I recently wrote about Canada’s euthanasia regime, which is set to expand in March 2024 when people with no more than a mental illness or a drug addiction will be given access to assisted suicide.
Tragically, since bans on the practice were lifted in 2016, over 30,000 Canadians have been euthanized—a number that is sure to balloon if Canada’s culture of death prevails.
In that article, I argued that the primary reason for euthanasia’s popularity north of the border is the slippery slope phenomenon. Once taboos vanish from something as dark as legalized lethal injection, any society will be left to search in vain for a limiting principle.
Simply put, if some people “deserve access” to death, why doesn’t everyone?
The reality of the slippery slope notwithstanding, there are other, more pragmatic, reasons that euthanasia is so in vogue in the land of poutine and hockey. Run a quick internet search for “Canada’s health care crisis” and you will quickly find out.
Perhaps most abreast of Canada’s Medicare crisis is Canadian public policy think tank the Fraser Institute.
In Waiting Your Turn, its 2022 report on wait times for health care in Canada, the Fraser Institute found that the average wait time for medically necessary treatment in Canada is about 192 days, or over half a year.
Canadians can expect to wait about 139 days for general surgery, about 339 days for orthopedic surgery, and an astounding 412 days for brain surgery.
Wait times in Canada are so dire that between 2019 and 2020, over 10,000 patients died while on a medical wait list, according to the government’s own data.
By contrast, if a Canadian applies for assisted suicide and their death is “reasonably foreseeable,” their life can be ended without delay. For those whose deaths are not “reasonably foreseeable,” a 90-day wait is still mandatory in most cases.
Not only is euthanasia much speedier than health care, it is also far cheaper.
In a separate study, the Fraser Institute found that the average Canadian family of four will pay around $17,000 for public health care insurance.
“Canadians often misunderstand the true cost of our public health care system,” the report’s summary explained. “This occurs partly because Canadians do not incur direct expenses for their use of health care, and partly because Canadians cannot readily determine the value of their contribution to public health care insurance.”
Paid via taxes, public health care insurance in Canada ranges in price from around $640 per year for low-income families up to approximately $44,300 for high-income earners, according to the study.
As reported by True North, the Fraser study also found that since 1997, “the cost of public health care insurance for the average Canadian family has increased by 223%, much faster than the cost of clothing (53%), food (100%), shelter (125%), and income (131%).”
With Canada’s health care system on life support and its euthanasia regime set to expand, author and journalist Sheila Gunn Reid has warned:
This really is the end stage of socialized medicine. The government is creating the suffering for so many of these people in Canada through their own ineptitude. But instead of doing a better job of alleviating people’s suffering, they tell us it’s our civic duty to drop dead and get out of a healthcare line-up.
Her words might be blunt, but their logic is tightly woven.
Canada provides a cautionary tale for the rest of the Western world: the slippery slope is real, and mere pragmatism must not be allowed to determine the value of life for a nation.
There are surely many solutions to Canada’s health care crisis, privatization not least among them. But at the very foundation is a recovery of the sanctity of life, which is the reason health care exists in the first place.
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