Webcast archive: Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

This week, we discuss the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention’s misguided stance on assisted suicide.

In this episode of Euthanasia & Disability, Amy Hasbrouck and Christian Debray discuss:

  • CASP declares that “medical aid in dying” is not suicide
  • The Global TV network will present a mini series entitled “Mary Kills People”

Please note that this text is only a script and that our webcast contains additional commentary.

CASP SAYS MEDICAL AID IN DYING IS NOT SUICIDE

  • The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has put a controversial statement on its website regarding “physician assisted death.”
  • The statement reads in part: “ CASP would like to remind everyone that we are not speaking about suicide when we talk about physician assisted death.”
  • CASP justifies this statement with a document and infographic from the Centre for Suicide Prevention, affiliated with the Canadian Mental Health Association.  The materials from the Centre for Suicide Prevention reflect the same inaccuracies and ignorance about assisted suicide as are circulated in the media at large.
  • For example, the infographic states that while “suicidal people do not actually want to die, they want the pain of living to end” people who want assisted suicide “want to hasten death” and “want the suffering in dying to end.”  This does not take into account that many people who ask for assisted suicide are not dying and are not in physical pain.
  • It’s worrying that mental health and suicide prevention organizations are spreading this kind of false information about this important topic.
  • Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet has written to the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention to ask it to remove the quoted comment from its website.  We will continue our outreach to the Centre for Suicide Prevention to try to improve their understanding of suicide and disabled people.

GLOBAL TV NETWORK PLANS MINI SERIES ENTITLED “MARY KILLS PEOPLE”

  • Global television has acquired the rights to a six-part dramatic series entitled “Mary Kills People” that is now in production
  • According to a July press release, “The series follows Dr. Mary Harris, a single mother and emergency doctor by day, who also moonlights as an underground angel of death — helping terminally ill patients who want to die and slip away on their own terms. So far Mary has managed to stay under the radar; but business is booming, and her double life is getting complicated.  When her world starts to unravel, Mary realizes she’s going to have to fight dirty if she’s going to stay in the killing game.”
  • If this series is anything like the usual media treatment of this issue, it will confuse the issues of disability and terminal illness.  It will also miss the social, economic, historical and discriminatory reasons behind assisted suicide, repeating the “better dead than disabled” message found in the recent film “Me Before You.”
  • Regardless of how the subject is treated, it’s hard to imagine that the network would pay for a series about someone who encouraged LGBT and First Nations people to kill themselves.  Why then, is it appropriate to have a dramatic series about someone killing ill and disabled people?
  • The Global network does not have a great record of sensitivity on this issue.  In 2012 it aired a segment on its 16×9 program about Annette Corriveau’s public call to have her two disabled children killed.  In that segment, Robert Latimer, the Saskatchewan farmer who was convicted of murdering his disabled daughter Tracy, was identified as a “right to die advocate.”  Following a complaint to the CRTC, Global re-aired the offending segment along with a debate on assisted suicide.  This debate was not included with the online version of the segment.
  • TVNDY has written to Global and its parent company Corus Entertainment expressing our grave concerns over this series and suggesting it should not be aired.  We’ll keep you up to date as this story develops.