A mother in Canada was horrified when she discovered that her son had made an appointment to kill himself with the help of a doctor.
The incident shines a light on how Canada’s assisted suicide program has spun entirely out of control.
On Sept. 7, Toronto resident Margaret Marsilla logged in to her 23-year-old son’s email account and discovered that he had applied for permission from the Canadian government to be killed. A doctor had approved the request and scheduled the murder for Sept. 22, Common Sense reported.
Marsilla knew that her son was depressed, but she didn’t know he was contemplating suicide.
He had diabetes, a history of drug abuse, and had lost sight in one eye. The latter appeared to be a tipping point for the young man, and he applied to the government’s “medical assistance in dying” program to end his own life.
An email confirmed that the procedure would entail two drugs, the first to put him in a coma and the second to stop his muscle movement and his ability to breathe. He would then die of suffocation in his sleep. The procedure would take no more than 10 minutes, the doctor said.
Marsilla was both frightened and outraged that the government and this doctor were working to kill her son. She posted her fears to Facebook, and the story went viral. “The doctor [literally] has given him the gun to kill himself,” Marsilla wrote.
As the young man’s case drew attention, things got so sticky for the doctor who approved the suicide that he canceled the procedure.
Sadly, Marsilla’s son is furious that he was unable to end his life. In an interview with Common Sense, he reiterated that his life is hopeless, that his blindness will only get worse, and that he simply wants to end his suffering.
“I was so ready [to die],” he said. “I was actually very looking forward to ending my pain and suffering.”
Suicide is on the rise in many countries, the World Health Organization noted last year. In the U.S., for instance, veteran suicides have drastically climbed. Law enforcement has seen a similar problem.
Canada’s assisted suicide program started with “good” intentions. At first, only the most extreme cases — mostly people over the age of 65 — were approved. But over time, the victims began skewing younger and younger.
In 2017, the first full year of the MAiD program, about 2,800 Canadians used it to kill themselves, according to a government report. There were 34 MAiD deaths among people under 45 years of age.
Since 2017, 31,664 deaths have been recorded in the MAiD program, and in some Canadian provinces, MAiD accounts for 5 percent of total deaths. Whereas the initial victims were only the most hopeless cases, applicants are now being approved for far less extreme conditions.
“Last year, the government amended the original legislation, stating that one could apply for MAiD even if one’s death were not reasonably foreseeable. This second track of applicants simply had to show that they had a condition that was ‘intolerable to them’ and could not ‘be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable,'” Common Sense reported.
The government’s limits on who is eligible for the program are set to ease even further next year when the rules will be shifted to include “mature minors” and the mentally ill. It will only add to the trend of suicides among young people.
Many Canadians also worry that the easing of government restrictions is a cynical cost-saving measure.
“In October 2020, the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer issued a report stating that MAiD would cut healthcare costs by over $66 million,” Common Sense reported.
“In 2017, Aaron Trachtenberg, a research fellow and a doctor at the University of Manitoba, and Braden Manns, a health economist and nephrologist at the University of Calgary, published a paper predicting that MAiD could slash healthcare costs by as much as $100 million yearly.”
The rising number of suicides is bad enough. But when the government gets in on the action to save money, that is a moral outrage.
The United Nations has noted the alarming uptick in the use of Canada’s assisted suicide program. In 2021, several UN officials collaborated on a letter warning Canada that its MAiD program could have a “potentially discriminatory impact on persons with disabilities and older persons who are not at the end of their life or nearing death from natural causes.”
Dr. Sonu Gaind, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and the former president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, also believes that MAiD is killing people who would otherwise lead productive lives with mental health help.
“It is a myth that expanded MAiD is just about autonomy,” he wrote in a recent article. “Expansion may increase privileged autonomy for some to die with dignity, but it does so by sacrificing other marginalized Canadians to premature deaths for escaping painful lives that we failed to allow them to live with dignity.”
All this is making Canada the assisted suicide capital of the world.
As the euthanasia industry grows and the government continues to lower the threshold for participants, Canada continues to devalue human life.
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