Public Asked To Push Against Canada’s Assisted Suicide Program

Reversing its decision to legalize “MAiD” (Medical Assistance in Dying) for mental illness alone, the Canadian government should not leave Canadians with mental illness to die via euthanasia, according to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC).

In March 2021, the Canadian government broadened the scope of its euthanasia statute (MAiD), allowing for the intentional poisoning of Canadians with incurable medical conditions and doing away with the need to have a terminal disease. Amendments to Bill C-7 legalized euthanasia for terminally sick patients.

A study conducted by the Angus Reid Institute in February 2023 found that 31% of Canadians were in favor of euthanasia as a treatment for mental illness alone. The province of Quebec had the greatest level of support at 36%, while Saskatchewan had the lowest at 21%. The percentage of Canadians who favored euthanasia due to mental illness fell to 28% in September 2023.

An article about a VA official who supported euthanasia for a soldier who has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) appeared in Global News in August 2022. This report was released at roughly the same time as others, detailing the approval of euthanasia for disabled individuals due to financial hardship, homelessness, or inability to get medical care.

The Tyee published an article on Kathrin Mentler, a woman who sought care for suicidal thoughts while living with despair, anxiety, and the threat of suicide and who was given euthanasia at the assessment center at the Vancouver General Hospital. There were no open beds, the mental health system was “totally overburdened,” and the earliest she could speak with a psychiatrist was around five months away, according to the report. As Mentler sought a “haven” and offered euthanasia to end her life, the tale sparked a powerful reaction from Canadians.

There is “absolutely no agreement” on what constitutes an irremediable physical condition concerning people with mental illness, according to Dr. K Sonu Gaind, head of psychiatry at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. There is an increased likelihood that people with mental health difficulties may experience homelessness, poverty, or difficulty accessing appropriate medical care.

Arif Virani, minister of justice, said on December 13 that the US might “delay its initial proposal” to legalize euthanasia for those with mental illness. When lawmakers go back to the Capitol after the holiday break, they will have another chance to speak out against euthanasia for mental illness.