“It’s better than blowing your brains out against the wall.”
That’s what Okotoks, AB veteran Mark Meincke said Veterans Affairs Canada told another veteran about the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) program that offers euthanasia under another, more innocuous – some might even say glamorous – name.
The veterans’ activist is just one of the people interviewed by the trio of Andrew, Daniel and Matthew Kooman, who are producing a documentary entitled “MAiD in Canada.” The filmmakers have produced two episodes so far but have four more planned.
The second episode is entitled “Canada’s Heroes: Offered to Die” and details how the MAiD program is being offered to veterans who are asking for solace, comfort, benefits, or compensation from the federal government, but they are reportedly being told to seek death instead.
The episode debuted Friday, Apr. 21.
Canadian Forces veteran and Paralympian Christine Gauthier is also in the video. She is quoted as saying, “It is one thing to be suicidal and depressed and having to fight that on top of everything else. To have someone as you're battling this trying to fight this off every day. And you have somebody just coming to tell you, ‘You know if you're really that fed up and you really can't feel you can go on anymore, you know you have the right to die.’”
“I have a letter saying that if you're so desperate, we can offer you MAiD, medical assistance in dying. Like who gets to say whose life is valuable? And why do they get to say that somebody's staying on the ledge, do we push or pull because these are opposite things in our society that believes in both, right? Now what do we do?”
As the Kooman brothers point out, MAiD is making Canada a suicide destination. But that is just one of the chilling observations that this documentary explores. The program is now responsible for 3% of all deaths in Canada, an increase from 1.9% just three years ago. The latest numbers from 2022 have not yet been released.
That number increases to 11% on Vancouver Island, a favorite retirement locale for Canadians, but that figure could be as high as 15%, according to the documentary.
The program was slated to be expanded to the mentally ill and children this year but the Trudeau government has temporarily put the brakes on that notion – after increasing pushback in Canada’s independent media.
But Daniel Kooman said the government can turn things on again.
“It's a Catch-22 in a way because … the legislation says that there's nothing to stop it now from going through next year in March 2024 and that's incredibly frightening.”
He added that including mental health as a criterion for MAiD would make “every soul in Canada” eligible because everyone has suffered from a bout of depression at some time in his or her life.
In an exclusive interview with The Post Millennial, the Kooman brothers described their motivation for producing the film.
“I think just the shocking nature of the facts as they come out – as you get aware of what's happening – it's like, ‘Wait a sec, is that really true? [People say]’ Let’s look into this and then you go and find out … it's actually worse than you're being told: it goes deeper than that,” Matthew Kooman said.
When asked if the Liberal government has embraced a culture of death, Andrew Kooman responded, “Culture of death? Yeah … there's a lot of words I could use: shameful, heartbreaking [and] sobering … it seems culturally or that the government is saying it's natural, it's good, it's compassionate, it's dignifying. We’re trying to stop all other types of death but as MAiD climbs, we're sort of accepting it.”
Andrew pointed out that while the Liberals have paused the expansion of MAiD, they have also delayed a “988,” anti-suicide emergency hotline that might have assisted Canadians from not taking their lives.
“It's just an interesting delay … let’s take all these initiatives to remove the stigma of mental health, let's stop suicide at all costs, you can call in to get help at any time you're suicidal … and yet now we're going to offer doctor-assisted suicide across the country and expand it: it's just such a disconnect and super confusing. It's a mixed message that the government and medical professionals are sending across the country,” Andrew said.
He is concerned about “expanding the culture of death” in Canada by referring to suicide as assisted death because it doesn’t carry the impact of the former terminology.
The brothers said the MAiD program has become a source of “embarrassment” and “shame” for Canada.
“If other countries are going to fight to prohibit death but Canada is going to allow for it and broaden it, we're going to be a tourist destination for death. I mean we're already announcing that at a federal government level that this could be a tourist destination for death. It's in the language on the government's website,” said Daniel.
The filmmakers are optimistic that Canadians can end the euthanasia program.
“That's what this film ‘MAiD in Canada’ is all about. We want to empower people with information so they can look in the mirror and say, ‘Hey is this the kind of country and society that I want to be part of?’ – and if not stand up and do something,” Andrew told The Post Millennial.
“We've done it in the past as Canadians as part of our identity and we can do it again. We have a year, a critical year … where we can make a difference and I think Canadians will stand up because they have in the past.”
Daniel echoed that message:
“You know there's the parable that if a room is very dark but you light one candle it puts a lot of light into that room. You know a city on a hill can’t be hidden.”The series can be viewed – and financially supported – by going to UnveilTV.