A disabled veteran in Canada has criticized her government for offering her assisted suicide when she became frustrated with the delays in installing a wheelchair lift in her home.
Retired Army Corporal Christine Gauthier, a former Paralympian, testified in parliament on Thursday that a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) official made the euthanasia offer.
After years of frustrating delays in getting the home elevator, Gauthier said the social worker told her, “Ma’am, if you really are that desperate, we can now give you medical help when you die.”
It comes a week after Canada’s veterans’ affairs minister confirmed that at least four other veterans were similarly offered euthanasia in response to their troubles, a situation Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “absolutely unacceptable.”
Army veteran Christine Gauthier, a former Paralympian, testified in Canada’s parliament on Thursday that a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) official offered her euthanasia after expressing frustration over delays in installing a wheelchair lift at her home
Gauthier competed in the 2016 Paralympics and Prince Harry’s 2016 Invictus Games (above), where she took gold in indoor rowing and heavyweight powerlifting
Gauthier said she has been seeking VAC assistance since 2017 in getting a chairlift for her home.
“It’s been a huge isolation to me because I have to crawl up my butt with the wheelchair in front of me to get to my house,” she said. Worldwide news.
She said she was shocked by the social worker’s suicide offer, which came into conversation in 2019.
“I was like, ‘I can’t believe you’re giving me an injection to help me die, but you’re not giving me the resources I need to help me live,'” she said. “It was really shocking to hear comments like that.”
Gauthier was injured in an army training accident in 1989 and suffered permanent damage to her knees and her spine.
She competed in the 2016 Paralympic Games and Prince Harry’s Invictus Games in 2016 as a canoeist, powerlifter and indoor rower.
Gauthier’s testimony and reports of other similar cases have sparked public outcry and Trudeau vowed to make changes.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the case “absolutely unacceptable” and vowed to make changes after at least five veterans received medical-assisted suicide from the VAC
“I have said repeatedly that this is absolutely unacceptable, and as soon as we learned of this, we took action,” Trudeau said in Vancouver on Friday.
“We are following up on investigations and we are changing protocols to ensure what should seem obvious to all of us: that it is not the place of Veterans Affairs Canada, who are there to support the people who have dedicated themselves to serving their country , to provide them with medical assistance when they die,’ he said.
Assisted suicide was first legalized in Canada for terminally ill patients in 2016, but last year the law was expanded to offer euthanasia to patients whose natural death is not believed to be imminent.
Now people with a long-term disability can also receive medical help when they die. Last year, more than 10,000 people died from euthanasia in Canada.
Starting next year, a new law will allow people suffering from a mental illness, which was not previously a qualifying condition, to receive medically assisted suicide.
The use of medical assisted suicide in Canada has skyrocketed in recent years. More than 10,000 people used it in 2021, an increase of 31 percent
The expansion of Canada’s euthanasia laws, which are already among the most permissive in the world, has raised concerns from some quarters.
A doctor told DailyMail.com he is concerned about the expansion because it will turn suicide into a standard treatment for mental illness with little oversight or guidance.
Dr. Trudo Lemmens, a professor of health law and policy at the University of Toronto, told DailyMail.com that the system could create an “obligation to introduce” [suicide] as part of mental health care.
“Imagine that being applied in the context of mental health. You have a person suffering from severe depression, seeking help from a therapist and being offered the solution of dying,” he continued.
He fears that vulnerable patients who are not in the right frame of mind could be convinced that suicide is a reasonable option. Dr. Lemmens called the whole system a “perverted concept of autonomy.”
There are already signs that the system is failing some Canadians, with reports of people getting approval for assisted suicide due to diabetes or homelessness.
From March 2023, Canada’s eligibility for medical assisted suicide will be expanded even further, allowing people who do not have a physical condition to receive one. They must get approval from two doctors and wait 90 days between the application and the time of death
Amir Farsoud, 54, applied for Canada’s controversial dying medical assistance program known as MAID after the house where he lives went on the market
Last month, a Canadian man facing eviction made international headlines when he applied to be legally euthanized and die instead of becoming homeless.
Amir Farsoud, 54, applied for the drastic measure after the rooming house where he lives was up for sale. His debilitating, untreatable back pain qualified him for medically assisted suicide under Canadian law.
Farsoud had received one of the two doctor’s signatures required to be accepted by the government’s euthanasia program – but a GoFundMe page set up in his name by a stranger eventually raised him more than $60,000 — enough to get him a new home and change his mind about ending his life.
Last week, one The Canadian fashion giant was accused of glorifying suicide after launching a media campaign that appeared to promote euthanasia.
Launched by La Maison Simons, the ‘All is Beauty’ video ad centers on a terminally ill woman, Jennyfer, 37, who ended her life on medication in October.
The three-minute video shows Jennyfer and loved ones swinging bubble sticks next to the ocean, picnicking in the woods with friends and watching a puppet show.
In an audio overlay recorded weeks before her death, she says, “All my life I have filled my heart with beauty, with nature, with connection. I choose to fill my last moments with the same… Last breaths are sacred. When I imagine my last days, I see music. I see the ocean. I see cheesecake.’
Yuan Yi Zhu, a policy expert at the University of Oxford, told DailyMail.com: ‘By presenting a woman’s decision to commit suicide as a luxurious lifestyle choice, Simons glorifies suicide and tells vulnerable Canadians that they are better off dead than dead. living. .’
The video has also received criticism from social media users who labeled it “creepy” and likened it to “sci-fi dystopia.”
Since it was uploaded about a month ago, the video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on YouTube. A 30-second clip of the video posted to Twitter has been viewed about 1.6 million times.