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An illustration of three friends greeting each other, surrounded by indoor plants. A Black woman standing in an orange top, yellow a-line skirt, and red heels and wearing a face mask greets a standing friend with brown hair, a red bustier, pink shawl, and blue skirt, and a seated friend with brown hair and gold earrings wearing a blue matching top and pants outfit with green sneakers using a wheelchair.

Disabled People demand the right to live in dignity.

We are asking Prime Minister Trudeau and Members of Parliament to vote NO to Bill C7, An Act to Amend The Criminal Code of Canada (medical assistance in dying).

Why we’re concerned about Bill C-7

Canada has a well documented history of institutionalization, sterilization, segregation, exclusion, discrimination and outright banning (via immigration) of disabled people. Disabled people are a recognized protected class under the Human Rights Code and Charter. We are over-represented below the poverty line, as victims of police and other violence, in prison, among the homeless and we are excluded by design from many of this country’s buildings, communication, transportation and city streets. Bill C-7 isn’t happening in a vacuum- it’s happening in this context.

An illustration of a woman with dark hair seated in a wheelchair reading a book to a child with dark hair. They are surrounded by leaves.
An illustration of a woman with dark hair seated in a wheelchair reading a book to a child with dark hair. They are surrounded by leaves.

Bill C-7 is a threat to all disabled people but poses particular threat to Black, Indigenous and other racialized and/or poor disabled people.

An illustration of person with brown hair wheeling with a smile. They are wearing an orange shearling coat with blue pockets. They wear red wedge heel shoes.
An illustration of person with brown hair wheeling with a smile. They are wearing an orange shearling coat with blue pockets. They wear red wedge heel shoes.

Bill C-7 permits the streamlining of death options with no efforts to improve life options, making it easier for those in crisis to have medical staff emphasize options for death to them, with a reduction in the requirement for independent witnesses, increasing the risk of abuse.

Illustrated graphic of four disabled people. A Black woman with black hair in a pink dress is standing and holding a cane. Next to her is a white woman with brown hair in braids with a pink top and purple skirt is walking using a mobility assistance device. Next to her, a Black woman amputee wearing a blue hijab that matches her blue shoes is talking to another Black person with an amputated leg and holding crutches.

We are concerned Bill C-7 will further lessen the necessity of governments to fully fund and create appropriate systems of support, because the assessment period is shorter than the time required to apply, receive, and benefit from many forms of care, therapeutics, and support.

SHAPESHIFTERS by sb. smith

(first published by Arc Poetry Magazine in November 2020)


“Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” 
–Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., 1927

we don’t need more help dying,
our mandated deaths
are burnt fallopian tubes,
genetic selection,
icepick-cracked skulls,
bleach injections.

our mutant sewer rat lives
spawn spawn spawn rebirth.
we craft justice out of crumbs,
reach for ancestors in the dark.
our skittering still under fluorescents
in doctor’s offices, snap traps.
we wriggle free, shapeshift bodies
like a reminder: we will always be here.