“We are following up with 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 (VAC), who are there to support those people who stepped up to serve their country, to offer them medical assistance in dying,” Trudeau added.
Lawrence MacAulay, minister of VAC, said before the same committee last week that four or five instances of veterans being offered assisted suicide as an option have occurred, cbc.ca reported. A VAC agent has been suspended in connection with those reports, cbc.ca reported.
It’s unclear whether the suspended agent was the same agent that Gauthier dealt with. MacAulay called on veterans who have experienced similar treatment to report it, the outlet reported.
Assisted suicide in Canada was federally legalized in 2016, according to the government’s annual report on the program. In 2021, 10,064 people died as a result, which accounted for more than 3% of deaths in the North American country.
Each year since its legalization, every Canadian province has seen a rise in assisted suicide, which is euphemistically coined “Medical Assistance in Dying.”
Since its legalization, almost 32,000 deaths have occurred through assisted suicide.
For those receiving assistance in suicide in 2021, 65.6% cited cancer as an underlying medical condition. Almost 19% cited cardiovascular conditions, with 12.4% citing chronic respiratory conditions. Over 12% cited neurological conditions. According to the report, 75% of the recipients cited one main underlying medical condition. The rest cited two or more.
In a Saturday column for the New York Times, Ross Douthat criticized Canada’s assisted suicide policy.
“It is not barbaric for the law to acknowledge hard choices in end-of-life care, about when to withdraw life support or how aggressively to manage agonizing pain,” he wrote.
“It is barbaric, however, to establish a bureaucratic system that offers death as a reliable treatment for suffering and enlists the healing profession in delivering this ‘cure.’ And while there may be worse evils ahead, this isn’t a slippery slope argument: When 10,000 people are availing themselves of your euthanasia system every year, you have already entered the dystopia,” he wrote.