An Open Letter of Concern:
The flawed hearings into Quebec’s proposed Bill 52
(With thanks to Amy Hasbrouck, NDY Canada for inspiration)
I learned August 29, 2013, that the Quebec National Assembly (QNA) called a meeting about euthanasia being legalized in that province. The public meetings were invitation only, and only included those who were government approved service providers for disabled people. Disabled people themselves were not invited, and as of August 29, 2013, they had not been invited.
The take-away from this oversight is as follows. First, the disabled have no place as primary targets for euthanasia. Second, given that there is probably a cone of silence around this new legislation, those most affected are not allowed a voice or hearing in a supposedly democratic society. Nor will their views or opinions be heard or respected. Nor will details be shared until surprise! after the legislation is ratified. Third, this tells us that the QNA, which is in a minority position, does not feel that its position on euthanasia can withstand public scrutiny.
This is an interesting oversight, especially if it is true as is said that psychological suffering is a criterion for asking for euthanasia. Isn’t it widely known that those who are different, or disabled are continuously suffering because of their difference or disability? If this is the popular ideal, then why are those most suffering and therefore likely to benefit from debates on Bill 52, cut out of the discussion, if it is a positive thing for the disabled?
Unless the QNA has something to hide…like other things hidden in the proposed religious bill…but I digress…
In a democracy, that doesn’t seem likely, I mean, surely the government wouldn’t have made a mistake in their legislation, would they? A democratic government wouldn’t treat its people badly, would it?
I call on the QNA to do the right thing and allow the disabled and other marginalized groups a real say at the debates, pro or con, as the case may be. And then allow stakeholders and the disabled to have a voice in rejecting the legislation. In this way, we can see that there is nothing for the government to hide…and that the government can be trusted to respect its weakest citizens.
The government wouldn’t the fact that they will save money; or that the disabled and dying are targets of this legislation, not beneficiaries. It’s not like this could be passed by a minority government against the will of the people, if the people (and doctors) of Quebec don’t want it, right? Is it possible that the QNA could, as a minority government embroiled in scandal use this legislation as a deflector given their legal shenanigans of late? How many mayors has QC had? The Quebec government wouldn’t be that cynical to use a distraction of a vote to hide the corruption that goes on in their province, the way it’s portrayed in the Anglo media in the rest of the country, would they? Can a government be so cynical as to ram a bill down the throats of their population, ignoring their most vulnerable and silencing dissent en masse by Delphic manoeuvring? I don’t recall seeing that happen in the history of Canadian politics…
So the Bill 52 hearings are being used as a screen to distract the people from the corruption that apparently has happened. Its sudden-ness and inherent problems tell us that it is someone’s pet project and that there must be removal of this bill for the safety of all in Quebec, especially those who are marginalized: the elderly, poor, ill, disabled and different. Bill 52 proves that eugenic ideals are alive and well in Canada, and incubating in Quebec. I call on all media outlets and disability groups in Quebec, and Canada, to shine an honest light on this euthanasia bill before it costs lives and join me in declaring: Ms. Marois, tear up this Bill!
I apologize if I committed sociology or displayed my religion in this writing…
Adrian ‘Anglo’ Rhodes, (@flanoor)
Disability writer and activist,
Different since 1969, mad since 2004.
August 29, 2013