Despite how the federal government postures itself, especially on the international stage, Canada simply does not provide the means (financial, medical, etc.) for the vast majority of its disabled citizens to live with dignity. This country does not honour the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People. If Bill C-7 is passed into law, Canada will be the only country in the world with MAiD legislation of this nature–something that ought to be thought of as a point of shame rather than pride.
I strongly oppose the “reasonably foreseeable death” safeguard being removed from MAiD legislation with Bill C-7 and death, in essence, becoming a widely-available “treatment option” for disabled and chronically-ill people. This amendment will allow quick access to death for a group of people who are denied timely (or, often, any) access to necessary healthcare and support. I am appalled that, in effect, Bill C-7 would make it so I, as a chronically-sick person, could receive death as a swift and easy “treatment” for my chronic illnesseswhen, at the same time, I cannot consistently access simple, inexpensive, scientifically-sound, and routine medical treatment in Canada’s healthcare system.
Not only does Canada have a rich history of racist and ableist eugenics, but it also continues to harm disabled citizens by failing to provide adequate economic and healthcare supports. Our country lacks meaningful and effective accessibility legislation. In addition, the current Canadian government has failed to include disabled people in its response to the covid pandemic.
The harsh reality today is: People are beginning to use MAiD to escape the fact that they do not have the financial means to keep on living. Shame on Canada. MAiD legislation and expansion in a society that, subsciously or otherwise, believes one is “better off” dead than disabled is eugenics–indeed, the same eugenics of Nazi Germany. One day, Canadians will be able to do a quick Google search with the words “Canadian Bill C-7 2020” and read about MAiD in Canada with the same disdain and shock as we, today, read about Nazi eugenic campaigns such as Aktion T-4.
It appears our current political leaders are divided on Bill C-7 with one some of them holding conservative reservations about it and the majority believing it is a progressive, innovative legislation. As a progressive, left-leaning disabled, working class woman interested in the liberation of all beings and the Earth, I am here to say Bill C-7 is not progressive, it is unjust and discriminatory.To believe otherwise is to demonstrate naivety and a shameful disconnect from the lived experiences of disabled people in this country; lived experiences marked by poverty, medical abuse, ableist violence, systemic oppression, isolation, and more. Our disabilities are not what make us suffer. This country’s leadership and the ways we are failed by it are what make us suffer. My heart breaks and bleeds when I consider what Bill C-7 will mean for me and my disabled kin in the future–an ongoing threat to our lives in a society so indoctrinated by eugenic ideology that it seeks to put us down like wounded animals rather than offering us the dignity of being human beings.
There is no dignity in Bill C-7, only ableist eugenic ideology.I implore all those at the helm of the Bill C-7 decision to stop this bill before it becomes law and take the time to consult with disabled Canadians living in poverty, such as those of us currently pleading with you to stop this bill.
sb. smith (she/they) is a queer crip writer, editor, artist, and cat lover living on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land (known as Vancouver, British Columbia). She is editor of Disabled Voices Anthology (Rebel Mountain Press 2020), and their work has been published in Maclean’s, antilang, Rooted in Rights, Portal, Sad Girl Review, The Navigator, and more. Visit sb-smith.com to view her work.