Editor's note: The following letter is in response to a letter regarding medical assistance in dying, published Jan. 25.
I take exception to Jay LeMay’s “sky-is-falling” attack on medical assistance in dying (MAID) and the recent expansion of its availability.
Sadly, I am also intimately familiar with both the benefits and the shortcomings of the MAID program.
The changes that have been made have been put in place to address major shortcomings in MAID’s original implementation in Canada, to make it more accessible to those who really need it, who were excluded before, and were forced to endure the ends of their lives in pain and misery. “Mental disparity,” as he calls it, is only a small piece of the puzzle.
The demonization of MAID as some kind of “eugenics” program is ludicrous and offensive. It is fear-mongering and hysteria of the worst kind.
There has always been controversy around MAID and there are some who are unalterably opposed to the concept, people who believe you don’t have the right to end your life in the manner of your own choosing. That there is somehow something righteous and good about living with pain and suffering. That deciding not to live this way is some kind of moral failing, character weakness, or sin. That it is a slippery slope that will lead to mass suicide by some, murder by others, and state-imposed killing by the government.
There are many checks and balances in place to ensure MAID is not abused. The well-publicized, apparently inappropriate, but anomalous attempt by one person to obtain MAID is not an indication of the failure of that program.
MAID is not the cause of, nor the response to, failures and weaknesses of our healthcare and social safety net systems. These systems are in crisis because “we, the people” elect governments that keep them this way.
By all means, we should be improving how we provide health care and social assistance to those in need. Let’s give Tyler a hand up. But scapegoating MAID will do nothing of the sort. Restricting MAID will only increase suffering and misery.