"Dying in a hospital is not what's natural, that's not what's soft," are the words spoken by the now-deceased MAID patient "Jennyfer" at the start of the film.
What about this is natural?
The film was produced by the Toronto-based advertising agency Broken Heart Love Affair and shot along the beaches of Tofino, BC, in October.
"It's obviously not a commercial campaign," former CEO of Simons, and the man behind the film's concept, says in a short accompanying video justifying the campaign. "We sincerely believe that companies have a responsibility to participate in communities and to help build the communities that we want to live in tomorrow, and leave to our children."
Since becoming a legal procedure in 2016, medical assistance in dying (MAID) has become more widespread each year, and in 2021 accounted for almost 5 percent of deaths in Quebec, up from 2.4 percent in 2019.
Based on these statistics, it hardly seems like a procedure that needs promoting.
2021 was also the year that Canada opened up the medical procedure to people with non-terminal physical illnesses. Next year, it will open up to people with mental illnesses as well. Will that increased eligibility usher in another jump in the proportion of deaths by suicide?
The film is a beautifully shot collage of light, colors, nature, friendship, and puppetry, accompanied by the slogan "All Is Beauty."
There's also the aspect of having access to this much money to fund your death.
There are numerous stories of Canadians choosing to end their life because they can't afford their life.
A man in Ontario applied for MAID last month because he was about to lose his house and stated he would rather be dead than homeless.
A Toronto woman was approved for MAID because she couldn't find housing where she will not be exposed to cigarette smoke and air fresheners. She ultimately paused her application after an outpouring of support from strangers who read about her story.
There have also been cases of army vets having MAID suggested to them as an alternative to treating their PTSD or other war-related ailments.
Given how difficult (and expensive) it can be to access mental health support in Canada, opening up the eligibility next year to people with mental illnesses will surely exacerbate this problem. It's cheaper to kill someone than treat them properly.
Peter Simon says in his accompanying video that "we are a company that values community, connection, and compassion."
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