Webcast Archive: No Free Choice – Tommy Sec

This week: we look at why MAiD is not a “free” choice for Tommy Sec, and Jonathan Marchand examines “disabilities week” against the background of MAiD and COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not present our webcast, due to technical problems caused by heavy internet usage. However we are providing the text as a bulletin to offer up-to-date information about assisted suicide, euthanasia and ending-of-life practices for the disability community.


  • To Phat “Tommy” Sec has been trying for several years to get out of a Toronto nursing home and into an apartment of his own. He has a condition that causes tumours to grow in his nervous system, resulting in hearing loss and paralysis. After a 2014 operation to remove one of these tumours, Mr. Sec’s condition was complicated by a stroke. 
  • Though he has been approved for medical assistance in dying (MAiD), he’s been told he will have to wait years to qualify for an accessible apartment and personal assistance services to enable him to live in the community. That’s no free choice.


  • Jonathan Marchand is the president of Coop ASSIST and lives in a long-term care facility in Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, outside Québec City. Though he has committed no crime, he is not free to live elsewhere, because he needs help with activities of daily living; which the province will only provide in an institution.  Canada is required to provide community living options under article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities, yet the supply is insufficient to meet the need.
  • Mr. Marchand has been speaking out and writing on the situation of disabled people in long-term care for many years, and has been especially vocal about the dangers of long-term care during the COVID-19 crisis.  We are reprinting Mr. Marchand’s facebook post from June 2, for national AccessAbility Week, as a way to amplify his voice (at least . 
  • “People with Disabilities WeekAm I dreaming? Did [Premier Legault] acknowledge our existence at the last press conference? Please confirm this for me, because I no longer follow the press briefings, it disgusts me too much.
  • “Let’s talk about the CAQ [Coalition Avenir Québec] government’s disastrous record on disability. After being elected, there was hope in the community of people with disabilities. But we were disappointed rather quickly.
  • “This government got elected by instrumentalizing people with disabilities, seniors and caregivers. They even recruited candidates to represent “us” in their government, Ms. Blais [minister for seniors and informal caregivers] and Ms. Picard [Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Social Services].
  • “Informal caregiversfamilies of adults with disabilities were “forgotten” in the last budget even though the government had committed to support them. You see, it’s always very complicated when it’s time to support people with disabilities and their families. Why is that? Because the CAQ sees this support as an “expense” and “charity”, give them a few crumbs so they’ll shut the hell up! Even if this attitude has nothing to do with reality: it’s an economically responsible investment. And guaranteeing respect for our charters of rights is essential for a healthy society. But what can we do? We’re a nuisance to them.
  • “Medical assistance in dyingQuebec refused to appeal the Truchon-Gladu decision, yet it would have been important for everyone to have clarification and a final judgment. Jean Truchon recently [chose euthanasia] because he was a prisoner in his long-term care home and was afraid (with good reason) of the Coronavirus. COVID-19 entered his nursing home and wreaked havoc. Ms. McCann even tried to quietly extend MAiD to people with mental health conditions, but had to back down quickly in the face of everyone’s outrage. Too bad, that would have saved a lot of cash, wouldn’t it?
  • “Triage of the uselessAn “expert” committee has put in place a protocol to prevent people with disabilities from accessing care if the hospital system becomes overburdened during the pandemic. I and many others would be denied care because of our disabilities. The CAQ has tried by all means to hide the protocol which is highly discriminatory. A second wave is coming, the government is refusing to inform the public about this protocol, you or one of your loved ones could be refused treatment. A government with nothing to hide would be transparent. They don’t care about your rights and freedoms.
  • “Representation of people with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisisLionel Carmant [minister for health and social services] and the OPHQ [office for people with disabilities in Québec] do not want to create a committee so that people with disabilities, who are directly concerned, can participate and contribute to the crisis management. However, such a committee has been created at the federal level. In Quebec, things are managed as usual where we are left out of the decision-making process and remain invisible. The United Nations called on all states to consult us, and the Canadian government reiterated its commitment to respect the human rights of persons with disabilities. In Quebec? Shut your mouth, go back under your rock, we’ll take good care of you.
  • “Home supportThe CAQ has put almost all its eggs in one basket: nursing homes. They have no plan, no vision for home support. They talk about “saving as many lives as possible” but continue to pile people at risk in long-term care centres when the vast majority could live at home. The 3,000 places freed up in long-term care centres will be repopulated with fresh bodies. And meanwhile, the very fragmented and fragile home support network is being left behind. Can we really count on this government to reform our system? With their approach, they are putting on band-aids left and right and we are going from crisis to crisis.
  • “Nursing homes and long-term care centres for the disabled$2.6 billion to renovate 25 long-term care centres and add 2,600 beds. 600 places will be created for people like me. I don’t care for your utopian nightmare! I’m not going to move out of my ghetto to live in another ghetto. That’s 600 million that could have been used to innovate and make it possible for people with disabilities to live in the community. At a time when Quebec is facing a cataclysmic crisis in [long-term care] and the house is on fire, they are expanding and renovating.
  • “Dear Quebecers, it is your national duty to go and die in long-term care centres, either from COVID or from negligence, violence and abuse at the hands of the Quebec government. There is no question of you having the choice of where or how you are going to live. Papa Legault and Mama Blais will lock you up in their medical-industrial nightmare, Mama Blais will send you clowns to entertain you, you are going to be so happy!