
One of the issues discussed is whether the recommendation to expand medical assistance in dying (MAiD) is appropriate for infants up to age one born with severe and grave syndromes.
Also at stake in this Bill is whether MAiD (euthanasia) can be further expanded to include other vulnerable groups, i.e., teens aged 14-17 who would be considered “mature minors”, those with intellectual disabilities, and the elderly.
The Quebec College of Physicians (CMQ)’s suggestions
Last October, a video surfaced whereby Dr. Louis Roy, from the Quebec College of Physicians, told the Commons' Special Joint Committee of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) on Oct. 7 that his organization believes MAiD can be appropriate for infants up to age one who are born with “severe malformations” and “grave and severe syndromes” for which their “prospective of survival is null, so to speak,” as per The National Post.
In his video testimony, Dr. Roy also suggested (on behalf of the CMQ with the support of its Board of Directors) to the committee that minors from 14 to 17 years of age could make requests for MAiD.
As per the Post’s article, Inclusion Canada said it was “alarmed” by Roy’s recommendation that Canada “legalize euthanasia for infants with disabilities under the age of one.”
Krista Carr, Inclusion Canada’s executive vice president, stated:
“Canada cannot begin killing babies when doctors predict there is no hope for them. Predictions are far too often based on discriminatory assumptions about life with a disability.”
Many other concerns were expressed by Inclusion Canada. Among them we find [emphasis added]:
“One of our main concerns right now is Canada’s plan to legalize medical assistance in dying (MAiD) for people who have a mental illness in 2023. Next year, some people who have a mental illness will be able to have their doctor euthanize them.”
“A government appointed committee called the “Expert Panel on MAiD and Mental Illness” made recommendations for how Canada should proceed. These recommendations put people with intellectual disabilities at risk.”
The Expert Panel recommends that Canada provide medical assistance in dying to people who are “in situations of involuntariness” like a jail or an institution.
Right now, people with a mental illness can have their right to decide taken away in Canada. This means that while they’re really sick, people with a mental illness can be told that they can’t refuse to take medicine or to leave the hospital, for example. But the Expert Panel on MAiD and mental illness thinks that even when people have had all their other choices taken away, we should make sure that they can still choose to die. This is dangerous.
The Expert Panel recommends that Canada provide medical assistance in dying through a supported decision maker.
Overall, supported decision making is great! But when it comes to big decisions, like whether or not to die, supported decision making isn’t always appropriate. For example, there is a big difference between when supported decision making helps a person make their own independent choices, and when supported decision making gives other people the authority to decide your preferences. The Expert Panel doesn’t put any limits on their recommendation. This is dangerous.
These recommendations are dangerous when applied to people with a mental illness. But the Expert Panel goes even further; they imply that when a person with an intellectual disability (whether or not they have a mental illness) asks to die by MAiD, these same recommendations should apply.
We worry that this would mean that a person with an intellectual disability who is institutionalized and doesn’t have control over their day to day decisions could instead choose to die by MAiD.
And we worry that this would mean that a person with an intellectual disability could die by MAiD because a supportive decision maker believes rightly or wrongly that that’s what they want.
In addition, the Post article cites Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, saying he does not see why doctors would agree to MAiD for newborns if their chances of survival are next to nothing anyways:
“Why would you then have to give the child a lethal dose? If the child is not going to survive, the child can be kept comfortable and die naturally. There’s no reason for us to kill the child. There’s no reason for us to do this at all.”
Krista Carr also boldly stated:
“An infant cannot consent to their own death. This isn’t MAID, it’s murder.
And providing MAID to a person who cannot consent is a standard that is wildly dangerous for all persons with intellectual disabilities in Canada.”
If we dig a bit deeper into the broader scope of the recommendations from the CMQ, we find that on December 13, 2021 they published ‘Aide médicale à mourir : Le Collège des médecins du Québec est favorable à un élargissement lors de troubles neurocognitifs et propose des balises pour les cas de santé mentale’ (English translation (for, an English version is, unacceptably, non-existent): Medical assistance in dying: The College of Physicians of Quebec is in favor of an extension for neurocognitive disorders and proposes guidelines for mental health cases).
In general, the CMQ recommends that MAiD be expanded to include, under certain conditions, people with cases of mental illness, minors aged from 14 to 17 (under the “mature minor” doctrine), and infants up to 1 year of age.
As part of the CMQ’s mission is to ‘make recommendations in order to improve medical practice in Quebec’, its Board of Directors enacted a study group to examine the matter which lead to a formal publication of their position (French: Recommandation de positionnement du groupe de réflexion sur l’aide médicale à mourir et les soins de fin de vie. Conseil d’administration. 10 décembre 2021).
The CMQ responded to this author’s request for comments which appear in later section of this article.
The legal definition of MAiD, source: https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-33.html#h-119953
For a bit of historical context, Bill C-14 was tabled by the Parliament of Canada in 2016 to amend the criminal code so as to legalize both physician-administered euthanasia (PAE) and physician-assisted suicide (PAS).
In 2021, the law further amended Bill C-7 to permit assisted euthanasia in additional situations, including for certain patients whose natural death is “not reasonably foreseeable”.
Put simply, this second set of applicants would simply need to show that they had a condition that was “intolerable to them” and could not “be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable.”
Canadians who weren't already nearing death became eligible for MAID in 2021, when the government changed the law in response to a lower court ruling.
That change allows people with "grievous and irremediable" medical conditions who are experiencing "intolerable suffering" to seek a doctor's help to die — even if their natural deaths are decades away, stated a recent CBC article on the subject.
According to Canada’s Department of Justice, come March of 2023, the government is scheduled to expand the pool of eligible suicide-seekers to include the mentally ill and “mature minors.”
“mature minor” doctrine (Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Children’s Participatory Rights in Canada, III. Review of Children’s Participatory Rights in Canada), source: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/rp-pr/other-autre/article12/p3a.html
In the eyes of the law, what exactly constitutes a “mature minor” is somewhat opaque.
As stated in Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Children’s Participatory Rights in Canada (III. Review of Children’s Participatory Rights in Canada)’s ‘Proceedings About Health Care’, there are multiple levels at which children’s health-related decision-making can be ascertained [emphasis added]:
“In Canada, children’s decision-making about health care issues occurs within a complicated legal framework. First, there is the common law “mature minor” doctrine. Generally, parents are entitled to make treatment decisions on their children’s behalf. The mature minor doctrine, however, allows children who are sufficiently mature to make their own treatment decisions. Second, there is provincial and territorial legislation governing consent to medical treatment. These statutes often provide a specific age at which children are presumed competent to consent to treatment. Third, there is child protection legislation.”
Therefore, in similar fashion whereby teens in Canada can seek gender-altering treatments, including surgery, without express authorization and consent from their parents (references 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, note: these are of public record), the same could occur were they to seek MAiD on their own.
Father Rob Hoogland unable to protect his daughter from the Canadian courts and medical system. Source: The Velvet Chronicle – Father Jailed for Refusing to Affirm Daughter as Male.
Can you imagine the horror this would potentially expose parents to?
Not knowing that your precious teen that you love dearly is making arrangements for their own death.
Let that sink in for a minute.
An excellent article that covers the ins and out of this complex issue is that of Scheduled to Die: The Rise of Canada's Assisted Suicide Program written by Ottawa-based Rupa Subramanya, a freelance columnist for National Post and Nikkei Asia.
In her Common Sense article, Subramanya presents much needed light on the issue along with personalised accounts which really add a human context to the expansion of MAiD that our politicians are about to impose on millions of Canadians.
When referring to how minors can make their own health-related treatment decisions, she cites a palliative care doctor, and former MAiD advocate, who has since completely switched her belief on the issue [emphasis added]:
“Dr. Dawn Davies, a palliative care physician who supported MAiD when it was first conceived, said she had “tons of worries” about where this might lead. She could imagine kids with personality disorders or other mental health issues saying they wanted to die. “Some of them will mean it, some of them won’t,” she said. “And we won’t necessarily be able to discern who is who.”
She also refers to the statement of a lawyer representing Margaret Marsilla, mother of a 23-year old depressed diabetic son who secretly made an appointment for his death under MAiD:
“Hugh Scher, an attorney advising Margaret Marsilla, told me: “While other countries have explored extending assisted suicide to minors, those governments have insisted on substantial safeguards, including parental notification and consent. Canada is poised to become the most permissive euthanasia regime in the world, including for minors and people with only psychiatric illness, having already removed the foreseeability of death or terminal illness as an essential condition to access euthanasia or assisted suicide.”
As well as another doctor who was opposed to MAiD right from the start:
“Dr. Ellen Warner is an oncologist at the prominent Sunnybrook Research Institute, in Toronto, and a professor at the University of Toronto’s medical school. “My objection to MAiD, from day one, was that there was no way we would be able to avoid this slippery slope, because these aren’t black and white cases,” she said. “I’m 100 percent against MAiD. I’m an old-fashioned Hippocratic Oath kind of doctor.”
Another physician, Dr. Derryck Smith who never took the Hippocratic Oath saying it was “archaic”, contended that MAiD “is about relieving suffering, respecting human dignity, and recognizing the inherent right for individuals to make decisions affecting their health and even their death.”
While there are some valid points to that claim, what is missing is the fact that with the new proposed amendments for the expansion of MAiD, it would potentially remove a loved-one’s ability to adequately, if at all, consult with and advise their suffering prior to making such an irreversible decision.
Even another family physician, Dr. Kristen Creek in Winnipeg who provides MAiD services, told Marsilla she was surprised to hear that a young man with diabetes had been approved for it and urged Marsilla to call Dr. Joshua Tepper (the one who had scheduled the lethal procedure for her son) back and be up front about the situation.
Marsilla followed her advice and reached Dr. Tepper by phone, but to no avail.
At this stage LifeSiteNews ran an article which lead to massive outrage and pushback from the general public towards Dr. Tepper.
And finally, “On September 16, Tepper texted Marsilla to say that he’d postponed Kiano’s death until September 28. Five days later, the doctor texted her again to say that, actually, he wasn’t going through with it. He apparently wanted nothing more to do with Kiano Vafaeian,” according to Subramanya’s reporting.
A very worrying MAiD trend
According to a Forbes report, Canada leads the world in assisted suicides, with 10,064 in 2021 as compared to 7,666 in the Netherlands.
Eighty-one percent of global requests for medically-induced deaths were honored in Canada.
Just over a thousand MAiD deaths were recorded since its legalisation in 2016. And the annual rate has ballooned to a staggering 10,000 deaths by 2021, according to official statistics.
Total MAiD deaths in Canada since inception has reached 31,664 as of December 31, 2021.
Total MAiD Deaths in Canada from 2016 to 2021, Source: Health Canada – Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying 2021
Ontario and Quebec account for the highest rates with a total of 9,798 and 9,741 recorded MAiD deaths, respectively.
Total MAiD Deaths in Canada by Jurisdiction from 2016 to 2021, Source: Health Canada – Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying 2021
And the total number of practitioners providing MAiD increased significantly from 2020 to 2021, as per the following highlights from the annual report:
Despite the rising demand for doctors or nurses to administer MAiD services, there are reports that fewer doctors are willing to take on this grim duty.
Part of the reason for that is the due to the fact that MAiD is no longer restricted to people whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable.
In fact, in 2021, 2.2% of the number of MAiD cases were for individuals whose natural deaths were not reasonably foreseeable.
And as of March 2023, people whose sole underlying condition is a mental disorder will also be eligible for euthanasia which should greatly increase existing figures. This excludes possible cases of “mature minors” which could further increase the assisted-death statistic, should the current parliamentary committee follow the Quebec College of Physicians recommendations to include them.
Other statistics that are seldom considered are the increases in overall suicide rates.
Formally, Suicide Prevention: Does Legalising Assisted Suicide Make Things Better Or Worse? examines evidence through several studies published on this topic in peer review journals in recent years. Here are the principal highlights (EAS means assisted suicide):
These studies have found that, after EAS is introduced:
Rates of EAS increase significantly
Rates of self-initiated deaths (EAS plus non-assisted suicide) increase significantly
The increase in self-initiated death is disproportionately high in women
Rates of non-assisted suicide also increase, in some cases significantly
Professor David Albert Jones, from the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, based in Oxford, explains that the reason for the increase in suicide overall is simple:
“If we encourage assisted suicide, then we will encourage suicide,” he said. “If we legalize what is euphemistically called ‘assisted dying,’ then more people will kill themselves, and not only people with chronic or terminal illnesses. The evidence is out there, the threat is real. Belgium, which legalized euthanasia in 2002, currently has the highest suicide rate in Western Europe. In the Netherlands, which has more euthanasia than any country in the world, suicide is also rising. In America, suicide is rising more in states that have legalized physician-assisted suicide than it is in states that have resisted calls to change the law.”
More studies cited in the article confirm the disturbing trend.
Also from the Common Sense article, there is mention of a non-profit organization called MAiDHouse based in Toronto – the facility where Kiano’s death would have taken place.
Plans had been made whereby 23-year old Kiano was scheduled for death on September 22.
““Hii [sic], I am confirming the following timing: Please arrive at 8:30 am. I will ask for the nurse at 8:45 am and I will start the procedure at around 9:00 am. Procedure will be completed a few minutes after it starts,”
The procedure would entail the administration of two drugs – first, a coma-inducing agent, then, a neuromuscular blocker that would stop Kiano’s breathing after which he would be dead in five to ten minutes, continued the article.
To provide its support services, MAiDHouse receives fundings from individual donors, though these are not specified with the exception of Dr. Ed Weiss, as its first major donor.
What is perhaps more contentious, however, is the name they use for those who administer the assisted suicides. They call them “Death Doulas”, or “EOL (End of Life) Doulas”.
At MAiDHouse, Karry Sawatsky from Ontario is one such Death Doula.
She is the author of Modern Deathcare End-of-Life Planning Guide.
Eerily, the eoldoula page from which points this book leads us to a separate website for which the following book by the same author appears.
Screenshot taken on November 23, 2022 of the Book ‘30 Ways To Be Paid As A Death Doula, Creating A Fulfilling Career Guiding The End-Of-Life Journey’, source: https://www.moderndeathcare.ca/shop
Honestly, I wasn’t aware that there was a stunning 30 ways by which someone could create a “fulfilling career” as one who terminates people’s existence. If this is not totally bizarre, or of the realm of the twilight zone, I don’t know what is.
Writing a book as a lure for people to embark on such a career for profit is absolutely abhorrent and immoral, to say the least.
To keep an open mind, though, I downloaded a “free copy” of the eBook for a review.
Though some activities appear to be noble enough in the sense that they help people through the difficult process of dying or guiding loved-ones reaching the end of their journeys on earth, the overall pitch of the book – that one can undertake this a remunerated career – still doesn’t sit well with my own moral compass.
The title is in bad taste and its author should have know better.
In addition, the original book attributed to Karry Sawatsky, Modern Deathcare End-of-Life Planning Guide, is rather outlandish for its Orwellian title alone.
“Deathcare” is the term used in the title of the book.
This is pure Orwellian lingo, for it smells of doublespeak.
I mean, come on, “death” and “care” don’t exactly match up, eh?
Or, am I just a crazy old white man who is out of touch with “modern” society?
Whatever the case may be, it all doesn’t sit well at in my stomach. And, I sure hope that it doesn’t in yours either.
Not to beat a dead horse further, pardon the pun, Mrs. Karry Sawatsky’s stated mission is to “shift our cultural narrative around dying, death and bereavement.”
Once again, we have society’s woke narrative “shapers” trying to normalize the increasingly expanding phenomenon that is MAiD. Please pardon me, for I usually try to exclude such buzzwords like ‘woke’ from my writings, but I just can’t seem to find a more fitting alternative.
It certainly appears that due to the expansion of eligibility of MAiD – particularly for including people whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable, the industry (I am calling it an “industry”, for that is what it appears to be developing into) is becoming more desultory, chaotic, and disorderly.
To wit, there have been a significant number of cases – too many to mention here – whereby abuses have arisen, many showing that MAiD services were offered to patients that do not fit its prescribed criteria.
These abuses are particularly commonplace with mentally disabled individuals, poor and homeless ones, and even veterans.
To cite just a few examples of these abuses, we can first look at the case of Roger Foley who alleged in a lawsuit that the Canadian government encouraged him to end it all.
“I’ve been pressured to do an assisted suicide,” he told The New York Post, alleging this happened with caretakers at Victoria Hospital, a primarily government-funded center in London, Ontario.
From the New York Post article [with emphasis added]:
Tim Stainton, director of the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, described the law as “probably the biggest existential threat to disabled people since the Nazis’ program in Germany in the 1930s.”
Also from the article, Marie-Claude Landry, head of Canada’s Human Rights Commission, has stated that euthanasia “cannot be a default for Canada’s failure to fulfill its human rights obligation.”
Another disturbing case for a disabled individual includes that of Alan Nichols.
Then, we have another case that made national headlines and caused a massive backlash. A struggling Canadian veteran with PTSD was offered medically assisted death by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).
A Veterans Affairs Canada service agent suggested that medically assisted dying was a better option than “blowing your brains out against the wall.”
I could cite countless more examples of such abuses, but will refrain from doing so, for I think that you get the point by now.
Should the parliamentary committee recommend the expansion of MAiD to include the more vulnerable groups as discussed earlier, we are bound to see thousands upon thousands more egregious cases being imposed on unwilling souls in the coming years.
This amounts to legalised murder.
Monsters in the Hall
The acrimonious utterances spewed from the pie holes of some of our Canadian politicians’ mouths are sometimes just plain evil.
And we certainly got to witness some of it here in all its glory and vileness.
During the Committee, there was a vote held on the motion “That the committee report to the House that it is of the opinion that it rejects the Quebec College of Physicians assertion on October 7, 2022, that the expansion of medical assistance in dying (MAID) is appropriate for infants up to age one who are born with severe and grave syndromes.”
It was no surprise that votes were cast along party lines and allegiances. The motion was struck down with 7 nays (5 Liberals, 1 NDP, 1 BLOC) and 4 nays (Conservatives).
But what was particularly heinous were the comments of two Liberals as they casted their votes.
“Opposed. Uninterested in wasting time,” spat out Chad Collins from the Liberal Party while Bonita Zarrillo from the NDP said “I'd like to see this come to a wider audience in the House of Commons for unanimity against.”
A similar display of savagery was also conveyed by BLOC MP member Luc Desilets in an earlier parliamentary debate on the subject:
Remember, what is at stake here is the fate of babies that have just been born – regardless of the extent of their deformities or chances of survival, as subjectively determined by another.
These are individuals who appear to place no value whatsoever on the lives of newborn infants, born with severe or grave syndromes.
Remember these people folks.
Normalizing MAiD is Child’s Play
As with many other ills Canadian society has had to endure in the past several years, we now have one that takes the cake.
Normalizing medically-assisted suicide in children as young as six is l’ordre du jour.
Canadian Virtual Hospice, currently funded by the federal government through Health Canada, offers MAiD related services.
Recently, and perhaps more worrisomely, it has devised and created a children’s book called Medical Assistance in Dyring (Maid) Activity Book.
Canadian Virtual Hospice’s Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) Children’s Activity Book
I am not going to go through the contents of the “activity” book, but will rather let the reader do so and draw their own conclusions as to its real nature and intent.
I will, however, offer some remarks.
It is stated that the book is “best suited for children aged 6-12, but may also be helpful for younger or older children.”
But, frankly and practically speaking, it seems to be primarily addressed towards adults given the mature nature of its topic and the complexity language found therein.
This leads me to believe that it is to be used as a tool of indoctrination whereby the onus is placed upon parents to normalize its ideology.
Normalizing assisted deaths, particularly for the vulnerable groups discussed, is complicated enough for adults; but, trying to assign its legitimacy and righteousness to children is deceptively heinous and immoral, to say the least.
I don’t necessarily doubt that the Canadian Virtual Hospice provides valuable services to its clients, but strongly believe that putting a book out which trivialises assisted-death through activities which mold the minds of our youth is morally irresponsible and dangerous.
The CMQ responds
This author contacted the CMQ with various questions (mostly based on their publication of their position) regarding this study and they are summarized as follows [emphasis added for clarity, Google translated from French]:
1) Q: I first asked them to clarify their statement atop page 3 which said (translated): “There is increasing talk in the news about expanding eligibility for medical assistance in dying (MAID),”
A: Their media relations contact, Leslie Labranche, did not cite specific media (news) instances of this but rather said: “In 2021, a Special Commission on the evolution of the Act concerning end-of-life care was set up. The members of the commission heard from several individuals, groups and professional orders. In Quebec, the Act respecting end-of-life care is currently being revised, which, for example, is generating several reactions and discussions in the public sphere.”
2) Q: My next two questions focused on obtaining the source and contents of the survey they had used to poll 1,000+ members of the public on the expansion of MAiD, as the document did not include Appendix 1, as was stated in the document linked above. Furthermore, I asked whether the public were specifically asked about the proposed MAiD expansion for 0-1 year old infants.
A: She pointed me to a document about the organization (SOM) that conducted the survey and to its summary findings which also includes its methodology, and to a web page titled CMQ survey – Physicians and the public in favor of medical assistance in dying (on which it is strangely dated November 2, 2021, i.e., before the December 10 & 13 documents stated above). For the second part, she affirmed that the survey “did not contain a specific question relating to medical assistance in dying in infants 0-1 years old.”
“However,” she continued, “in April 2021, the College set up a think tank made up of clinicians to carry out an in-depth reflection on all the clinical, ethical, deontological, legal and organizational aspects of medical assistance in dying in a context of end of life.” And, specifically with regards to the 0-1 infants matter, she only pointed to the aforementioned publication of their position.
3) Q: This question was with regards to their “reflection” on the 0-1 minors group (from page 12 where it is stated “For these little human beings who suffer unnecessarily, medical assistance in dying framed by a strict protocol can be an appropriate care.”) and the whether or not they would seek the explicit consent of parents (for terminating the life of the infant) through this protocol.
A: She responded “For the College, there is no question here that the medical staff imposes such a decision on the parents, but rather that the parents can have the choice to opt for this treatment if they wish for the well-being of their baby.”
4) Q: Here, I asked for clarification of their statement on page 12, “The College considers that MAID should be included in the list of care required by the state of health to which minors aged 14 to 18 can consent, together with the obligation to obtain the consent of parental authority,” as it was not clear whether a minor could put in a request for MAiD without their parents being aware of it.
A: “Doctors would need to obtain parental consent to administer medical assistance in dying to a person between the ages of 14 and 17,” she replied.
5) Q: Here I asked: On page 5 you talk about “mature minors” (des “mineurs matures”). In the context of MAiD and your recommendations, upon which definition of this term would the CMQ and its practitioners go by? And, are these terms defined differently on a provincial (Quebec) level versus the federal level?
A: She started “On page 5 of the document on the CMQ's position on MAID, the College uses the expression "mature minors" in a sentence in which it lists what the special joint committee on medical aid in dying of the federal government, as set out in Bill C-7. By mature minor, we conceive of an adolescent able to decide on the trajectory of his care,”
“The concept of "mature minor" is a Common Law of Canada concept, which is not strictly based on age and also takes into consideration the patient's maturity and ability to understand the nature of the decision and the consequences. In Quebec, the rule of consent to care for minors is based not on the concept of a mature minor, as in the common law of Canada, but on that of age. Thus, the consent rules differ depending on whether the minor is under the age of 14 or 14 and over.”
Lastly, on my request to obtain Dr. Louis Roy’s contact information for possible comment, Mrs. Labranche stated that this would not be possible, as he is not an official spokesperson for the College.
Question QA2 and its results from the survey conducted by the firm SOM, as mandated by the CMQ. Source: http://www.cmq.org/pdf/amm/sondage-som-02112021.pdf?t=1669219991435
Some thoughts about these responses by the CMQ and the SOM survey
Though I appreciated the CMQ’s replies to my questions, some of them didn’t appear to be fully transparent or entirely forthcoming.
Additionally, though I have limited related training on surveys, the survey they conducted still seems to have some notable flaws – both in its design and in its execution.
To begin, the very first statement that appears in their publication of their position says: “There is increasing talk in the news about expanding eligibility for medical assistance in dying (MAID).”
To me, this implies that an important premise (or justification) for the debate in expanding MAiD already exists that is based on how it is being portrayed in the media.
Yet, the CMQ failed to provide any specific instances where the media or public had asked or talked about “expanding the eligibility for MAiD.” It’s almost as if they were trying to create a [false or inexistent] reason for its undertaking. Whether intentional or not, deception is certainly present.
Next, the SOM survey focused on two groups, namely doctors (1,402 respondents) and the general public (1,040 respondents).
Though not explicitly stated, the survey to the general population appears to be randomized; it focused on three major metropolitan areas, and respondents were chosen based on age, sex, mother tongue, education and proportion of people living alone. Yet, the parameters for these criteria are not specified, which undoubtedly obscures exactly what type of respondents were chosen to participate in this important and serious survey.
Strangely, for their question QB6 (“In your opinion, is the practice of medical assistance in dying… regulated in Quebec?”, with possible answers: “Very well”; “Pretty well”; “Rather badly”; “Very badly”; and “Not sure/No response”) a whopping 67% of respondents answered either “Very well” or “Pretty well” which would indicate that they are already quite informed about MAiD.
I don’t know about you, but I think if we were to pick 1,040 random people, I would be extremely surprised if even a quarter of respondents would be aware of how MAiD is regulated in the province.
Even for the doctor group, this survey itself observes that “vagueness exists” and “although the vast majority of physicians seem to know the College's position on MAID, many are unaware of its recent positions and do not feel that its opinion is very clear, particularly in relation to its enlargement.” In other words, even a large portion of CMQ’s own doctors are not up to speed on matters related to MAiD.
So, how can we believe that the general public, mostly not versed in such complex medical matters, can be, statistically speaking (i.e., at 67%), more aware of how MAiD is regulated?
Finally, the survey does not include any question for the intended respondents (i.e., neither the doctors, nor general public) about whether they would be in favor to expand MAiD to infants aged 0-1. This is a rather important omission for two main reasons.
First, if it was the CMQ’s intention to possibly include this as a major group for expansion into MAiD, why did they not include it in the survey?
So, was this decision based on the input of the doctors of the CMQ? If so, how did they seek this input apart from the survey?
Or, was it simply based on its Board of Directors’ sole discretion?
With regards to transparency, all that can be found of this decision lies on the CMQ’s “reflexion” on the matter, as stated on page 12.
One would think that putting forth an extremely important and critical recommendation that includes terminating the life of infants 0-1 years of age under MAiD would be done in a manner that is more transparent and forthcoming. Yet, the CMQ grossly failed in this important duty.
Lastly, it is quite peculiar that there was prior survey (completed before April 8, 2021) by the CMQ (also conducted by SOM) in which member doctors were queried on the expansion of MAiD, even though the parliamentary committee only commenced its activities on April 8, 2022, one year later.
Extract from an April 8, 2021 CMQ-SOM survey titled Sondage SOM : les impacts de la pandémie sur les médecins québécois
Perhaps the CMQ plans well in advance for such contingencies. Who really knows?
But it still begs the question, why would the CMQ commence work on this MAiD expansion (specifically with the mention of mental health patients) an entire year before the committee hadn’t even commenced?
Of note for this particular survey (of 1,304) doctors: the majority voted against the expansion of MAiD to include patients with mental health issues.
What about God or people’s spiritual and religious beliefs?
The opening text of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, part of the Canadian Constitution, starts as follows:
“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:”
This opening statement is there for a purpose. It clearly states that we are a nation of laws under the supremacy of God.
In other words, we are bound by his presence in the venture of a civil society, lest we forget what makes us human.
God is the creator. You can call him what you want and needn’t even have to believe in him.
The fact remains, nevertheless, that the majority of Canadians, aboriginal, immigrants and all, espouse some kind of religion or belief in God or a god.
Those religions and belief systems vary in terms of how they view, define, and consider suicide and murder. And it is really up to each individual to contemplate their meanings according to their respective beliefs and own moral convictions.
Dismally, there is seemingly no mention of God, religion, or spiritual beliefs at all in the laws referenced in this article that surround this contentious issue. They do not even seem to be part of the consideration when deciding to terminate the lives of those who may adhere to them.
The same goes for the related parliamentary committees or documents like those created by the Quebec College of Physicians (CMQ).
Though we are talking about the human spirit, the spark of life, it is completely cast a side like some soggy tissue.
Many would argue that, with the erosion of morals in modern society, a serious reflection and change in our collective mindset has now become necessary.
We are in a spiritual battle.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing us he doesn’t exist.
This legislation must not pass. Not in Canada!
We are losing our way as a nation and as human beings.
If we continue on this destructive path, our great nation will become unrecognizable and very dark within just a few decades.
Wisdom is action.
Telephone, write, or email all the MPs that are in favor of expanding MAiD to members of these vulnerable groups and insist that they change their minds and vote against this MAiDness, lest they be unfavorably judged by their electors, and more importantly, by their maker.
I implore you to please share this article far and wide.
None of the contents of this article is to be taken as medical or health-related advice. Seek independent professional consultation before making health-related decisions. See the author’s About page for full disclaimer.
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