Canadian poll: Maybe we should offer assisted suicide to the homeless and the poor

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Canada’s widely touted national medical system offers all sorts of options for Canadian citizens, assuming you can last long enough on the waiting list to receive treatment. But one option might be available far more quickly than others and a recent poll suggests that it’s more popular in the Great White North than some of us might have imagined. That would be Canada’s program of Medical Assistance in Dying, or MAID. But it’s not just for the terminally ill. You can be approved for other reasons. And roughly one-third of poll respondents suggested they would be open to offering the option to people who are homeless or simply poor. (National Post)

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One third of Canadians are apparently fine with prescribing assisting suicide for no other reason than the fact that the patient is poor or homeless.

The results were contained in a recent Research Co. poll probing just how comfortable Canadians were with the current state of the country’s MAID (medical assistance in dying) regime.

Starting in March 2021, Canada became one of only a handful of countries to legalize assisted suicide even in instances where a patient does not have a terminal illness. Ever since, a Canadian can be approved for MAID simply for having a “grievous and irremediable medical condition.”

The actual results are a bit further down in the article, but the survey simply asked if the government should offer MAID to people who request it under various conditions. 28% said it should be offered if a person is homeless. 27% said it would be okay if the person is in poverty. And 20% (one in five) said that MAID should be available to anyone who asks without needing to provide a reason.

Another shocking fact from the linked report that I had been unaware of deals with who is able to administer MAID. I had just assumed that it could only be done by a physician with a specialty in some area of terminal care. But it turns out that a nurse practitioner can both approve and administer the process on a patient requesting an early departure from this mortal coil.

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MAID has rapidly expanded beyond its original stated purpose of relieving the suffering of those with incurable diseases. The single area where a proposed expansion was walked back was when the government was preparing to offer it to the mentally ill. That generated some resistance and the measure has now been pushed out to 2024.

As long-time readers likely know, I’m one of those people with the unpopular, largely libertarian belief that people who are diagnosed with an incurable, terminal illness and who are living in constant pain should have the option of medically assisted suicide. I understand that’s not the approved Christian approach, but I’d also like to think that God might understand when a member of His creation has reached their limit and their prayers for relief have gone unanswered.

But these Canadian applications go several bridges too far even for me. You would think that a socialist government structure like Canada’s would be eager to lift up the struggling at the expense of the wealthy. (Assuming it’s still possible to grow wealthy in Canada.) Offering to put someone to death because they are impoverished, homeless, or simply depressed is not compassion. It’s a cost-cutting measure. And I’d have more respect for them if they just admitted this.

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David Strom 3:30 PM | June 20, 2024
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