MAiD law not made for all, but should be or not at all

Thom argues if the service is legal it should not be on a discriminatory basis

For Your Consideration

For Your Consideration

This column is not to be taken as advocacy for or against Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

While I have my own opinions on whether or not this law should exist at all, it does, so I will limit the discussion to discrimination.

The background is the Quebec Superior Court decision known as Truchon and Gladu v. Canada and Quebec that ruled the federal law’s requirement that a person’s natural death has become “reasonably foreseeable” and the Quebec law’s requirement that a person be at the “end of life” violated the plaintiffs’ Charter rights.

The federal government is now attempting to pass its new law that removes the “reasonably foreseeable” eligibility requirement, eases the safeguards for those whose deaths are reasonably foreseeable and introduces new safeguards for persons whose deaths are not reasonably foreseeable, but still suffer from a grievous and irremediable medical condition.

First, let us be clear on what these deaths are. Technically speaking, they are suicides. The means by which they are accomplished involves another person or other persons, but ultimately it is a decision and in that there is no room for discrimination.

Consider this, if MAiD had come into effect prior to 1929, women would not have been eligible because they were not persons under the law.

This is an exceedingly complex social, and some may even say moral, issue, but the issue of discrimination is a simple one. If we would not exclude a person on the basis of gender or any number of other criteria,

The real issue here is “informed consent.”

The amendment bill (C-7) currently before Parliament, requires: “the person must be informed of available and appropriate means to relieve their suffering, including counselling services, mental health and disability support services, community services, and palliative care, and must be offered consultations with professionals who provide those services; and the person and the practitioners must have discussed reasonable and available means to relieve the person’s suffering, and agree that the person has seriously considered those means.”

Let’s call that Medical Assistance in Living (MAiL).

The question is, are we, as a society, doing everything in our power to provide people considering MAiD with MAiL?

According to many studies the answer is no.

And requiring that a person be informed of their options is not the same as actually providing those services.

If that is the case, then the choice between MAiL and MAiD may really be no choice at all for many people.

Again, I am not saying MAiD should or should not be legal, but if it is, it should not be on a discriminatory basis and we should be doing more to make sure it is truly a last resort.

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical clinics are all open, including the availability to book face-to-face care (i.e. for a physical examination) as per your clinic’s protocol (most clinics operate a “virtual care first” policy). ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Northern Health launches virtual primary care clinic

Northerners without a family physician or nurse practitioner will now have access to primary care

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

Most Read