A Quebec doctor has directed a spotlight onto Canada's Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) program with his suggestion that infants under one year of age with "severe deformations" and "very grave and severe medical syndromes" should be eligible for assisted death.
In a video recording from an Oct. 7 MAID Special Joint Committee meeting, Dr. Louis Roy of the Quebec College of Physicians said that teenagers should be able to request assisted death, and babies who are born with "severe deformations" should also be considered for medical death "to ensure they do not suffer."
"Minors from 14 to 17 years of age, so nearly 18; the committee recommends, and the board of directors support as well, that these minors could, with their tutors or parents, make a request for MAID based on the level of persistent and intolerable suffering that they may experience and become unmanageable and senseless," said Roy.
"Same for babies from zero to one years of age who are born with severe deformations, very grave and severe medical syndromes, who's life expectancy and level of suffering are such that it would make sense to ensure that they do not suffer given that their possibility of surviving is basically nil," he continued.
"This is something that has been used in the Netherlands as an argument, and we can explore that option," the doctor added.
The clip, having made rounds on social media, sparked outrage from online critics as well as members of the MAID committee.
Conservative MP for St. Albert-Edmonton, Michael Cooper, denounced Roy's testimony, saying that he "was deeply disturbed" at the recommendation of MAID for infants who cannot consent to such a drastic procedure.
"It's completely wrong to suggest that MAID is appropriate for infants, which by law requires a willing patient," Cooper wrote on Twitter.
The morality of euthanasia, though legal in Canada for terminally ill adults since 2016, has been highly contested since an amendment was made to allow for assisted suicide in other instances, including people struggling with mental health. In 2021, Bill C-7 amended the original law, Bill C-14, to allow for medically assisted death. In 2021, more than 10,000 people died by euthanasia in the country, reported AP News.
The first MAID joint committee meeting was held to review the provisions of the Criminal Code with regards to the application of Bill C-7. Cooper was appointed to serve on the committee by the Conservative Party due to his extensive experience with the issue.
"I have been involved in sitting on the relevant committees at every stage in terms of all of the legislative steps that had been taken over the last six years," he said to St. Albert Today.
However, the MP is still a skeptic.
"What we see is a disturbing number in terms of Canadians who have accessed medical assistance in dying who never did receive access to palliative care," he said.
In August, the story of an armed forces veteran who sought help for his PTSD and traumatic brain injury made headlines when he was offered MAID by a Veterans Affairs Canada employee.
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