A disabled and retired Canadian Army Corporal and former Paralympian Christian Gaultier testified on Thursday before Parliament that a caseworker from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) suggested she consider medically assisted suicide, otherwise known as death, instead of waiting for a wheelchair lift to be installed in her home.
Gauthier said she could not believe the VAC would "give me an injection to help me die, but you will not give me the tools I need to help me live," according to Global News.
Gauthier requested a chairlift from the VAC in 2017. Not having one "has isolated me greatly," she said, "because I have to crawl down my butt with the wheelchair in front of me to be able to access my house."
She kept up the requests to the VAC, until in 2019 Gauthier said her caseworker told her, "Madam, if you are really so desperate, we can give you medical assistance in dying now."
"It was really shocking to hear that kind of comment," Gauthier said.
MAiD became law in 2016 and was originally intended for those with terminal physical illnesses where death was a reasonable inevitability. In 2021 the government passed legislation amending the law to allow those with mental health issues to apply. In other words, if you're depressed enough to seek suicide, help with death may be provided.
People suffering pain who are not expected to die from it were invited to apply to MAiD as well. The changes took effect in March.
According to the Daily Mail, Canada's veterans affairs minister confirmed that at least four other Canadian vets were offered MAiD as a solution when all they were seeking were better ways of living with their disabilities and illnesses.
The VAC employee who spoke to Gauthier has not been named and is suspected of being responsible for pushing euthanasia on the other veterans.
Gauthier's condition was the result of a training accident while she was in the Army in 1989. The incident damaged her spine and knees. She competed as a canoeist, power-lifter, and indoor rower in both Prince Harry's 2016 Invictus Games and the 2016 Paralympic Games.
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