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The Toronto Star finds death in a hopeful place
Op-ed 'empaths' and DEI zealots have helped transform the MAiD slippery slope into an Olympic ski jump. The battle to save lives from an over-indulgent assisted suicide program begins.
Dale: What are you doing?!?
Brennan: I'm burying you.
Dale: [crying] I'm alive Brennan, I'm alive.
Brennan: You're waking the neighbours! Shut up!
Step Brothers (2008)
Where to even begin with the worst Canadian op-ed of 2023?
First, let it be said that’s no small feat in a country that employs Gary Mason, Heather Mallick, sports writer turned epidemiologist Bruce Arthur, and Susan Delacourt.
But let’s forget the preamble. For the uninitiated, it’s probably best to get the hard part out of the way first: the actual column itself.
If MAiD had been extended to people with mental disorders just a few years ago, my sick friend Carrie might be dead right now.
But she’s not. She got better. Her medical condition is in remission. She clawed herself out of the mania of her mind and she’s working her way back to living her best life. She’s grateful to feel the sun on her face, blessed to sense the ground beneath her feet, lucky to have survived.
But if her psychosis were to recur, and MAiD became available to Carrie, she would unequivocally exercise her right to a medically assisted death.
And because I’ve witnessed her suffering firsthand, this time I think I would drive her.
In ‘Anyone whose life is intolerable should have the right to a medically assisted death,’ Samantha Israel leaves the reader on such a baffling note that at first glance it comes across as the kind of non-sequitur that should have been caught by an editor.
The author’s real-life friend (appearing under a pseudonymous name for privacy reasons) had the distinct misfortune of experiencing the depths of depression and psychosis, two conditions that can co-occur more often than you’d think. But she got better.
In the case of depression, it has never been more treatable, and indeed overcomeable, based on the right mix of healthy living, improvements to one’s environment and/or financial situation, the appropriate therapy (be it cognitive-behavioural, or of the Freudian ‘talk therapy’ variety), or the right balance of pharmaceutical intervention.
Even in cases of psychosis, the far more troubling of the two conditions cited in the piece, 75% are able to live a normal life (Yale), even in cases where it reoccurs over time.
And yet, after seemingly making the triumphant case for buying your mentally ill friends time, and caring and supporting them enough to know that MAiD cannot be the answer in cases of treatable and curable mental illness, the representative from The Star takes a hard left turn befitting a Formula One chicane, where others would normally be expected to bring the proceedings to a gradual and unremarkable stop.
She got better. She’s a member of that both unlucky and lucky 75%. And if Canada’s now-delayed MAiD expansion for mental illness (and literal confused youngsters…) had existed back then, she might not be here for The Star to mangle that story.
The Toronto Star taking the wrong lessons from the lived experiences of non-Rosedale-dwellers is nothing new — but advocacy on behalf of self-indulgent designer liberal suicide is certainly a fresh take from a tired rag. One might call it, euthan-caucasia.
And while the subject should be no laughing matter, the absurdity of it all brings a certain scene from Step Brothers to mind.
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Friend of the Substack (!) Rupa Subramanya’s reporting on Canada’s perilous foray into state-sanctioned suicide remains the gold standard for a compassionate, unflinching glimpse into the business of the great beyond, and those who are buying and selling.
In a column that sticks with you for months on end, Subramanya lays the whole program bare, and lets you in on a dynamic that will continue to develop in the years to come.
There are desperate and disconsolate applicants:
“I was actually very looking forward to ending my pain and suffering.”
Aghast parents and loved ones:
“Can you F….. believe it!!! The doctor literlly has given him the gun to kill himself.”
The administering medical providers who may or may not be going through the motions:
“You have to be over 18. You have to have an OHIP card. You have to have suffering that cannot be remediated or treated in some way that’s acceptable to you.”
Mental health experts who see the treacherous path that’s been laid out before us:
“Some of them will mean it, some of them won’t. And we won’t necessarily be able to discern who is who.”
And, perhaps saddest of all, those who will see it as just making good business sense:
“The perverse disincentive that exists for administrators and governments with providing MAiD rather than care and resources to live can present a real danger to the lives of vulnerable or marginalized persons.”
Bruce Arthur’s colleague appears to have never read ‘Scheduled to die,’ for if she had, perhaps her sawed-off shotgun blast approach to suicide-for-anything-deemed-intolerable would have led to ditching that final unconscionable paragraph, let alone a re-write.
With The Star piece coming on the heels of Canada’s dotish and unserious Attorney General announcing that aforementioned one-year pause to an expanded rollout for any/all mental illness — as they are almost all allowed to be defined in the eye of the beholder — it should be noted for the great cosmic record that Subramanya’s reporting may have helped save thousands of lives.
Because “some of them will mean it, some of them won’t.” For the tens of thousands annually who are now accessing the program for debilitating pain and terminal illness, the majority most certainly mean it.
Tragically, these are not instances out of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, wherein as the train barrels down towards her, regret strikes, and much too late at that.
“Suddenly the darkness that covered everything for her broke and life rose up before her momentarily with all its bright past joys. … She was horrified at what she was doing.”
But in the case of a temporary state of psychosis, or the pits of depression, or in the instance of a gender-bending and hyper-hormonal teenager who still needs time to work it out, time is indeed the most precious of commodities.
World-class reporting, heartbroken loved ones, and the finest mental health experts have bought our still-treatable and curable a year. Now, it falls to the will of the masses to make that pause permanent.
In the meantime, a word of advice: if you find yourself not at your best, and a Toronto Star columnist offers you a ride, take the bus.
If you find yourself thinking of suicide: call 1.833.456.4566. to reach crisis service personnel in Canada, or dial 988 in the United States.