Justin Trudeau
© Courtesy CBC
As any psychiatrist can tell you, it was much easier years ago to commit someone to a mental institution than it is today. A psychiatrist could do that with the agreement of a family member and sometimes even without. The pendulum now has swung in the other direction to the place where it is actually very difficult to get the mentally ill help, let alone bed-space in an institution.

With the fact that resources and bed-space for addictions and mental health can take up to 6 months or longer, it is now hospital bed-space that is driving current issues for mental health because many of the institutions that used to specialize in helping the mentally ill, have been closed in so-called efforts to de-stigmatize mental health. This approach today often leads to untreated mental illness.

Bed space in Canada is theoretically so low that this was also the primary reason that federal and provincial governments claim they locked down the economy for two years during the pandemic, and further enforced vaccine mandates. So, if we don't have enough resources for COVID, of course there are not enough resources for mental health support.

Yet because of those very pandemic measures, mental health needs have drastically increased — By a massive 25%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

While on-the-ground resources for mental health have continued to dwindle for those in need, it was in 2015 that Canada's Supreme Court ruled that assisted suicide was constitutional. Then one year later, Parliament passed the Medical Assistance in Dying Act (MAiD) for "reasonably foreseeable death". Many other western "liberalized" countries have also followed suit with similar laws.

In the first year 2,800 people used the assisted suicide program. By 2021 the program had grown to more than 10,000. In aggregate, there have been a total of 31,664 MAiD assisted suicides since assisted suicide became legal in Canada.

What should be deeply worrying now — scary would not be too strong a word — is that under this Liberal-NDP regime, the availability of MAiD in Canada will be expanded next March to the mentally ill — including minors!

Even before expansion of the program to mentally ill and the young however, the federal government's assisted suicide program has now reached around five percent of deaths in provinces like Quebec and British Columbia. Indeed. Canada's permissive and shocking numbers are starting to generate criticism from both Forbes and Associated Press.

The assumption was that this program would be applied to those with terminal illness, mostly for elderly people in horrific pain from incurable ailments. Today, however, more and more young people are using the assisted suicide program as well.

Scrutiny has been growing since it was reported in August of this year that a federal Veterans Affairs official recommended assisted suicide to a veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): "multiple sources reported that the "combat veteran never raised the issue, nor was he looking for MAID, and that he was deeply disturbed by the suggestion". The government claims this was "isolated" and the probe into this disturbing incident continues.

Already the expansion of the "reasonably foreseeable death" interpretation is taking place. In a recent Substack report by journalist Rupa Subramanya, 'Scheduled to Die: The Rise of Canada's Assisted Suicide Program.' In the article she tracks the toll of the assisted suicide program on the family and community of a young man with some health problems, including loss of sight in one eye, whose mother had to take to social media to stop the doctor from proceeding to move forward with the assisted suicide. According to Subramanya's article, one of the doctors she spoke even claimed the Hippocratic Oath is archaic. It is this attitude that is fuelling a new culture of death in Canada with "death doulas," "death cafes" and social media groups promoting assisted suicide. It's a growing business, along with the MAiD numbers.

Indeed, it is a slippery and dangerous slope.

This whole concept of medically assisted suicide was already problematic when it came to people with terminal illnesses, it becomes even more outrageous when those with psychiatric problems are considered. If a person is incapable in the courts, how can they choose to commit assisted suicide?

Just how does someone who is incapable of thinking straight make a rational decision about whether he or she wants to live or die? Should this question even be asked? We do not want the government making it easier for the state-sanctioned doctors to end people's lives. Whether it is the unborn, the terminally ill or the mentally ill. Only slave-states view life as cheap and something that can be terminated.

I am hardly alone in this assessment and the criticism of Canada's growing assisted suicide regime. When it comes to the mentally ill, Ellen Cohen, National Network for Mental Health co-coordinator, said it's difficult for them to consent. MAiD requires a person to voluntarily consent to it, but how do we understand consent for people with mental illnesses who may be forcibly confined and treated against their will? Do we need a special set of safeguards in those situations?" said Cohen. Cohen resigned from the federal government's MAiD panel, calling it a rubber stamp.

"Canada will legalize MAiD for people whose sole underlying medical condition is a mental health disorder. I believe this expansion of the MAiD law would be a serious mistake," said Cohen.

"The panel was not permitted or designed to reject MAiD for mental illness. We were supposed to consider how to do so safely before March. But to do our job effectively, we needed to engage seriously with complicated issues concerning decision-making, consent and capacity, privilege and vulnerability, and accountability and monitoring. In my experience, the panel failed to do so."

Marie-Claude Landry, the head of Canada's own Human Rights Commission also says she has "grave concerns" that were also voiced last year by three U.N. human rights experts, who wrote that Canada's euthanasia law appeared to violate the agency's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They said the law had a "discriminatory impact" on disabled and vulnerable people and was inconsistent with Canada's obligations to uphold international human rights standards.

This latest decision by the Trudeau government to expand and not limit the scope of medically assisted suicide is chilling and another example of the authoritarian tendencies of this government. Other experts are making this same comparison.

Tim Stainton, who is with the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, described Canada's law as "probably the biggest existential threat to disabled people since the Nazis' program in Germany in the 1930s."

Not widely reported, Pope Francis while in Canada for his apology to First Nations, also criticized what Canada is doing with assisted suicide, calling the program a culture of waste that considers elderly and disabled people disposable. The Pope said, "We need to learn how to listen to the pain" of the poor and most marginalized. Francis further said, these can be "patients who, in place of affection, are administered death."

Is this culture of death really what we want in Canada?

About: David Krayden

Senior Columnist (Parliament Hill)

David Krayden is the Senior Parliament Hill Columnist for the Western Standard based in the Ottawa Bureau. He has been a reporter and columnist for the Ottawa Sun, several major US publications, and the original Western Standard.