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Canada’s suicide hotline reveals Justin Trudeau’s dystopia

Not the voice you want on the other end of the phone. Credit: Mark Peckmezian

December 4, 2023 - 11:45am

Canadian leader Justin Trudeau recently launched a new suicide hotline. Internet jokers wondered whether its aim is to dissuade or to find new takers for Canada’s notoriously liberal state-supported euthanasia programme. Surely it is paradoxical for the same government to offer both pro and anti-suicide services? 

But what if this isn’t a paradox? Then it becomes clear that, for Canada, the meaning of death is now less a moral question than a bureaucratic one. This in turn offers insight into the trajectory and ambitions of the post-democratic, managerialist politics of which Canada is a leading exponent, and which is now spreading throughout the liberal West.

It should come as no surprise that the legalisation of euthanasia in Canada arrived via extra-democratic means. In 2015 Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting physician-assisted suicide contravened the country’s founding managerialist charter, the 1982 Canadian Charter on Rights and Freedoms, and gave the government a year to draft legislation. 

Passed in 2016 and titled Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), the resulting law legalised euthanasia, initially restricted to cases with a “reasonable foreseeability of natural death”, which is to say to those already terminally ill. It didn’t take long for this to expand, though, again via extra-democratic courts in 2019. Since being broadened, the eligibility criteria have since given rise to well-publicised cases suggesting that assisted suicide is increasingly a cheap substitute for Canadian state welfare, for example making up shortfalls on disability support, veterans’ support or even suicidal ideation or threats

On the face of it, then, there is a dark irony to the same nation launching a service whose aim — we have to assume — is trying to persuade Canadians to stay alive, all while another department is busily bumping them off. But this is less paradoxical when one realises that the key innovation of MAiD is the ongoing colonisation by management of terrain once understood as the domain of morality.

In Canada’s Christian-heritage past, suicide was forbidden. In the country’s now firmly post-Christian present, no such restrictions apply. Instead, as emphasised in the initial ruling that legalised MAiD, the governing heuristic is “autonomy”. Thus the managerial, court-mandated push to legislate in a field so profoundly moral as the end of life metastasised into an elaborate architecture for the state regulation of despair. No longer a sin, despair is now only forbidden to the extent that it has not been regulated, tabulated and conducted in the designated locations and according to the proper procedures. 

This in turn correlates with a broader trend in which Canada has been a pioneer: the expansion of administration into the field of personhood. The ontology of physiological sex, and of “identity” more broadly, has long been annexed by Canadian bureaucrats as an administrative competency. In one recent case, a father was sent to prison for refusing to comply with Canadian administrative truth over material falsehood where his daughter’s sex was concerned. Similarly, when Trudeau ended Covid-era trucker protests by freezing truckers’ bank accounts, this revealed that the capacity to spend money may now be revoked for non-compliance with other regulatory requirements. 

The French philosopher Jean Baudrillard observed in The Transparency of Evil that the point at which something is designated a “human right” is the point at which it enters the regime of scarcity. The extension of Canadian administration to humanity, dignity, and autonomy reveals him to have been prescient: the subordination of these qualities to the domain of technical management affords the managers the power not only to grant these goods, but also to revoke them. 

Thus are revealed the emerging contours of the real post-liberal order: not, as some theorists had hoped, a re-instantiation of Christian morals within public life, but instead the wholesale displacement of a moral order by the impersonal one of management. Embodiment, personhood, citizenship, even life itself: under actually existing post-liberalism, all of these are now in the process of being re-invented as subscriptions. And under this regime of “citizenship as a service”, the administrative bestowal of “rights” is also, implicitly, the power to take those things away again.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
7 months ago

I suspect that this will be the trajectory of Kier Stammer’s Labour Party and that protesters will be treated like lockdown protesters rather than Hamas supporters

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
7 months ago

Oh very well put!

Phil Gough
Phil Gough
7 months ago

Being a campaigner for Palestinian rights is not remotely coterminous with support for Hamas.

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
7 months ago

I was reading at the week end that if you do use maid, the cause of death is whatever underlying cause you had and there is no mention of assisted suicide at all in the official stats.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
7 months ago

So one dies ‘with MAiD’ instead of ‘of MAiD’. Got it.

Janet G
Janet G
7 months ago

What happens when, as I have read, the only cause is homelessness?

miss pink
miss pink
7 months ago

Same thing happens here in New Zealand. If it’s okay for your doctor to give you the means to kill yourself or to do it directly, surely this should be reflected in the death cert as cause of death? Canada is also planning to give this human right to children.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago

That’s wrong. Canada keeps careful statistics on MaiD. As a Canadian I recently watched a one hour review of Canadian MAiD statistics presented by a supervisor at Statistics Canada. The leading reason for individuals choosing to have their farewell ceremonies with families and friends is terminal cancer and similar needless end of life suffering. To call this either assisted suicide or euthanasia is a serious mistake.

While I am not a Trudeau fan I don’t blame him for obeying a court order. That’s what politicians do in a constitutional democracy.

And I think Harrington is wrong to suggest that in a constitutional democracy for the courts to interpret the constitution is undemocratic.

Last edited 7 months ago by Andrew Roman
Ddwieland
Ddwieland
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

I’m also Canadian and frankly disgusted by the rush to expand euthanasia. (Yes, that’s the proper term according to the dictionary definition.) One correction to the article, however, is to note that the Supreme Court didn’t mandate MAiD but declared that the prohibition of suicide or assisted death was a unconstitutional to “interfere with the liberty and security of the person of individuals who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition”. The court didn’t order legislation but anticipated that new legislation would follow.
Subsequent to the appropriately limited federal legislation, the “Superior Court of Québec, in its Truchon v Canada (AG) decision, declared unconstitutional the “reasonable foreseeability of natural death” eligibility criterion contained in the federal MAID legislation”. The feared slippery slope became manifest, and MAiD was expanded. Now additional legislation removing most limitations has been passed but was paused for a year to “allow time” for doctors (and Canadians in general?) to get “ready”.With assisted suicide now accounting for over 3% of deaths in Canada, we’ve gone way past honourable use of physician-assisted euthanasia. We’re burdened with a government that lacks moral clarity (including in regard to Hamas and Israel), and Trudeau is a significant contributor to the problems.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ddwieland
Andrew R
Andrew R
7 months ago

“Utopia” can only be achieved through authoritarian / totalitarian means.

Mrs R
Mrs R
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.” Albert Camus

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

That would be…whose utopia?

Christine Novak
Christine Novak
7 months ago

“colonization by management of terrain once understood as the domain of morality.” Don’t you hate those evil “colonizers”! Yes, Mary, you described it well. And we in the US hope it doesn’t spread south!

Last edited 7 months ago by Christine Novak
Ali W
Ali W
7 months ago

Autonomy may be the rationalization given for a right that bears no threat to the government’s authority and is likely a convenient way to manage an overburdened national healthcare program. The Trudeau regime clearly doesn’t care about autonomy, otherwise, lockdowns, mask & vaccine mandates, and civil/criminal actions against protestors would not have occurred.

Shelley Ann
Shelley Ann
7 months ago
Reply to  Ali W

Excellent point. Trudeau makes my blood run cold ….

John Tyler
John Tyler
7 months ago

The main thrust of the article is clear and concerning.

Picking up another point, the political concern is that people with no democratic legitimacy are making such momentous decisions – making laws that should be made through parliament in any self-respecting democracy. The same trend is happening throughout the West along with the shift towards woke authoritarianism, which includes the removal of liberty from all but the most educated and powerful.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
5 months ago
Reply to  John Tyler

See the example of privileged Clare O’Neil, Australia’s Minister for Cyber Security and Home Affairs (no less), how devastatingly clueless and incompetent the most educated and powerful without real life experience are.

H W
H W
7 months ago

Suicide was decriminalized in Canada in 1972. We were told that ‘assistance in dying’ was legalized because some people have disabilities that make committing suicide physically impossible, unsafe, or dangerous (really) for them; for example, paralysis making it impossible to access and safely swallow a lot of pills. Laws that prevented doctors from assisting such disabled people to do a legal act available to others were deemed to illegally discriminate on the basis of disability. The fact that people who are capable of taking their own lives are now being offered, asking for, and being provided with ‘assistance’ they don’t need calls into question the reason for the involvement of the state and its death-licensees.

Xaven Taner
Xaven Taner
7 months ago

“The extension of Canadian administration to humanity, dignity, and autonomy reveals him to have been prescient: the subordination of these qualities to the domain of technical management affords the managers the power not only to grant these goods, but also to revoke them”.
Yes indeed. Managerial discretion reveals itself as the Ius Gladii in veiled form. The realm of freedom is abolished.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
5 months ago
Reply to  Xaven Taner

The scariest aspect of this is the freedom afforded to Australia’s police officers to decide what is, and what is not a crime: without ever having had either accountability, or duty of care.
Police criminality is of course wide-spread, deep-rooted and accepted like weather phenomena in Australia. Roger Rogerson is closer to the norm than the exception amongst Australia’s police. See Raymond T. Hoser’s courageous findings from 1999. Tech advancements of the past 25 years augmented the risk-free criminality of Australia’s police manifold, and so did misguided law (s194 of the IBAC Act).
We have always had fabulous crime statistics though, leading to Melbourne listed as one of the world’s most liveable cities repeatedly, in spite of biker warfare, home invasions, store swarmings, our kids getting abducted on their way home from school in million $ home suburbs, etc.
People find out Australia having no functional law-enforcement, when trying to report crimes punishable by 10 years in jail/worse.
Crime hiding is practised to such perfection, I lived within a 10km radius 1988-2008 in Melbourne from where a stalker ex-coworker’s onslaught of crimes against me started in 2009, and thought Australia was a peaceful country of law and order.
I never even dated the stalker.
It took me thousands of unpunished, cumulatively devastating crimes 2009-2020 to resign to Australia’s horrifying crime reality.
Crimes against me are ongoing of course in physical and cyber-space. Last obvious cyber-crime seconds ago, editing this comment.
Those whose conscience cannot bear the burden of silence about crimes they witness find Victoria Police, Australian Signals Directorate, and/or Australian Army bikers showing off their risk-free criminality with the bone-chilling innocence of toddlers showing off a new puppy.
Including government/military insider bikers’ evidently risk-free ability to violate the Geneva Convention – since 2019 at least in my experience – as they try to terrorise witnesses and victims of serious crimes into silence.
Committing bizarre crimes, using tech not known to civilian experts let alone expected to be in crime arsenals e.g. capabilities to induce physical harm remotely – are long-standing police-crime strategies aimed at discrediting crime witnesses/victims.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago

Ms. Harrington,
Concerning assisted suicide; as someone who is probably a lot closer to the issue, I wish you would show a bit more sympathy. Without the option of suicide many of us are facing years of miserable captivity in a nursing home.
I’m sure I’m not the only reader who has had the experience of “putting down” a beloved pet. We all deserve the chance to die in peace, as they did.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

Only the hard hearted would failt to have sympathy for a person facing agony, incapacity and indignity before inevitable death. Mary Harrington is making the point that assisted suicide is now routinely administered in Canada to anyone who asks for it, even if their troubles might well be temporary (depressoin, unemployment, bereavement etc.) or manageable in time. MAID seems to have gone beyond compassoin for the dying to a lack of proper respect for human life..

Arkadian Arkadian
Arkadian Arkadian
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Like the suicide booths in futurama, where you can kill yourself for 25c, no questions asked.
On soylent green at least they recycled.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

MAiD is not supplied to anyone on demand. The law has strict criteria. And the applicant must be approved by two physicians who don’t know each other or work together. The number of people who are granted MAID in a year is just over 3,000 out of a population of close to 38 million. It represents 5-6 percent of all deaths in a year, many of which are caused by cancer and strokes or other serious illnesses.

This is not wholesale killing by the state, and despite the one or two anecdotes we hear of a disabled or low income person being offered the option it is always a voluntary decision with lots of opportunities for the individual to change their mind.

Trudeau has indeed made some authoritarian and autocratic decisions about the Covid protests but that is unrelated to MAID, which he always opposed and was forced to accept by constitutional decisions of the Supreme Court.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

I’m not persuaded that Trudeau’s expressing opposition, at some point, to a thing is a sign of principle. He also declared that getting a Covid vaccination was completely voluntary but then made it mandatory for public servants and rhetorically asked (in French) if we should tolerate Canadians who refused the shots.If he ever did harbour reservations about MAiD, he’s abandoned them.

Joana Baumann
Joana Baumann
7 months ago

I think it is also about time we ask ourselves why our sick or elderly spend their last days in “miserable captivity in a nursing home”. Who says it has to be this way? The problem already started when we did not question the decline of our quality of life to even properly care for those we love, with dignity, till their last breath. So, as usual, the modern world creates the problem and then forces us to kill our moral values over and over again trying to fix it. I believe we must not only stand against euthanasia on demand but we have to stand against a government that does not work for the betterment of the individuals’ quality of life, while looking at our own hearts to see what we have sold our souls for in this case.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
7 months ago
Reply to  Joana Baumann

The problem is that we all have relinquished our souls to government. “A government working for the betterment of the individual’s quality of life…” is at the very heart of the problem. I don’t want government working to better my life, that’s my job! If we want government to make our lives “better”, by giving them that power, we will suffer with whatever that bureaucrat prescribes.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
7 months ago
Reply to  Joana Baumann

That’s a lovely way to philosophise around a real world problem. The fact is it WILL be miserable captivity in a nursing home for many people. You’ve made no attempt to provide a solution other than saying “aren’t we horrible for allowing it to get to this”. And while we figure out how we might be a little less horrible those people should just continue in their misery so I can maintain my sense of self-righteousness. If you’ve watched a parent virtually unconscious, bed ridden and sore with bed sores, unable to swallow, struggling for breath in their fluid filled lungs for two years at the end of their life it’s hard not to acknowldege that without medically assisted suicide, it does indeed have to be that way, however much love and care you provide for the person. But you think providing the option for the avoidance of this suffering is killing your moral values? Well, I hope the view’s nice up there.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jake Prior
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
7 months ago
Reply to  Joana Baumann

You might change your tune somewhat, as your own future unfolds. Think of it; the doctors will be able to keep you alive for years past the point you would naturally expire. In a state of pain and misery and literal confinement, perhaps even strapped to the bed “for your own safety”. Drugged into a stupor if you complain.
My morality does not include torture. There ought to be a limit, for those who choose, to the “wonders of modern medicine”.

Vir Raga
Vir Raga
7 months ago

But do you think it’s ok to offer assisted suicide to someone who asked for a wheelchair accessible ramp to their home? Because that is what’s happening in Canada. They don’t wait for people to ask for MAiD, they “offer” it as an option, whilst telling them that there’s no money to support their living at home. There’s a documentary on YouTube interviewing a woman veteran who had exactly this experience.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  Vir Raga

How widespread is this? Canada has a well financed safety net.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
7 months ago
Reply to  Vir Raga

I think that was an unusual case. If I’m not mistaken, the person suggesting MAiD was fired.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago

I’m with you. No rotting away in a nursing home for me. Why should I have to spend away my niece’s inheritance and her children’s college money just so I can get on Medicaid and spend my days in a wheelchair, staring at nothing. If I,’m in an early stage of dementia, I’ll just overdose on drugs.

Mike Michaels
Mike Michaels
7 months ago

They want you dead.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
7 months ago

Suicide is sometimes well described as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. But of course the problem is not always temporary.
For this reason, I am in full support of people who wish to take their own lives being able to do so relatively painlessly, and peacefully, after properly discussing things, with a doctor.
But it’s easy to see how it can all go quite badly wrong, quite fast, when politics becomes engaged in the matter.

Last edited 7 months ago by Albireo Double
Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
7 months ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

As politics always will.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

It came astonishingly quickly- and driven by the managerial state (the courts). Not by popular opinion.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Opinion polls show that some 70 plus percent of adult Canadians support the provision of Medical assistance in dying. Also the committees of our Parliament are multiparty and generally agree on the legislation.

It didn’t happen astonishing quickly, it took decades for legalization. The only thing that has happened quickly is the media looking for stories of “victims”.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

The current federal government may be obsessed with polls, but I’d like to know what aspects of and controls on MAiD were described in any polls on that subject. The recent broadening of MAiD criteria was radical and not publicized until close to being put to parliamentary vote. It certainly felt astonishingly quick.

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
7 months ago

What can we expect in an age where ageing demographics are an economic millstone around the national’s fiscal neck, the tech bros are hurtling us towards the nirvana of transhumanism, the civilisation is neither prepared to defend or renew itself, and the gaslighting of industrial-scale human slaughter has emboldened anti-semitism. Perhaps human beings have had their day and Justin is just helping along the process. We need a healthy dose of humility, to find our nested place in a transcendent world and reduce our expectations finding joy in the quotidien. My Christmas manifesto!

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
7 months ago

Although a Bill has been passed to change it, for the time being the King retains the title “Defender of the Faith” in Canada. So much for that. As, in so many ways, so much for it here.

The legalisation of assisted suicide would give to a High Court judge in the Family Division such power over life and death as no judge in this country had enjoyed since the abolition of capital punishment. My paternal grandfather was born before such working-class men could vote, and my maternal ancestors included African slaves, Indian indentured labourers, and Chinese coolies. We who come off the lower orders and the lesser breeds, and perhaps especially those of us who are disabled, know perfectly well who would be euthanised, and how, and why.

Even if we had made it past the industrial scale abortion that disproportionately targeted us, then we would face euthanasia as yet another lethal weapon in the deadly armoury of our mortal enemies, alongside their wars, alongside their self-indulgent refusal to enforce the drug laws, alongside Police brutality and other street violence, alongside the numerous life-shortening consequences of economic inequality, and alongside the restoration of the death penalty, which is more likely than it has been in two generations, and which would not be repealed if the Prime Minister were a former Director of Public Prosecutions who was now a war criminal.

All this, and the needle, too? This is class and race war, and we must fight to the death. That death must not be ours, but the death of the global capitalist system. Having subjected itself to that system to a unique extent, Britain is uniquely placed to overthrow it, and to replace it with an order founded on the absolute sanctity of each individual human life from the point of fertilisation to the point of natural death. That foundation would and could be secured only by absolute fidelity to the only global institution that was irrevocably committed to that principle, including the full range of its economic, social, cultural and political implications. The Faith, indeed.

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
7 months ago

It seems to me the issue of assisted suicide and gender transition of children are on completely different sides of the argument. A persons family should have the ability to decide about these issues rather than the state. You could as easily say the state refusing to give those whose whole family agree would benefit from assisted suicide that option is getting involved in matters of life and death where it should be the decision of the family. It’s nice to make an argument that covers all bases, but I don’t think in this case it works.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
7 months ago

“And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” 
Revelation 9:6 (KJV)

Ardath Blauvelt
Ardath Blauvelt
7 months ago

The day of expiration dates has arrived. The duty to die serves the whole of….?

Colin Brewer
Colin Brewer
7 months ago

Two errors. First, to say that “In Canada’s Christian-heritage past, suicide was forbidden” is questionable, given that many Canadians have Scottish ancestry. Suicide was not a crime in Scottish law and there is no specific Scottish crime of assisting a suicide. Early Christianity was rather relaxed about suicide, as is the Bible. It only became a very serious sin with St Augustine and then only in the Western Roman empire. Was it very ‘Christian’ to bury suicides at a crossroads (until c.1825) or to deny their grieving families a Christian burial service – official Anglican policy until c 2015 and still official Vatican policy?
Secondly, both of the Swiss organisations that provide assisted suicide to non-residents do quite a lot of suicide prevention because they want to be sure that all reasonable alternatives have been considered and that the diagnosis is not in doubt. Swiss residents have had the option of assisted suicide for over 80 years for both physical and psychiatric reasons and even for what one might call existential ones as well, yet the country has not lost its reputation as a civilised and caring society. Assisted suicide still accounts for less than 2% of Swiss deaths and since Switzerland also has good palliative care, many of those are for progressive neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and early dementia, for which palliative care has much less to offer; some are for intolerable pain that has proved resistant to the best palliative care.

Susan Shooter
Susan Shooter
7 months ago

M. Trudeau might do well to watch the 2008 film “Good” about a pro-euthanasia academic

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  Susan Shooter

Trudeau opposed MAiD from the beginning, and was dragged into changing the Criminal Code prohibition against counselling or assisting suicide by the courts. He would repeal that change if he could. He is indeed authoritarian but on the opposite side of this issue.

Cheryl Zacharias
Cheryl Zacharias
7 months ago

As A Canadian who grew up in Europe, and a sometime follower of Mary Harrington, I am impressed with her analysis of the current state of my country.

“for Canada, the meaning of death is now less a moral question than a bureaucratic one”

This is just so bang on. Bureaucracy and management have become an end in themselves. Our Canadian civil service is a massive passive impersonal beast that devours. Not unlike the way impersonal corporations became the driving force in American politics and economy, with individual humans increasingly subservient to the teleology of corporate gain, rather than the good of human society and culture.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
7 months ago

Some good points made towards the end of this piece and a decent definition of the post-liberal order which I personally simply take to be Fascist in today’s futurist fashion.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
7 months ago

Standard far-right extremist panic with literally zero knowledge of the subject.
Canadians seem to know better.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
7 months ago

Know better how to go to hell ?

Yes, the Canadian government knows how to do that all right.

And of course anyone who objects to legalised mass-murder is called “far right” and an “extremist”

No – it’s you who are fascist and an extremist.

michael harris
michael harris
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

He’s just a little boy who likes to shock people. Only it’s not very provoking, so he tries again..and again…

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
7 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

“legalised mass-murder”
I think we’ll just call you an idiot based on that dumb comment.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
7 months ago

Well it was 9 unelected Supreme Court appointees creating new rights out of thin air who knew better.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Yep.

Last edited 7 months ago by UnHerd Reader
Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

You know the Canadian constitution better than the justices of the Canadian Supreme Court?
I’m sure that will come as a surprise to them!

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
7 months ago

Well one them recently was interviewed and his opinion was that the Supreme Court should stop making government policy because they have no idea what they are doing.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
7 months ago

Canadians seem to know better.
Not at all. Canada and its people should be absolutely pitied for having lost their very soul.

Emre S
Emre S
7 months ago

If sanctity of life is now a “far-right extremist” point of view for the salon socialists (as opposed to the nonextremist far-right views I guess), then I know which side I’m taking, and makes me feel better about a few other choices I’ve made as well.

Lynda Simmons
Lynda Simmons
7 months ago

Mary Harrington clearly doesn’t visit Canada, nor speak to Canadians, often. MAID is well-supported here as an answer to the over-medicalization pushed by pharmaceutical companies and embraced by doctors and long term care homes eager to keep bodies alive, long after nature or God would have given the person inside a way out. Christian morality may celebrate life, but prolonging it without hope of a better future is purely for profit. This policy puts control of your pain and your future in your own hands, not the state or church or anyone else. That is the point. As for the convoy truckers, removing access to bank accounts was a last resort meant to get them to stop making life hell for the people forced to deal with the noise, and disruption for weeks on end. Most Canadians applaud that as well.

Helen Goethals
Helen Goethals
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

Perhaps responding to complaints about current end-of-life care (or lack of it) with, “Well, if you don’t like it, we give you the right to die” is somewhat inadequate? And NOT to the point …

Robert
Robert
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Goethals

But, there’s a point where ‘responding’ must end in letting someone go, right? How long should a person lay in a bed being turned periodically to make sure the bed sores are cleaned, or having to be fed like an infant, or pushed around in a chair and then set in front of a television for the day, etc., before they should be allowed to say they’ve had enough? Each person should make the decision for themselves and just saying we must improve the care at end of life in inadequate. This is the world we live in. Most of us live in terror of winding up in a ‘care home’ and having people manage our failed bodies and minds as we wait for the end. I’m concerned about misuse of MAID, but I’m much more worried about winding up as I just described. Name a better solution other than ‘we need to improve care’. At some point, there is no way to ‘improve’ that type of ‘care’.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Robert

Mary Harrington is surely making a wider point about the balance shifting between respect for human life, compassion for the dying and doctors assisting the suicide of anyone who asks for it. There are some safeguards, but they have been progressively weakened.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  Robert

The opposite of medical assistance in dying if death is foreseeable shortly or the person wants to end intolerable suffering is the continuation of that suffering without having the choice to end it.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

The “intolerable suffering” criterion was reasonable and widely supported, although it also called into question why suffering couldn’t be alleviated. But we’ve gone way past that now, and the shockingly high (>3%) number of deaths from MAiD is almost certainly not known by most who have indicated support.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ddwieland
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  Helen Goethals

That is so wilfully blind to the obvious suffering by those with (for instance) increasing breathing difficulties unable to help themselves but very slowly, excruciatingly, choking to death, watched over by well-meaning and well-financed healthcare professionals and relatives.
In the same situation, i’ve no doubt whatsoever you’d have a very different opinion.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

I don’t know where you live, but it ain’t the same Canada where I reside. Sadly, I can guarantee you, 90% of the population has only a vague idea of what MAiD really is, and no idea how it has been expanded.

However, Canadians are sick of govt overreach and Trudeau in particular. That’s why his poll numbers are in the tank. The rise of Pierre Poilievre was kickstarted by his support for truckers.

Last edited 7 months ago by Jim Veenbaas
Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yes people are getting tired of Trudeau as happens to all politicians here after 2 terms as PM, but neither Poilievre nor his party have said anything about eliminating MAiD, which has widespread support. The main opposition to it comes from members of religions which oppose it in the belief that only God can decide when and how you will die.

Ddwieland
Ddwieland
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Roman

As I noted in an earlier reply, I doubt that many MAiD supporters are aware of how common it’s become and how weak the “safeguards” are in practice. This is not just a religious matter, especially since the great broadening of its use.

Last edited 7 months ago by Ddwieland
Graham Stull
Graham Stull
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

If you agree with invoking emergency war powers to deal with protestors because of their ‘noisiness’, your concept of rights differs from that of mine. And if ‘most Canadians’ do indeed support this (which I would doubt) then I despair for that nation.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
7 months ago
Reply to  Graham Stull

A group of Palestinian protestors stormed a school board meeting n greater Toronto because trustees wouldn’t pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire. Trustees had to hide in the library. This one incident is far more violent than anything the truckers did. I doubt even a single person is charged in the incident.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

Do you think it should be expanded to include prisoners with no chance of parole? Or teenagers who are in the grips of deep depression? Or people who struggle with their gender identity? Or people with deep-rooted mental health issues?

Kolya Wolf
Kolya Wolf
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Yes. Whose life is it, anyway?

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
7 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

All those people are perfectly capable of doing it for themselves. No one other than the person themselves should be involved. I would risk a murder charge for any of my loved ones who needed help because they couldn’t physically do it themselves, but the state………..No thanks!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

You make a very valid point about taking the control of one’s own existence out of the hands of the state or the medico-pharmaceutical industry.
In former times, this might have been described in terms of the much-vaunted concept of “free will” – with the usual iniquitous concept of “sin” attached to send us all on a guilt trip starting at birth with “Original Sin”.
Human morality is based on consideration for others; their needs balanced with our own. The problems start when some external authority is invoked, such as “god” or “the state” and presented as the arbiter of what is moral. In this instance, the state shouldn’t be castigated for putting morality back into the hands of the individual, providing sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent exploitation by others.

Robert
Robert
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

On the health care stuff I’m mostly with you. I don’t believe the profit motive has anything to do with it, though. Rather, we rationalize all sorts of ‘care’ (including resuscitation in many cases) because we have to ability to do it. What the patient wants is hard to know in many cases, including existing in a ‘care home’. However, if someone has the forethought to say, “I’ve had enough, I see where this is going” and decides to end their life, who am I to tell them no.

Darlene Craig
Darlene Craig
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

It is hard to say whether “most” Canadians support MAiD since we haven’t been asked. There is a difference between someone ending their own life, or certain types of care being withheld, and the medical establishment actively deciding about, and arranging for the killing of a human being. I don’t know if most Canadians are in favour of this. As with any government over reach, it is a very slippery slope indeed. The government approached the precipice of approving MAiD for “mature minors” and mental illness, drew back, and is appoaching it again. Who are the godlike beings who can make those decisions?
As for the trucker convoy, as dreadful as it may have been for Ottawa residence, the response from the government was authoritarian and should be very concerning to Canadians.

Marcie Neville
Marcie Neville
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

I live in Canada and a significant portion of the population does agree with the author and not with you. Justin Trudeau’s government is very poorly supported. We see the dangerous moral slide and hope a different government will put an end to it.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  Marcie Neville

The court forced Trudeau to repeal part of the law that prohibited MAiD because it was unconstitutional. A change in political parties won’t change that.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

The problem that I hope we can all agree on is that what starts as compassion for the dying ends up in taking the life of healthy young people who are depressed, out of work, addicted or bereaved. This is happening today in Canada. Do most Canadians applaud that?
And are Canadians really in favour of the government taking money from disruptive noisy political protesters? If so, what happens when they come for you?

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
7 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

No it is not happening in Canada today. MAid is not legal for anyone who is depressed, out of work, addicted or bereaved. Read the law for yourself.

Nicolas
Nicolas
7 months ago
Reply to  Lynda Simmons

What do you expect us to make of “last resort,” “meant to,” and “most people applauded it”? How can any of those things be relevant? Who cares if that’s what the government viewed as a last resort to achieve its aims? What difference does it make what anything is “meant to” do by the person doing it? Suppose most Canadians applauded something you didn’t believe in, would you then necessarily be wrong?