Canada: Deep Convictions and Deep Pockets are Needed to Fight the MAID Lobby

 By Gabrielle Peters (article excerpt).

“On the question of religious hospitals, despite being a lesbian couple, Patricia and I would tolerate life-size crucifixes in the treatment room if it meant being safe from MAID.” ~ Catherine Frazee,  (pictured here).* 

Disabled people often talk about being made invisible. This feeling is particularly striking around issues that are specific to us like MAID, "Medical Assistance in Dying." The lobbyists and proponents for Canada’s MAID regime routinely mischaracterize or, more often, omit mention of disabled people or our reasons for opposition entirely.

Consistent with this, Jocelyn Downie and Daphne Gilbert ridiculed B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix’s plan for a clinical space for MAID to be created next to a MAID-free hospital in Vancouver. In their recent Policy Options article, they call the planned connecting hallway a “corridor of sin” and accuse the minister of making a plan that is church-centered, not patient-centered.

Some health-care providers see MAID-free spaces as working environments that allow them to respect their conscience and adhere to their professional understanding of doing no harm.

Disabled patients, however, have expressed different reasons for wanting MAID-free health-care settings.

To start with, we should have the right to receive medical care in places and from people who do not contemplate or participate in killing disabled people as part of a care plan.

Who wants to look up at a doctor from a hospital bed and wonder if they have just deliberately ended the life of someone with a similar condition? Or to overhear conversations in hallways, waiting rooms, nursing stations or on the other side of a curtain, about how a lethal injection preserved a relative’s dignity before she – gasp – became incontinent ....

The only MAID-free spaces left are in faith-based facilities. This is a result of vigorous lobbying by well-funded and privileged groups, and the abandonment of disabled people.

Quebec prevents the creation of MAID-free spaces, something the Quebec Archbishop is fighting in court. A B.C. hospice that chose to remain MAID-free had its funding cut by the provincial government.

Deep convictions and deep pockets are needed to fight the MAID lobby.


* Professor emerita at the School of Disability Studies at Metropolitan University, former chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and co-founder of Disability Filibuster.