Normalization and promotion of euthanasia in Canada has been so effective that the practice has begun to form a major trend, drawing in not only those suffering from incurable diseases, but individuals enduring hardships that may otherwise ultimately resolve with a light at the end of the tunnel, such as poverty, depression, and loneliness.
One of the most enlightening encapsulations of the topic is a December of 2022 article published in The New Atlantis titled No Other Options, which examined two of the country’s most prolific providers of a practice that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party minority government has coined “Medical Assistance in Dying,” or “MAID.”
Stefanie Green, described as “a physician specializing in euthanasia in British Columbia,” told author Alexander Raikin, “I find that the act of offering the option of an assisted death is one of the most therapeutic things we do,” as she remarked that those she euthanizes are “relieved.”
A former obstetrician, Green draws a parallel between suicide by the administration of lethal injection and delivering newborn babies, “At both ‘deliveries,’ as I call them, I am invited into a most intimate moment in people’s lives,” she was quoted as writing in her book.
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A second practitioner that Raikin was put into contact with, this time by the Dying With Dignity Canada non-profit, Ellen Wiebe, was described as a “prominent euthanasia provider and advocate in Vancouver.”
Wiebe, however, declined to speak with The New Atlantis for the article, only providing general comment on MAID, which read, “It is rare for assessors to have patients who have unmet needs, but it does happen.”
“Usually these unmet needs are around loneliness and poverty. As all Canadians have rights to an assisted death, people who are lonely or poor also have those rights,” Wiebe added.
Green, to the contrary, attempted to deny that MAID was being prescribed and administered to handle suffering outside of the boundaries of the already terminally ill as she told Raikin she was hesitant to comment for his article, wishing to avoid giving credence to “unfounded opposition arguments.”
Raikin said that when he asked Green about stories alleging abuse of the system during a phone interview, she shouted back, “You cannot access MAID in this country because you can’t get housing. That is clickbait. These stories have not been reported fully.”
The duo are notable. Raikin’s investigation calculated that Wiebe “personally euthanized over 400 patients,” while Green “had performed more than three hundred MAID procedures.”
While at first glance, 700 cases may not sound drastic, but the gravity of the figure comes into perspective when looking at Canada’s statistics compared to the rest of the world.
The Government of Canada’s Third Annual Report On Medical Assistance In Dying In Canada 2021 revealed the widespread nature of the practice across the country.
“In 2021, there were 10,064 MAID provisions reported in Canada, accounting for 3.3% of all deaths in Canada,” the Report said.
Not only did MAID account for approximately 1-in-30 of deaths from all causes over the course of the entire year, but the Government noted an explosive growth in demand compared to 2020.
“The number of cases of MAID in 2021 represents a growth rate of 32.4% over 2020,” the Report stated, adding, “All provinces continue to experience a steady year over year growth.”
Putting the figure into perspective, according to data aggregator Our World in Data, in 2021, Canada saw 14,584 deaths attributed to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
And while Wiebe and Green’s practice may amount to only a fraction of all MAID suicides over the course of a year, the magnitude of the figure changes when comparing worldwide euthanasia statistics.
An August of 2022 article published by Forbes revealed that Canada’s 10,064 fatalities makes it the world leader in euthanasia, and by a long shot.
Second place was awarded to the Netherlands, which logged 7,666 assisted suicides, while third place United States logged only 1,300 deaths.
Canada’s population is estimated by Google at approximately 38 million, the Netherlands at roughly 17.5 million, and the United States at just under 332 million people.
The New Atlantis gave the situation even greater clarity as it compared Canada’s manifestation to the State of California’s.
“California provides a useful point of comparison: It legalized medically assisted death the same year as Canada, 2016, and it has about the same population, just under forty million,” Raikin wrote.
“In 2021 in California, 486 people died using the state’s assisted suicide program,” he added.
Under Canada’s socialized health care regimen, MAID presents a lucrative source of billing for licensed practitioners.
According to the 2022 British Columbia Ministry of Health’s May 1, 2022 Medical Services Commission Payment Schedule, the government will pay practitioners willing to serve as an assessor or a prescriber to MAID $43.24 per 15 minutes, up to 135 minutes, for a maximum of $389.16.
The Schedule notes that the work can be completed either in person or via video conference.
Additionally, for those who actually conduct the euthanasia procedure, $283.85 will be paid by the Ministry with an additional $126.72 offered if the physician needs to pick up or return medication for a procedure “in a location where there is no on-site pharmacy.”
When it came to Green’s claim that stories of misprescribed MAID were “clickbait,” Raikin’s investigation found some significant holes.
Green is the President of the Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers (CAMAP), described by Raikin as “the leading organization of Canadian euthanasia providers.”
Raikin explained, “The New Atlantis has obtained video recordings of several seminars held from 2020 through 2022, along with slideshows and material used by the presenters.”
“One seminar was specifically devoted to how to handle euthanasia requests from poor patients,” he stated.
And added, “For another seminar speaker, euthanasia requests from poor people are just part of the job.”
Raikin cited one case presented in the CAMAP seminar of a 55-year-old woman who suffered from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, non-fatal chronic pain conditions, who although was capable of managing via vitamins, a specialized diet, and physio, became unable to afford the regimen.
In a slide during the presentation, the advocate stated the client “identifies poverty as the [emphasis inherent] driver of her MAID request.”
“She does not want to die, but she’s suffering terribly and she’s been maxing out her credit cards. She has no other options,” the slide added.
Raikin also investigated several cases of potential abuse independently. One of the most telling was that of 41-year-old Rosina Kamis, who suffered from leukemia, fibromyalgia, and “a myriad of other mental and physical illnesses.”
“If all you knew about Rosina were her medical history, you could be excused for assuming that MAID was meant for someone like her,” Raikin wrote.
The author stated he reviewed, “A wealth of material reviewed for this article — interviews I conducted with her friends and powers of attorney, emails she sent to her powers of attorney, emails to herself and to her physicians, emails to her abusive ex-husband, her Google Drive, a recording of her second MAID assessment, recordings of her doctor appointments, recordings of calls trying to get pain control, videos she posted to a tiny group of YouTube followers, and medical documents.”
“Rosina was not dying: in ordinary circumstances her medical conditions were chronic, not terminal,” Raikin concluded, adding that the evidence he reviewed “paint a much messier picture than what she showed her assessors.”
Kamis’s suffering appeared to be limited to light sensitivity, joint pain, poverty, and loneliness, and the associated anxiety and depression that comes with them.
And this is a fact she understood herself, according to a “message apparently intended for her powers of attorney,” where she stated, “Please keep all this secret while I am still alive because … the suffering I experience is mental suffering, not physical.”
“I think if more people cared about me, I might be able to handle the suffering caused by my physical illnesses alone.”
In another instance, she told a YouTube channel with an extremely small following that, “Sometimes all the pain will go away just by having another human being here.”
Kamis committed medically assisted suicide by lethal injection in her basement apartment on Sept. 26, 2021.