In this episode of Euthanasia & Disability, Amy Hasbrouck and Christian Debray discuss:
- Their speech for the demonstration on June 1st
- Disabled activists protest the film “Me Before You”
Please note that this text is only a script and that our webcast contains additional commentary.
SPEECH FOR JUNE 1
- Parliament was in recess this week, so there was no action on Bill C-14. MPs are expected to approve the assisted suicide law early next week, and send it to the senate, which is debating a similar bill.
- Ultimately, the two bills will have to be reconciled; there’s little hope that the law will be adopted in time for the June 6 deadline.
- On June 1, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and other groups are sponsoring a rally on Parliament Hill from noon to 1:30 p.m. The goal of the protest is to voice opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia, and to call on Parliament to ensure protections for vulnerable persons in any law regulating the practice. Following is a speech Amy Hasbrouck will deliver at the rally.
- TVNDY is affiliated with the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, which has been fighting for disability rights for 40 years. CCD, along with other disability rights groups intervened in the Carter case to oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia.
- We intervened because there can be no free choice to die while people with disabilities don’t have a free choice in where and how they live, and because any law that makes disability the first eligibility criterion for assisted suicide and euthanasia is discriminatory.
- We intervened because steering suicidal people without disabilities to suicide prevention services, while disabled people who want to die are helped to do so, is also discriminatory.
- We intervened because we know that safeguards don’t work in the places where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal.
- We intervened for a lot of reasons, and we lost. So now we have our work cut out for us.
- The first job is to make sure the law regulating assisted suicide and euthanasia is tight enough to prevent the worst abuses that go on in other jurisdictions.
- That means providing vulnerability assessments to identify and protect people who might be induced to commit suicide because of their circumstances.
- It means guaranteeing effective palliative care to every Canadian, not just the 30% who now have access to it.
- It means providing home access modifications and personal assistance services to enable people with disabilities to live in their homes with real autonomy rather than be forced into institutions.
- It means having an arm’s length review of all eligibility determinations for assisted suicide and euthanasia.
- Our second challenge will be to track the damage to individuals and Canadian society as euthanasia and assisted suicide are practiced. We will need to document what happens to Canadians and their families when safeguards fail.
- Finally, we will need to fight against expansion of the law. Already there is talk of extending assisted suicide and euthanasia to children and people with dementia. But we also need to guard against the unofficial extension of the practice – imposition of DNRs and the Life Ending Acts Without Explicit Requests – and the idea that life with a disability is a fate worse than death.
- The struggle must now enter a new and more difficult phase, a phase of vigilance and resistance. We cannot abandon disabled people to the subtle and not-so-subtle pressures of the back wards, where the only viable choice appears to be death. We must continue to fight for ASSISTANCE TO LIVE, NOT TO DIE.
DISABLED ACTIVISTS PROTEST “ME BEFORE YOU”
- In the run-up to the opening of the film “Me Before You,” disability activists are characterizing the movie as a “disability snuff film.”
- Activists from the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere have flooded social media with commentaries on the film.
- At a twitter event featuring one of the film’s Co-stars, Sam Claflin, activists bombarded Claflin with questions about a non-disabled actor portraying a disabled person, and the effect of his character’s suicide on real disabled people.
- In addition, members of Not Dead Yet UK attended the London premier, chanting and handing out flyers to fans and those on the red carpet as well. NDY members held a large banner and offered chants such as “assistance to live, not to die,” and “rights not tragedy” while the film’s cast and creators posed for pictures and signed autographs.
- The London protest drew coverage from the mainstream press, bringing the debate beyond social media. Activists are preparing for more protests on the film’s opening day, June 3.
ANNOUNCEMENT: JUNE 1 RALLY SPONSORED BY THE EUTHANASIA PREVENTION COALITION
- In conjunction with the June 1 rally, a bus will be taking people from Montréal to Ottawa. A $20 dollar donation is requested to cover the cost of the bus, which leaves Outremont station at 8:30 a.m. and returns at 5:30 p.m. To reserve a place, call 438-931-1233.
- For more information about the rally, contact EPC at 1-877-439-3348 (English only) or Living With Dignity at 438-931-1233