Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thinkpiece


            The current situation allowing people to be killed by their doctors in Canada is showing its ideological contradictions. We have seen how a nurse euthanized eight of her patients and is now in jail. We have also seen how a mother of a disabled daughter was offered euthanasia in front of the daughter – even though the daughter was capable of making her own decision and request.

            The demand of the doctor in Newfoundland to kill his patient is not abnormal, by the way. It’s the way euthanasia is supposed to work. The reason is that we have seen how the disabled community has warned that they are the canaries in the coal mine on the issue. How we disabled people are treated is how the rest of Canada’s citizens are going to be treated.

            We have the Wettlaufer case, where that nurse had euthanized eight of her patients. I say this because there is no resultant difference in the act. Had she not confessed at CAMH, we would not have known about the killings.

            We have the case of Charlie Gard, the infant who became a political prize in a professional fight between his doctors (care team) and his parents. Surprise! We learn that he could have benefitted from treatment five months ago, but this was refused. Charlie won’t even be allowed to die with dignity: he won’t be at home in a peaceful environment, he will be in a hospice where the nurses there will kill him by removing his ventilator.

            The reason the judge refused to release Charlie home, by the way, is so the medical machine can keep control over the information that gets out. We won’t see public pictures of Charlie, showing his moments, which is presumably what they fear since they are hiding something.

            Then we have the case of Candace, the 25 year old disabled woman whose mother was told to euthanize her. I am putting it in these terms because of what the doctor has said. In theory in Canada, euthanasia is supposed to be done to the person who has demanded it. The doctor is not to suggest it, apparently.

            But this is what happened, and so we can see that the safeguard of a patient’s own request has already been vaulted over as if it didn’t matter. So if this is the case, then what other safeguards will fall? We might not be allowed to know.

            The safeguard of immanent death has also been glossed over. We have two people who demanded death for their mental health issues and their disabilities. In addition, I have seen articles that show how euthanasia is being considered for those who have dementia. So the safeguard of immanent death was a sop to keep the objectors quiet and those who thought they were neutral disarmed.

            Now that we have euthanasia, those who have social power over the disabled are going to use it for social and economic control. An article in the spring of 2017 argued that there were cost savings ($139 million Canadian) to be found each year. Given that the budget for medical care is in the billions, I would consider that article to be a probing piece to find out if ‘the public is ready to accept euthanasia for economic reasons’ yet.

            That’s another issue: we see these little steps taken, as if the euthanasia enthusiasts are testing the alarm mechanism of society. No response? Great, let’s take another step. Oops, there’s a blowback, we’ll keep quiet for now and try again. That ideological action structure shows how there is a plan in place to enforce euthanasia, after the citizens have been softened up sufficiently. I was at a protest where a euthanasia enthusiast said to me that they were going to introduce euthanasia for children after it was legalized “…but you don’t say anything about that.”

            This is the insidious nature of the act: once it is done here, it can be done there, and the results don’t really matter, as long as the target isn’t suffering. In fact, I would argue that it’s not the person suffering who is the object of the narratives, it’s the person observing the suffering who wants the other dead. That is dehumanization of the worst kind: it reduces a human being to one abnormal aspect of their life, and that aspect can be fixed by proper, basic, humane care that does not eliminate the suffering as the ultimate act.

            Human lives are at stake, yours and mine. For now, we have an open discussion. There will come a time when you won’t be allowed to speak against it. That day is coming. Decide now if you’re going to go with the flow, because the euthanasia enthusasts won’t give you a choice later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In which an outrage is presented

            In my posts, I pointed out that there were serious social issues not solved before euthanasia was legally permitted in Canada, and that euthanasia would not eliminate those problems once it was introduced.

            There is a situation where a doctor is finding that his patient’s access to euthanasia has been blocked by a mother who refuses access to her terminally ill, suffering daughter. The doctor cannot fulfil his wish of ending the daughter’s suffering because of this shot-blocking. Even a nurse agrees that the daughter is costing the system enough money. The daughter is also an adult.

            That’s the spin.

            That’s how the euthanasia enthusiasts will spin the story.

            What happened was this:

            A mother of a disabled young woman, who requires intense support and care, was approached apparently in November of  last year, and offered euthanasia for her daughter. This was said by the doctor in the daughter’s hearing. The daughter Candace has “spina bifida, cerebral palsy and chronic seizure disorder” according to the article.

            :…last November a doctor in St Anthony suggested she (the mother) should consider assisted suicide for Candace.” The mother considers this mistreatment.  Further “….a docrot told her (the mother) that her daughter was dying and that she had the option to end her life if she wanted.” According to Candace’ mom: “His words were ‘assisted suicide was legal in Canada’ …I was shocked, and said ‘well I’m really not interested’ and he told me I was being selfish.”

            The reason why the doctor said Candace was dying was not investigated by the journalist reporting on the story. We are also assured that “…Candace was within earshot of the conversation – which she said was quite traumatic for her to hear.” So we have someone else, observing, imposing the decision on someone else. Candace was erased from the conversation and treated as chattels for the purpose of medical intimidation.

            That action, the doctor imposing his morals on the mother to kill the daughter, is the essence of dehumanization. And the first step in being able to kill another human being is to dehumanize. The trauma of the announcement of death as appropriate is also glossed over in the article.

            We then learn in the article that ‘After talking with some social workers, Elson (the mother) was told she wouldn’t be able to make a decision on ending the daughter’s life, even if she wanted to.”  Note how this is supposed to make everything palatable in the organizational context. Also notice the last five words: even if she wanted to. This suggests that the mother should want to kill her daughter, and that such a choice  is understandable in the context of the story and the daughter’s situation. Then the journalist notes:  “The decision would have to be made by Candace herself, who is capable of verbally communicating.” (My emphasis.)

            The question now becomes, why was Canace not asked herself? Because the doctor was biased against Candace as a human being independent of her diagnosis. By asking the mother, Candace was assumed, and treated as, incompetent. That lack of interaction is not only dehumanizing, but it is patronizing and disrespectful. The attitude of the doctor must therefore be biased against disabled people generally, and Candace in particular. It is comforting, however, to know that the social workers clarified the issue for Candace’ mother.

Disturbingly, “Elson (the mother) said the incident is just the most recent example of mistreatment she’s experienced from Labrador-Grenfell Health. In one example, she said a nurse referred to her daughter as a ‘frequent flyer’ at the hospital – which she feels is insensitive to say about someone with so many health issues.” That tells us the organization is biased against people with disabilities.

Critical Questions

            The questions must be asked of this situation. First, what would have happened if the doctor had approached Candace without her mother there? Would Candace have said yes, and why?

            Second, what is physically stopping the doctor (or the nurse in question) from killing Candace when her mother was not around? There is nothing stopping this act – which is why disabled people in care are more vulnerable than those without disabilities in care.

            Why is this not being given as an example of a disability hate crime? The doctor clearly imposed his morals on Candace mother. Why do we not know the name of the doctor? What does this person have to hide?

            Why was Candace described as dying in November 2016, when she is alive eight or so months later? Did the doctor make a mistake? And if so, did the doctor use the offer of assisted dying as a way to cover up other mistakes? (I know this is a stretch, but still…)

            After Candace’ mom demanded answers, she got an offer from the hospital to ‘discuss’ the matter. She said, “I didn’t want another family going through what we went through. People like her are being mistreated, and enough is enough”…”I’m not going to let them walk over her and mistreat her anymore.”

            One element is missing from this story: Candace herself. She is questioned in a video which is attached to the story, but that questioning takes less than a minute. We do not know, other than her being traumatized, what Candace thinks of her experience with medical discrimination. Therefore, for the purpose of this narrative, Candace is disenfranchised, disempowered, dehumanized and nearly erased. It is imperative that the journalist speak to Candace and get her detailed side of the story.

            Those who are against medically imposed death should be arguing against this, using it as a proof that what was warned about: coercion and discrimination – has come to pass. The most disturbing question for me is this: had the Candace been killed, would we have heard anything about this story? Or would her death been used as a proof that ‘everything was fine’ when it comes to doctors imposing death on their patients?

            For all the complaining that approving journalists did before we had legalization, and how much whinging they did about what an injustice imposed suffering was, we expect to hear just as detailed and mournful pieces about how disabled people are experiencing coercive discrimination in medical care in Canada. After all, that’s only fair for medical equality, Right?

            As I say, disabled human lives are at stake, yours and mine. You can’t afford to approve of medically imposed death if you disapprove of the way Candace and her mom were treated. Because if you remain silent, you approve of the doctor’s demand and the nurses’ opinion.

 

SOURCE: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/doctor-suggested-assisted-suicide-daughter-mother-elson-1.4218669

Monday, July 18, 2016

Death by the numbers, eh? A Canadian euthanasia tally and small analysis.


Death by the numbers: the preliminary estimates of euthanasia numbers in Canada, as of July 17, 2016.

I.
I am a sociologist.  I have worked in the field since 1994 in small, community based organizations with very focused mission profiles and I have taken care to observe what happens in those groups to understand those dynamics.  In those positions, I have used what I learned at university to move forward the goals of whatever group I found myself involved with. 
Given that I am a sociologist in the field, I am also a bit of a numbers geek.  So I was interested when there was an article in the Toronto Star of Sunday, July 17, 2016 entitled, ‘Provinces vary on access to assisted dying.’  The article has a data box itself entitled, ‘Doctor assisted death cases in Canada’.  From that box we are given the following figures:
 
Table 1: raw data number killed/number of requests by province.
BC  Ab     Sask  Man   Ont   Que                Newf  NB   NS         
1     9/25  1/3    5/35   18      166/254 [1]  0/1      0      Won't
                                                                                             release
                                                                                             data

In two cases, we have provinces that have refused to reveal how many people have requested death or have been killed, and that is British Columbia and Nova Scotia.  That this information would be hidden from the Canadian public in those provinces should worry us because it removes the possibility of public comment or oversight from the view of the public.
The information can be misleading: in the case of Quebec, they have had medically imposed death since about halfway through December in 2015.  This means they do have a higher number than the Canadian average, so their numbers skew the overall average in Canada. 
Despite the supposed oversight, we have 200 deaths in Canada total since either December 2015 or June 6, 2016.  Another caution is that these are the deaths that we know about, or are allowed to know about.  By definition, therefore, we must assume the numbers are inaccurate, so we are taking estimates.
Whether they reflect actual deaths is another matter completely.[2]
What is worrisome is that some provinces refuse to release the data on how many deaths have happened.  For example, BC has had one death and one request where the person changed their mind.  Ontario was surprising: in my data, which I will admit is gleaned from the newspapers, 18 deaths was higher than I knew about.  Quebec’s number of 166 is much higher than was expected.
The problem is that we have provinces refusing to release their data, as in BC and Nova Scotia.  This is an issue of public health and so the public has a right to know what has happened to the money allocated to these examples of human experimentation.  If the procedure has not been tried before in a regime, by definition of its novelty, it is an experiment, and the context of medical care, which is the frame of reference for this issue, then we are looking at terminal human experimentation in action.

This works out to 200 people killed in a medical context in Canada.  If we assume that this is correct, then the following table shows the raw numbers and their expression of proportion:

Table 2. Number of days and resulting proportion of deaths per day in Canada.

Since December 2015                     Since June 6, 2016, including to date
Total number of days: 203            Total number of days: 41
Average deaths per day: 0.98     Average deaths per day: 4.8

These are the totals for all provinces, including Quebec, which as we have said, skews the numbers.  It increases the average deaths per day in Canada since June 6.  If we remove the 166 deaths in Quebec, then we see that we have 34 deaths total.  This means we have had 34 deaths in 41 days.  That works out to 0.8 deaths per day.
With Quebec numbers: 166 deaths over 203 days works out to 0.8 deaths per day.  Obviously this is not physically accurate, but it does show us the rate of death per day.[3]  Oddly, this works out to the same rate of deaths in one province as versus the rest of Canada.

II.
If the personal is political, and people are being killed in health contexts with public funds – I am not na├»ve enough to think that doctors who kill would refuse to get pay for their act of killing – then we need to understand personally how this might impact us.  We cannot assume we are told the total number of deaths; we cannot also assume the numbers are accurate.
It would be interesting to see if StatsCan provides the annual averages of death overall; somehow I am not optimistic that we, the Canadian public, will be allowed to know this information (for reasons of confidentiality).  I do not have information about what deaths happened in what hospitals in Quebec, although I understand that data is available.
There are some concerns with these numbers: they are not official, as said before.  We do not know their accuracy.  We also see that they are perhaps lower than the overall number of deaths, and this is worrisome because it gives the illusion that everything is under control and we cannot make that conclusion.  Remember, these numbers only reflect the deaths the Canadian public is allowed to know about.
It would be interesting to me, as a sociologist, to find out the gender proportions in these numbers; I would also be interested in learning the ages and the educational levels of these victims.  In addition, I would like to know the illnesses that led to the requests and resultant deaths.  Knowing this information would allow us to accurately know those who are being targeted for death – and perhaps if there were biases toward disability or definition. Knowing that information, however, depends upon knowing accurate numbers.
Yet, if the numbers are massaged and we as the Canadian public are not allowed to know how many people have died in a medical context, then we are at risk of euthanasia being used in Canada for either eugenic or political goals.  Recall that Denmark has made a policy decision they are to be Down Syndrome free in 2016.  What is to stop the government from making certain demands that result in emphasis on medically provided death versus the more costly medical care?  We have already seen patients in Ontario being refused care defined as expensive, remember Madi Vanstone and Kalydeco?
Information, in order to protect Canada's vulnerable citizens, must be accurately and clearly provided.  I am not convinced we have accurate information in this instance, and so I am suspicious – as we all should be of a government that permits the killing of its citizens, for whatever publicly stated reason.  Ontario has had its share of public corruption of late, and Ontario’s citizens are suffering as a result.  It’s too easy to hide an ulterior economic, political or eugenic motive inside a casket when its occupant cannot dispute what others say happened to place them there.
More research is obviously called for, and we must be on alert for new numbers if and as they become available.  I will write another piece linked to this analysing the implications as I think of them, but that is for another time.

Endnotes:
[1] There were 87 refused requests for death in Quebec and that is included in the total number of these requests.  One of those requests refused resulted in a death as the person starved himself into being eligible and was euthanized as a result.  We do not know why people were refused from the source article.
[2] For instance, there was one death in London, Ontario the week before Easter 2016 at a hospital in that city; it never made the papers.
[3] I am assuming here that the deaths started on December 10, 2015.

Appendix:
Raw data taken from Toronto Star as source, Sunday July 17, 2016, A3, ‘Provinces vary on access to assisted dying.’

Alberta   9/25
Ontario 18
BC refuses to release info: 1
Saskatchewan   1/3
Manitoba            5/35
Quebec                166 to June 30/254 requests/87 refused/changed mind
PEI                          0
Nova Scotia        refuses to release info
New Brunswick 0
Newfoundland 0/1 request but died before procedure
Nunavut/Yukon ‘N/A’
NWT                      0

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A response to Mark Bonokoski's column.

A Response to Mark Bonokoski: euthanasia is not the answer to the problem of a loved one not dying.

Mark Bonokoski’s March 27, 2016 Toronto Sun column ‘Doctors are already killing us, just not humanely’ about his dying mother and her treatment holds numerous errors and misdirections about palliative care.  In fact, it seems as though his column is nothing more than a projection of his feelings onto his mother’s treatment at the end of her life, but he does not allow for this possibility.

The headline is the starting point: Doctors are already killing us, just not humanely.  The implication will therefore be that there is a more humane way to ‘kill’ someone by its own words.

‘But he ignored the fact that medically assisted death is already happening across the country’,

Bonokoski writes of Archbishop Collins’ statement against euthanasia.  If this is true that ‘assisted death is already happening’, then there are two conclusions we must reach.
Bonokoski ignores 1. That killing might be a crime and 2. Ignores the known statistics on problems from Holland.

To continue ‘…the form it (palliative care) now takes is nothing but inhumane’, Bonokoski writes.  So palliative care, which is what Bonokoski writes about is, therefore, inhumane.  The question raised is why this should be defined as such.  As we shall see, Bonokoski conflates medically assisted death with terminal sedation.

Bonokoski alleges that his mother was ‘…denied fluids and intravenous sustenance.’
If this is the case, was this not abuse in practice and what did he do about it to stop abuse from happening?  We do not know, because Bonokoski does not say.  And as a family member, why does he not say anything to the caregivers about this situation?  Remember, he uses the word ‘denied’ in this context, which tells us that the decision to deny sustenance was not the family’s choice.
‘As a family, we had no options.’  This is his assertion; we are not given much detail about the issue, and we are not told what he did to ensure those options would be known.

He asserts that his mother ‘…had suffered a major stroke… that left her in a coma.’  As a result ‘…. she was sedated with morphine.’  If his mother was in a coma, why was she needing sedation with morphine?  If a person is in a coma, they are classically presumed as dead for all intents and purposes.  As well, if she was in a coma, how did he know she would have been physically uncomfortable if she was non responsive?

‘The doctors and the nurses who attended to her palliative care could have sped up the process, of course…’ Why the ‘of course’ in this sentence?  This happened before March, so if her death was imposed by Bonokoski’s demand, they could not ‘have upped the morphine to the point of overdose’ in any legal fashion.  In this phrase, Bonokoski shows how he is projecting his pain back onto his mother.  Remember, his mother was in a coma, so by definition of popular wisdom, she was not feeling anything.  If this is so, how much awareness of the situation did his mother have?

‘I sensed from hallway conversations that they would have helped nudge her along…’  This is what he is writing about his mother.

‘It would have been the humane thing to do in such a hopeless situation…’  Bonokoski writes.  Presumably, his dying mother was in palliative care, being treated humanely (she was one of the 30% of Canadians who actually get palliative care) but he wanted her killed faster.  No word on if she was dying from the stroke he described initially, either.  Palliative care is therefore presented in this column as the inhumane option which creates suffering, not alleviate suffering.

‘At the hospital where Mother spent her last week, we were assured she was oblivious to everything, including our presence at her bedside...’  If this is the case, and they chose to be at her bedside, we know by these words that Bonokoski is projecting his emotional response onto the situation.  He earlier writes ‘…her spirit had already departed and the wait was now on for her body to follow suit.’  This raises another question: how do we know this?  There was no objective measure of this situation.  

We are not told what the palliative care doctors or nurses actually said or did with his mother, or what they said to the family, so we do not have their side of the story.

Disturbingly, Bonokoski writes, ‘Had we been given the option of a quicker end for Mother, we would have signed off on it in a second.’  So the person who is in a coma, who cannot be reached, doped on morphine and therefore cannot be suffering, is in need of death decided upon by someone else.  He then argues that medically imposed death should be given as an option to those who are in coma.

Just to give the game away about Bonokoski’s view on the issue, ‘It will get messy, of course, when it delves into hastened deaths involving the mentally ill and minors.’  We can conclude the writer of this column approves of killing the mentally ill without boundaries, and also approves of killing minors.

He does not go into reasons, so presumably there is no boundary on why they need death or objections to their desires.

He finishes off with ‘If denying water and sustenance to a comatose patient is not killing them, then what is?’

In this one question he has illustrated why people should stick to what they know.  There is the theory of the double effect; that giving someone medication to help their pain and suffering, does not actually create a desire to kill.  Bono has said that he wanted his mother to die, if you remember what he wrote earlier.  He also shows us that he did not get adequate support when his mother was dying.

We are not told why it was decided to starve his mother to death, and why this was done.  We do not know what the options to care were, and who was involved in care as part of the team.  These are important things to know, but we are not given that information.  So Bonokosky writes about his direct experience with no theory, arguing all the while that it would probably be more convenient to kill his mother than wait.  He calls her starvation and dehydration inhumane and the answer to this is not treatment or ongoing care but, rather, a faster kill.  He also calls for the death of people who are mentally ill and for minors, and presumably for mentally ill minors.

What he does not discuss in this column, which is based on emotionalism and not rationality, is the trouble caused in Holland and Belgium.  He does not give us real-world bias, discrimination and steering vulnerable people face, although it seems as though his family was steered in care if we are to judge by the tone of his writing.  He does not write of those cases where people are treated or ignored, like the case out of Winnipeg a few years back.  So what we have is a column based on his projection of his wishes on what he thinks should have happened to his mother based on his imagination of her suffering, which he had no means of verifying.

To conclude, this was a propaganda piece for euthanasia enthusiasts’ clubs and a call for death on demand without explanation, apology and for any reason of the observer.  Issues of disabled people being steered and treated badly was ignored too; so was the notion that the treatment itself could have been different.  The only options we were told about was his mother living in a coma (despite her being 90 years of age) and her being killed.  Long-term care was never discussed.  We are also not told what hospital this takes place at, nor are we told what the palliative team was like.  We must conclude that this was propaganda of the worst kind as it projects the writer’s emotions onto the readers, and ignores real world options and the possibility that his experience could be unique, which is a poor place to start a social revolution.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The silence after the law is passed: July 14, 2016

Since the euthanasia bill has been turned into law, those on the left who think this is a good idea have been strangely silent.  There was a clamour almost incessant about needing death on demand for any reason without explanation, regular as a drumbeat, and now that we ‘have’ a law…silence.  This tells me that the vocal supporters were enthused about death as a good idea, but that they don’t care now that the law is there.

They wanted the law for its own sake in existence, and nothing else.  I can say this with a certain assurance because the parallel demand for a nationalized system of palliative care has been rendered invisible. 

This is strange.  If there is a lower number of people taking euthanasia as opposed to those who vocally support the act, then does this not suggest that the majority of the pro-eut sheep are following a fad?

This is the problem, however, because it suggests that the majority of silent supporters are just that: supporters.  Yet this is not clearly so, because those who are silent may be silent from other causes.  Those who are pro-euthanasia can only say of those they define as supporters conclusively is that there are a lot of people who are silent on the issue.

Which is not the same thing as supporting an issue.  But when the idea of palliative care is raised, as it was when I was present at a meeting January 19th of 2016 about euthanasia in Canada, palliative care is top of mind in the situation.  Yet we do not have palliative care in this nation.

What palliative care we do have is fragmented and regionalized.  We do not have a national system.  Personally, I think it should remain private as if palliative care were made a public good at this point we would find that hospice and palliative workers would be forced to accept medically imposed death under their roof.

Palliative care professionals decry this move: palliative care does not include killing patients.  

The opposing voice says that you have to kill, or leave the profession.  If people who care about their patients are forced to leave because they do not want to be forced to kill, then we have already had freedom of conscience curtailed in practice in Canada.

So one person’s freedom in action: that they can kill themselves in a medical setting, or have someone else kill them, or have someone else kill their family member is used to stop others from exercising a greater freedom, that they be able to choose not to participate in any way in medically imposed death.

Even worse, those who now say that they are against killing will be pressured into leaving their professions – or remain silent.  And silence equals consent.  Not only this, but people who are against killing vulnerable patients, whether they are at the end of their lives or are chronically ill, have been defined in a recent Maclean’s article as violent before any violence has ever happened. 

So we are seeing the rise of a new ideology in action.  This ideology therefore says, in part, those who are against this ideology and its imposition are going to be violent; that those opponents will be selfish; that they are all religious whether they are so or not; that reality is wrong when it shows that those who are disabled are vulnerable.  If this is all the case, then we will find that the battle lines will be drawn between those who are ‘progressive’ and in favour of killing the disabled, and those who are ‘dictatorial’ and are against killing the vulnerable at any stage of life.

My suggestion is that we need to oppose this ideology in whatever way is appropriate to its propagation where we find it in the social life.  we need to change the discussion, to force the pro-euts to show their work, to have them answer the hard questions – and take responsibility for those answers.

I was at a meeting recently wherein I asked a question of the panellists: I would like to know, since you are religious leaders, and therefore concerned with justice, how you intend to support those of us who are disabled and therefore in danger of being unjustly killed, giving us a voice since we have been silenced by pro euthanasia activists.  Further, I’d have a two part question to those who are pro euthanasia in this meeting: first question, how many people have you helped die, and second question, why not? But I digress, my question to you, the panellists, is how you will actively support us in getting our voice and protecting us from being medically killed because of someone else’s misguided thought that we are better dead than disabled.

If we do not ask the hard questions, and demand answers, record those answers and immediately call pro euts out on their changes in premise on their propaganda, we are giving them a free ride.  We have already seen that there is confusion, if not disinformation around the imposition of Bill C-14 on Canadians.  We have seen how there have been contradictory stories in the press (I am working on analysing the newspapers around this time as I write this piece).  

This disinformation creates a social problem: it means that when analysts are trying to understand the events and arguments, there is information that must be considered – and then discarded.

And all this works to ‘strengthen’ the pro-eut position.  Instead of arguing their points, piece by piece and demanding answers, resources must be used to break through other arguments before we can get to the foundational aspects of this ideology.  Consider that we have the Canadian numbers of euthanasia deaths in Quebec finally made public.

Except that they aren’t.  StatsCan has no interest in the figures, as we can’t find them there.  
Quebec has had, according to a recent report in Le Devoir and publicized by Toujours Vivant/Not Dead Yet that 166 people have been killed since December 2015.  The trouble is that in looking over the report, despite the notion that there is more raw data available, we cannot find the raw data itself.

The killings are presented by the hospitals which did the killings.  That means the information has already been vetted before the fact.  We have to trust that the hospitals are telling us the whole truth, even aside that they are telling the truth at all.  But, if this is the material with which we have to work, then those statistics must be monitored closely and carefully.

This is the current situation in which we find ourselves.  This is as of July 14 2016.  Things can’t possibly get worse, can they?  There is a fast answer to that question, it’s just that the silent observers don’t want to know.  Someone said that it was a curse to live in interesting times...

Maclean's article analysis, completed.

Written June 11, 2016 blog post.

Macleans, that otherwise liberal magazine when it comes to killing the dying and disabled, has an editorial scolding Parliament for not standing up for itself.  This is in the June 20, 2016 issue on page 5 should you care to find it.

The argument is that Parliament could have used the notwithstanding clause. They chose not to do this.  (EPC and its supporters and allies were pushing for this as of late last year, in 2015) 

The federal Liberals greatly accelerated the legislative schedule and warned darkly of chaos if it wasn’t passed in time.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s flying elbow was an outward sign of his impatience in trying to get the House of Commons to abide by the court’s timeline. 
Warned darkly of chaos…so in other words, we had to make a decision on medical killing now (usually because unfortunate people were suffering, according to the euthanasia enthusiasts) or people would be left in pain. The ethical construct that people being well cared for would have pain properly managed was never discussed, of course.  That’s a real world problem and therefore means that real world suffering can be solved. 
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s flying elbow…he physically assaulted members of parliament – his government – to push his law through on someone else’s say-so.  Yet he has had no legal sanction against this action – and there should be.
So if the Prime Minister, no less a person, can physically assault someone to push the ‘debate’ through the House, how much more likely is it that a patient will be coerced, since they have no social power whatsoever when they are dependent upon nurses and nurse practitioners for care?
We have already heard of nurses who abused their patients in the US, in Italy and in England, so how much more likely is it to happen here?  In short, if coercion is used in the House, coercion will be used on doctors and nurses, and by extension on families and on patients.  We live in a rules-abiding, do it or else culture now, and this is one manifestation of that problem.

The real concern is not that Parliament missed a court-appointed deadline, but why it should be considered necessary for Parliament to dance to the Supreme Court’s tune in the first place.

Because people have gone to the Courts to get their way when Parliament won’t pass laws.  We have also seen rights tribunals making decisions on social actions that otherwise in history would have been a private matter.  So we are seeing the imposition of rules on Parliament, curtailing their political power, and the threat that the SCOC will use that power again in the future, say in the instance of bestiality…

So this was inevitable, and the Parliament – elected officials, for what it’s worth – are left powerless.

Assisted dying is one of the most controversial and widely debated topics of our generation, entailing many serious moral and practical issues.

It’s not a controversy, depending upon who you talk to.  Everyone is suffering, or could be suffering, so everyone should be equally vulnerable to be killed on someone else’s say-so. (This is because social events do not take place in isolation, either from their social context or from the influence of other members of the social cohort).  It has hardly been debated in the proper way, given the Royal 
Commission ignored the real-world effects euthanasia has had on places where it has been imposed.
So we can hardly have had a debate if we have missing information.  We can likewise hardly have a debate if those who are going to be impacted – the disabled who are vulnerable persons – are ignored and denied access to that debate, or worse, if they are allowed to show up are defined away as tokens for their effort.

The many serious moral and practical issues are set up and demolished by those with an interest in killing as a rhetorical flourish.  It is widely known that the ‘only’ opposition to euthanasia is religious, regardless of whether it is religious or not – and there are cogent arguments against killing the vulnerable which do not involve religion whatsoever.  However, because the position is opposed, it must be religious…

...whatever result Parliament finally produces carries the unmistakable stamp of democratic deliberation.

Yet we have not had democratic deliberation: we had Prime Minister Selfie attack parliamentarians and swear at them, and we had the Liberal government try to railroad discussion by changing the rules in mid-debate!  What sort of democratic deliberation is that?

If the public disapproves of the outcome, they can have their say in four years or less.  Yet this time honoured process has been perverted in the case of assisted dying.

Yet in four years’ time, we will have had people killed, and those same Courts and Parliamentarians will have pushed through the addition of minors, the mentally ill and those with dementia into the net by alterations to the law based on ‘human rights’.  The trouble is though that no-one seems to want to put brakes on this issue probably because they are afraid of

The alleged urgency of passing C-14 is entirely arbitrary, and largely hypocritical.

Which is what the disability community has said, but who listens to them?

There are dire warnings that Parliament is in danger of being made irrelevant to the process of making laws.  It is also argued in the editorial that the Court should not be wagging the beaver.  Yet that is precisely what has happened. 

And the argument that the Parliament was threatened with chaos and that people would be suffering needlessly if the law was not passed is more than a little precious.  You see, the editorial, even in this cursory reading, has been incomplete.  They didn’t do their due journalistic diligence.

Palliative care, which most Canadians I have seen want, and demand, if the public statements and conversations I have had are any indicator.  I heard a year ago that 70% of people needing palliative care in Canada don’t even get the option.  And this was before euthanasia was made legal.

There is now therefore no incentive for the Canadian government to even do anything about palliative care at all: the cheaper option for the provinces is to offer death and death only.
As is now obvious, the shorter time frame was inappropriate and ill-advised.

And yet the public, which has been largely ignored and therefore silent on the matter, is defined as ‘wanting this option’!  It must be good to have such twenty twenty hindsight that you can state the obvious in such a way in an editorial in a national magazine.

We have to wonder if this editorial was just sitting in the wings, waiting to be trotted out as a ‘proof’ that Maclean’s did its due diligence, or if they just decided to notice the problems that those in the disability community have been warning of since before 2013.

I predict we will now see articles in the media showing how the death imposition process has ‘gone off the rails’ and how we need to reform it to make it ‘safer’, while at the same time the media flacks whistle past the graveyard over the issue of how we could have avoided the whole issue of medicalized killing by just saying no…

This propaganda piece shows that there is a behind the scenes set of assumptions at work in these issues.  We should be very careful about reading these pieces.  The propaganda and outright lies told in this article should cause an outrage – but it will not.  Saying that there ‘has been no violence’ subtly points the finger at people who oppose others putting patients to death.  Death cannot be met with death; this is an attempt to groom outsiders on the conditioned response: pro-life = violent and this is a fiction asserted, but not supported, by the writer of this Maclean’s article.  Even the title says it: the ‘new pro-choice’.  Yet this assumes that you will be given a choice in care.

It remains to be seen if patients are steered to death as a foregone conclusion, like Hassan Rassouli was and they attempted to do with Madi Vandstone.  It's early yet, but over the long term, the rhetoric of 'pro life' violence will be presented as an ogre more often, the more silent the silent majority gets.  Keep in mind that killing the dying is the first step, next will be the comatose, those in dementia, then the mentally ill, then children, and those who have misgivings will just have to remain silent, or risk being branded the new terrorists.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Blog post: the new rules

Rules for the imposition of death: an ideological solidification.

ABSTRACT: the following piece is an analysis of the imposition of medical death in Canada circa 2016.  It goes point by point as a structure, with analysis before and after.

The following is a distillation of my observations made at gatherings of euthanasia enthusiasts, both
informal and at their clubs.  I noted recurring themes in the structure of their arguments and tried to itemize the elements as I encountered them.  What I have not done here is put them together in a flowchart structure; I am more interested in outlining the elements as I encountered them on their own.  Put together, we can see that there is a potential structured flow to the discussion.  The outcome of that flow is to make an opponent silent and invisible; it is also to ensure that those who are on the fence remain there.  In addition, the arguments are designed to emotionally drive observers to one accepted outcome: that death must be demanded for all who might want, or be defined as needing death.

What we are seeing therefore is the reification of an ideology which some twenty five years ago was an interesting series of philosophical arguments.  The troubles started when people started deciding that acting on these ivory-tower notions would be good in practice.  The reality of unintended consequences have been well-documented, but ignored.

In no particular order, I have clustered my observations in the following points.

Anyone against PAD has no right to speak
Anyone against medically provided death working in that sector must remain silent or leave
Issues or problems must be pushed up the chain of command
Issues or problems must not be discussed in public

People who oppose aid in dying are defined as too close to the situation to be objective

Anyone opposed to mercy killing must be either
o Religious or
o Cruel

Examples in favour of assisted suicide given prior to legal approval are
o Ideologically driven
o Hypothetical
o Fantasies
o Unquestionable

Real world examples offered as criticism are dismissed as
o Unsubstantiated or
o Anecdotal

Solid citations are dismissed as
o Ideologically driven against the euthanasia position
o Incomplete and needing other research
o Not appropriate to the specific Western regime where euthanasia will be imposed

History and historical examples are not allowed to intrude on the ideology
o Historical situations of abuse are ignored
o The mention of Germany 1920-1945 is defined as off-limits

These are the rules as I have been able to determine them based on observations and readings.  Since this is a theoretical reading (we have not had real-world examples codified in Canada yet), we must also demand real-world examples.  There must also be a mechanism found which defuses the arguments cited above.

The overall conclusion I can reach on reading about the subject is that arguments for medically imposed death are theoretical to the extreme.  The real world examples are forbidden in the creation of the death culture ideology.  As well, opponents are forbidden from speaking by being conveniently pre-defined and isolated.

There is another worrying issue: the fact that the cause of death as euthanasia is hidden; the underlying disease as cause of death is the only admission allowed.  This is precisely what happened in Nazi Germany.  The counter argument is that the Nazis were ideologically driven and had an agenda beyond the mere killing.  The notion that there could be an ideology beyond the killing in the twenty-first century era is not considered.

As an issue of public safety and oversight, this serious informational black hole should be enough for any thinking person to say no.  If we don’t know how many people are euthanized and by whom, how will we keep control over who dies?

The point is not that if we have these safeguards that they will be effective, but rather that the actions taken by euthanasia enthusiasts render every ideological construct irrelevant.  An ideological concept will not stop a physical act.  And the ideology says that criticism or resistance is forbidden and a lack of criticism is defined as a lack of problems and this is not the case.

Therefore, I predict it will only be a matter of time until those who are against euthanasia will find themselves physically and legally sanctioned to silence.  Once that happens, the killing of the disabled will be normalized to such an extent that the eugenic content of medical killing will be revealed as a virtue.

The difficulty to be overcome is that the ideology of death is based on bedrock selfishness, fantasy and fiction.  The emotionalism of an untrained imagination will always seem more powerful than the quiet lived reality of actual options to death.

However we can use the real world stories and events to show to those who might waver in their position that they are right to be doubtful of the promises of euthanasia enthusiasts.  The repeated denial and chosen social psychosis of those creating this ideology of death is a problem with which we should be deeply concerned.

One method of resistance is for those who are most vulnerable to claim and take their power; as well those who are responsible for killing the disabled should be named and shamed.  Those who are willing to kill should be named publicly and a body count kept of their exploits.  (In this way, it should be mentioned, that those who say that access to death is a problem can be pointed to the names list as a real-world reply.  This should obviate any need to have every doctor kill or refer.

As one friend said, ‘I want death when I want it; I don’t care what happens after I’m gone.’  If I may inject another final comment: euthanasia enthusiasts want, in the word of pro aborts, ‘death on demand for any reason without apology’.  It seems they will have their wish.  Whether they get their wish remains to be seen…

The theoretical ideology is that once we have medically provided death every other problem around death will either disappear or be solved, and that faith is the essence of magical thinking.  I think it can also be considered the essence of psychotic thinking.  The sad part is that we will not even have official oversight to see what problems arrive when we have death imposed; my guess is that everything will be considered more precious than a national secret, which means pro-death people have something to hide.