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MAID is state-sanctioned ‘homicide’ and a ‘predatory regime’ against citizens, pro-life speaker says

Nearly 100 packed Church of Our Lady’s hall to hear Angelina Ireland, the executive director of The Delta Hospice Society in Delta, British Columbia, speak during Moose Jaw Right to Life’s annual banquet.
Angelina Ireland, the executive director of The Delta Hospice Society in Delta, British Columbia, speaks during the Moose Jaw Right to Life banquet. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

With medical assistance in dying (MAID) being “a predatory regime against the Canadian people” and state-sanctioned “homicide,” pro-life supporters must offer a more hopeful perspective, a palliative care advocate says. 

Angelina Ireland, the executive director of The Delta Hospice Society in Delta, British Columbia, was the guest speaker during Moose Jaw Right to Life’s annual banquet on April 12. Nearly 100 packed Church of Our Lady’s hall to hear her discuss euthanasia, its effects in Canada, and how they can support others facing end-of-life challenges.

Her theme was “Protecting each other from MAID.”

An expert’s perspective

Many people suggest — whether through the media or letters to the editor — that MAID is a “peaceful” procedure when it’s more like an execution, said Ireland.

She pointed to Dr. Joel Zivot, an expert in anesthesiology, pharmacology and critical care for over 25 years, who spoke to Canadian Senators in 2021 about assisted suicide and its negative effects.

Zivot became interested in executions by lethal injection of criminals in the United States and, after conducting research, found this method uses pentobarbital, which causes fluid buildup in the lungs. He said that “disturbing” autopsies revealed that prisoners drowned internally. 

“‘I would describe that experience … as more akin to death by waterboarding, which we recognize to be cruel,’” Ireland said while quoting Zivot. “‘When I looked at the method of dying by medical assistance in dying, the technique is striking similar.’”

What Zivot found “most distressing” is MAID uses a drug that paralyzes people, which he thought refuted the “peaceful” death claim, she added. Furthermore, he thought Canadians should know that MAID is different than what they’ve been told, and it could be “exceedingly painful and more akin to drowning.”

MAID in Canada

Ireland presented a history of MAID in Canada, starting with it becoming legal in June 2016 and amendments thereafter, opening it to more people. Further, these changes amended the Criminal Code so doctors and nurse practitioners could kill people by performing procedures or providing medication. 

“And a doctor or nurse practitioner will not be charged with murder because, actually, MAID is non-culpable homicide,” she said.

More than 45,000 Canadians “have been MAIDed” between 2016 and 2022, an annual rise of 30 per cent, she continued. Therefore, the number of MAID-related deaths last year likely jumped to over 62,000 people, which is more than the 42,000 Canadians killed during the Second World War.

Canada and California — with similar demographics and population size — both adopted MAID in 2016, but the number of people who have accessed euthanasia in each jurisdiction has been vastly different, Ireland said. 

In 2022, 853 Californias died by MAID, while 13,241 Canadians accessed assisted suicide, which is 15 times higher. 

“Why is that? Because I say, MAID is a predatory regime against the Canadian people. In fact, it’s fair to say that it’s an empire — Empire MAID versus … Team Life,” Ireland said, noting the empire is zealous, efficient, powerful, rich and a behemoth compared to the pro-life movement.

Empire MAID

She pointed out that many national organizations support MAID, such as:

  • Dying with Dignity Canada, a formidable lobbying group 
  • Health Canada, which is focused on expanding euthanasia, including to kids
  • The courts, which want to extend eligibility 
  • The Canadian Association of MAID Assessors and Providers, which has established guidelines about providing the procedure
  • MAIDHouse, a charity that wants euthanasia spaces in every province

“Anybody (and) everybody can be eligible for MAID … . Pretty much anybody interested in being MAIDed, they will find a way to MAID you,” added Ireland.

Team Life

Team Life is composed of groups that support options like palliative care, which is a holistic approach that reduces the severity of a disease or condition and helps patients live and live well, said Ireland.

Furthermore, this care can improve one’s quality of life, reduce or relieve symptoms, ensure patients have the information to make decisions, support people and their caregivers from diagnosis onward, and provide grief support.

Also, palliative care does not include euthanasia, nor does it use it as a tool.

Palliative care began in England before arriving in Canada, and before governments institutionalized health care in the 1960s, it was Christians and related groups that took care of the sick and dying, Ireland said. Also, Canada has been a leader in palliative care since then.

Fighting the behemoth

One group at the forefront of palliative care is the Delta Hospice Society (DHS), a private organization that has been operating for 30 years, said Ireland. In 2010, it opened its hospice centre after raising $8 million; the venue was considered the flagship of hospice care in Canada.

However, the Fraser Health Authority said it must offer MAID, and when DHS refused, the authority cancelled its contract and evicted the organization and its seven patients.

“They tried to force us to kill our patients because everybody that gets government money has to participate in euthanasia because euthanasia has become the king of all medical procedures,” Ireland said.

After that, the euthanasia activists came for the organization — it had $4 million in assets — to take over its board during an annual general meeting, she continued. While the society had 200 members pre-AGM, when that meeting arrived, 12,000 people had joined. 

DHS members fought for their organization, for life, for the ability to talk about palliative care and to remain in the public square to discuss MAID’s effect on Canada.

“And we won, we won,” said Ireland, noting members elected a board that was 75-per-cent pro-life.

DHS has created an advanced directive document, “Do Not Euthanize,” that people can sign, saying they don’t want MAID. It has also developed a program called “Guardian Angels,” where volunteers can visit patients in hospitals and care homes and ensure they have access to authentic care.

While it’s unlikely that Canada will ever eliminate MAID, the way to fight it is through a grassroots movement of committed pro-life people, said Ireland. Also, Team Life’s “secret weapon” is Jesus Christ, who will ensure eventual success, considering “every empire falls.”

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