Today's discussion:

Skyrocketing MAiD deaths represent a profound societal failure

While MAiD is often celebrated as an exercise of autonomy, equality, and self-determination, it’s difficult to see those ideals reflected in the numbers. The data in these reports seem to speak more to our societal failures than our human rights triumphs.

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Robert Tilden

As I get closer to the end {70] I believe all of us should be able to determine our own end and that a written will or video should override the will of both family and Doctors

1st December 2023 at 8:12 am
Herb Warren

Contrary to the doom and glum headline of “societal failure” I believe MAiD is anything but a failure of society, Instead it is society waking up to the positive fact that now government has lost one more opportunity to control the lives of its citizens. Nobody should have the ability to own my right to decide my fate.

1st December 2023 at 8:18 am
Debra

I am thankful that MAiD exists. I and I alone will decide when enough is enough. I don’t want my life’s end to be miserable, painful and drug-addled. I don’t want to take away medical resources from someone who has their whole life ahead of them. I love that I can have a control over my own life in death that is often denied us in life

1st December 2023 at 8:54 am
Kim Morton

Somehow, over the last several decades, western society has decided that everyone must be forced to live as long as medically possible. Pain, mental, physical condition and desires of the patient are irrelevant. Big Brother knows what is best for you. My thought is to compare what we force on humans to what we do with animals. Some of the things we force humans to live with would have one jailed if caught forcing it on an animal. I have a better than 50% chance of developing dementia within the next 5 years, and am not about to suffer the indignities of being a bedridden vegetable. My body, my choice.

1st December 2023 at 9:16 am
Bernie Langlois

I disagree with Derek Ross. The report deals with numbers
Let’s deal with people . These are personal decisions. Tell the story of the individuals and their situation instead of statistics
To force people to endure more of what they are suffering from and then dying later does not make sense
To take away personal choices to please some government agency is unnatural to me The medical resources can be put to better use

1st December 2023 at 8:06 am
RJKWells

The numbers are a stark reminder that this issue goes beyond the story of individuals. We need the data to better understand the reasons why they are choosing something so drastic and so permanent.

Life today has moved from something that once was so precious to something that is so casually seen as disposable. We must tread carefully. There is more to the story and the statistics help to better understand what that is.

To read, as an example, that government – unable or unwilling to serve veterans whom we once called upon to serve us in our time of need – later offering them the option of MAiD in their time of need, without even exploring other options – is disturbing. It also tells me that this goes beyond personal choices for those going through unbearable pain and suffering.

The measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable. The numbers indicate that we must do a better job, especially on something from which there can be no return.

1st December 2023 at 11:20 am
Richard

I believe in bodily autonomy. Period!

1st December 2023 at 8:00 am
jane cryderman

Thank goodness for this merciful option. If you don’t want to choose how your life ends ..then don’t choose Maid.. If your religious belief’s include horrendous suffering until “natural death” (whatever that might be) Then by all means.. your choice. But I and nearly everyone I know is so gratefully to have the sensible, sensitive and humane option to leave this world with dignity and selfhood intact!

1st December 2023 at 9:28 am
Bonnie Laycock

Watching two parent die a long agonizing death- with one of them pleading “ just give me something to let me go”, I know for a fact that had Maid been in existence at that time, you could have added on another statistic to Maid numbers.
Fix what needs fixing but give people the dignity to choose when they feel they want to exit the earth.
Ultimately, keeping people alive when there is no hope for recovery and their choice is to say goodbye also impact the costs to the medical system.

1st December 2023 at 9:26 am
Mark Hahn

Keep your predictable, regressive, and archaic religious disapproval out of public discussions. Share it among your congregation if you must, but you need accept that public discussions must not be weasely attempts to smuggle in aspects of your faith.

The article is interesting. It includes many facts that are worth knowing. The problem is the author’s religious agenda.

For instance, “euthanasia” is only sprung on the reader in the tail of the article – clearly the author realizes that this word would signal his agenda. But all the article’s interpretations are high-spin: for instance, the bizarre assumption that a recipient reporting “inadequate pain control (or concern)” has been failed by palliative care. No, you do not get to claim that tens of thousands of caregivers are incompetent or malicious just because your religion opposes MAID.

Let’s be frank: most of us support quite accessible and general MAID. The public discussion on this should be honest about your starting assumptions, rather than attempting to smuggle them in after distorted interpretations.

1st December 2023 at 11:02 am
Rod

Couldn’t agree more, these religious nuts are my biggest turn off for Conservatism. Let people die with dignity. Focus on saving those who want to be saved. I watched my father die this year and even with a DNR they revived him and poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into keeping him alive so he could suffer for another 2 months, his dementia disqualified him for maid. It is a sadistic and brutal world view to enslave people to a fading and painful end of life.

2nd December 2023 at 10:33 am
Eric Christensen

I believe we have the right to choose how we want to end our life, I buried family members who suffered cruelly with cancer. My Nephew was able to choose maid and he ended his life on his terms. If I develop alzimers I become a vegetable and do not to live like that, I should be able to determine my own end by written or verbal instructions not family, medical profession or courts.
This is not a religious matter but a very personal one.

1st December 2023 at 11:26 am
Ken East

I take no issue with Mr. Rosses statistics but am left with a “so what” feeling. That tens of thousands have had a choice in how and when they pass on is a good thing. I have lived through the alternative.

1st December 2023 at 12:49 pm
Joan Fisher

The baby boomer generation has the unique opportunity of watching their parents live into their 90s or more and we can see our future. I, for one, do not want to be a source of resentment to my family and, more importantly, exhaust my estate on caregivers after years of hard work and savings. I hope MAID will be expanded and advance requests allowed for Alzheimer’s etc. I personally wish MAID was available after a specified age on demand.

1st December 2023 at 10:53 am
Mike Smith

Totally Agree as I am at the tail end of Baby boomers. Although only in my mid 60’s, Watching spouses die, brother and sisters, friends, and discussions with my friends, none of us will chose to live with someone changing our diapers, going through multiple operations cutting more and more out of you, or not knowing where you are, yet physically ok. How much pain and suffering does someone want to impose on family and friends just for the ability to keep breathing, no matter if you have totally lost 110% of your life. We the Baby Boomers can make the changes required to insure that we all have the respect we deserve and that includes choice of our life and quality to go with it.

1st December 2023 at 1:06 pm
A. Chezzi

It has been reported that loneliness is the number one enemy of many people, so, I am not surprised to read the stats on MAID. Aside from no support systems for those fighting loneliness, there are weak support systems in place for people fighting diseases of other kinds. There is a weakened sense of community in our country as people are fighting for “their rights,” and we are being polarized more and more. Just yesterday in The Hub, there was an article on decreasing the benefits of seniors, dividing seniors and younger people. Instead, we need to be looking at ways to bring seniors and younger people together.
Governments cannot solve loneliness but the more politicians fight each other and point fingers at each other, the divisions grow. It was disappointing to hear a Rachel Thomas, shadow minister for Canadian Heritage, working to get a sound clip by denigrating the French language. A quick apology doesn’t solve the matter. It is situation like this which create the divisions and raise anxiety which increases loneliness.
MAID is not the answer for loneliness but if someone feels that live is not worth living and sees no alternative, MAID seems to be the answer to their problem. Lets hope there is a brighter light on the horizon.

1st December 2023 at 8:49 am
Mark Hahn

When I try to think about “problem loneliness”, I immediately run into problems. What does it even mean? Are we talking about someone who lives out in the middle of nowhere and has no friends or neighbors or family to talk to? To what extent is it a result of choices (to remain in that place, to choose not to interact over the internet, to avoid the bar/coffeeshop/church scene)?

Is it really about “someone to chat with”, or it it mainly about purpose?

1st December 2023 at 11:14 am
Mario Paolucci

I would like to see more government resources focusing on care for the the ill and the dying. These resources should support physical as well as psychological needs, as both factor-in these decisions . The proposed expansion of MAID to those suffering from mental ills e.g. depression, is even more concerning given current trends.

1st December 2023 at 10:11 am
Mark Hahn

You imply that “resources” for MAID are taking away from care. Is that even true?

If you’re proposing to spend more on specific kinds of care, that’s great, and I think a lot of people would like to hear about empirical facts supporting the need, efficacy, and cost. But why conflate it with MAID?

1st December 2023 at 11:17 am
Mike Smith

First all.

I am a monthly contributor and I also have a yearly subscription to the Economist and between the two organizations I receive 90+% or news and “interest” articles. Love all the Podcasts and follow them weekly.

Love and respect the Hub and what / how the Hub is perceiving the news and the generally very good “central” reporting and commentary.

Secondary

At times I see that the “Headline to catch my attention” is somewhat slanted either to the right or the left. Whereas I believe it should remain neutral and let us readers decide which side to push it to. Now I do realize that the editorials are just that, and may not reflect the views of the Hub directly to different degrees and definitely the readers.
You are not alone, the Economist over the last 18 months or so is becoming more slanted to the farther left and although good and interesting articles, I find at times they won’t publish the other side and let us, the readers decide.

Anyways the article I received this morning,
Derek Ross: Skyrocketing MAiD deaths represent a profound societal failure
is rather alarming, not maybe because of the facts and numbers but in the context that it is written.
Yes I agree in principle to the article but I am thinking, as I am reading the article ” Why is he not considering the quality of life ” and the happiness of the persons making the decision for MAID.?

BUT closer to the bottom of the article he writes they feel they are losing their sense of meaning, purpose, and dignity (“loss of ability to engage in meaningful life activities” was a factor in 86.3 percent of all MAiD deaths, and “loss of dignity” in over half). Social and existential suffering was also a major factor.

As my opinion,I believe that this statement should have started the article and not basically end it. Then follow up with the other facts. Totally great article overall.

I would love to see a follow up editorial from Derek Ross and stories from people and family who decide to take advantage of MAID. The fact we now have a choice with our remaining years or months as to how we want to live is important.

Please think about the ability to make comments on articles ( for contributors ). as we do care and follow the HUB daily.

1st December 2023 at 12:54 pm
Janet Bufton

I share many concerns with the author. I do not think that death should be preferable because of a poor level of care or social support. I agree that we have serious societal problems when it comes to how we deal with people who need care generally, especially long-term care, and maybe end-of-life care most of all.

But imposing more restrictions on medically assisted dying does not solve these problems, it only robs the people suffering most from them of a choice.

I think eliminating that choice is a bullet that someone who is against ending one’s own life can bite when making their argument. But the bullet should be bitten, rather than conflating arguments about access to MAiD with concerns about the lack of choice.

1st December 2023 at 10:45 am
The Hub Staff

Thank you for contributing to Hub Forum.

1st December 2023 at 11:23 am
Rob

The article is about the effectiveness of the governance of the MAiD program, not whether or not medically assisted dying should be permitted.

Is it really surprising that a bureaucracy that makes “Vonnegut-Level” blunders would fail to meet the requirements and/or fail to set appropriate controls over this program, despite the life-and-death stakes?

1st December 2023 at 8:39 am
Mandi Schrader

The arguments I see against it seem to indicate that we need to do a better job of caring for the disabled, mentally ill, and vulnerable, not take away their right to choose assisted death. I’ve known many people who died by suicide, desperate for escape from an unbearable life. So, much like abortion, we cannot stop people from choosing to end a situation they cannot endure, we can only make that choice more painful and unsafe.

1st December 2023 at 1:19 pm
RK Alexander

Disease and loneliness aside, I think we will be surprised just how many MAID choices are made because people can’t afford to live anymore, ie. the money runs out. The Dutch have programs to make sure this doesn’t happen; they think out of the box. Canada is still in the dark ages. There are many sites you can go to for info. Below is just one of them chosen at random.

https://www.matherinstitute.com/2014/11/05/apartments-life-dutch-senior-housing-innovation/

1st December 2023 at 11:42 am
Gary

MAID is new so of course, there will be a noticeable increase from zero to what relevant parts of the population wanted and needed but have been denied. I’m concerned that discussions like this can potentially be a thinly veiled wish on the behalf of some, to eliminate the symptom in order to make the “societal failures” go away. “Forced longevity” can be related to “forced birthing”. In both cases, there are people whose opinions should not influence the quality of life of others.

3rd December 2023 at 10:20 am
Harry Boessenkool

Here is a quote that appears to fit the nuanced view of the author in this article:

“”The Government’s justification for the narrowed eligibility criteria for MAID include 1) the need to “affirm the inherent and equal value of every person’s life and avoiding encouraging negative perceptions of the quality of life of persons who are elderly, ill or disabled”; 2) the concern that “vulnerable persons must be protected from being induced, in moments of weakness, to end their lives”; 3) the recognition that “suicide is a significant public health issue that can have lasting and harmful effects on individuals, families and communities”; and 4) that it “strikes the most appropriate balance between the autonomy of persons who seek medical assistance in dying, on one hand, and the interests of vulnerable persons in need of protection and those of society, on the other.”
On personal principle grounds I have difficulty “with assistance in dying” . I just hope that my principles will be accepted when my times comes.

2nd December 2023 at 8:20 pm
Wendy P

I just read Derrick Ross’s article re: MAID deaths represent a profound societal failure. He indicated ‘over 40 percent of those who reportedly did receive palliative care, it was only for one month or less, raising questions about whether it was accessed long enough for its benefits to be meaningfully realized’. My understanding of palliative care is that it is for end of life care. And I would suggest those folks realized they were coming to the end and didn’t want their life prolonged any longer than necessary. It is about CHOICE.

2nd December 2023 at 4:58 pm
Clare

The societal failures cited cannot be mended by Government. Mental health in particular is very difficult to heal and there will never be enough professionals to deliver it even if it were. Having lost the will and reason to live is also not something that can be easily regained nor be the concern of any officials. My husband is in long term care with wonderful staff for whom I am grateful but do I wish he could have decided to end his life before that? Indeed I do and hope there will be approval for advance requests for MAID for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

2nd December 2023 at 9:52 am
Richard Courtemanche

The old restrictions debated to no end had to be relaxed but don’t let Trudeau fool around with the Nuremberg Code.

1st December 2023 at 5:47 pm