Canadian Minister of Justice David Lametti recently provoked outrage among his country’s political and media class after he drew an equivalence between the so-called medical assistance in dying (MAID) policy and suicide. Speaking on a radio program, Lametti said that since certain people were going to commit suicide anyway, the government may as well ensure that it is done in a more “humane way.” Proponents of euthanasia protested that the equivalence was not only false, but insulting.

Yet the way the euthanasia regime in Canada is evolving would suggest that we are, in fact, heading toward a situation like the one Lametti suggested: that is, state-enabled at-will suicide.

MAID is already accessible in all provinces to those whose illnesses are considered terminal, but as of March 2023, it is also due to be available to those afflicted with “mental illness” as their sole underlying condition. Policymakers had already expanded MAID in 2021 to remove the requirement that individuals seeking euthanasia face a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death—meaning, in effect, that the illness need no longer be terminal. Additionally, the government is examining the expansion of MAID to “mature minors”: that is, children over the age of 12 who are deemed fit by medical professionals to make the decision to choose euthanasia. Access to euthanasia by minors already exists in other countries with euthanasia like the Netherlands and Belgium, so the arrival of this paradigm in Canada is very foreseeable.

Despite the visceral objections that these developments may provoke for some, few are mounting opposition to the expansion of eligibility for MAID. Embedded as it is in a widely accepted logic of personal autonomy, freedom, and “harm reduction,” euthanasia has become ideologically unassailable. More than 85 percent of Canadians approve of MAID, including the upcoming modifications to the law.

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