The Continuing War for Veterans

“The Causeway of Complacency is Full of Potholes that Are Empty of Compassion” – Terry Wiens (2022)

I am discovering people prefer “bite” size pieces of news. That is kind of sad since the complexity of so many issues get lost with only a bite. However this is one I can’t skip over. When a Canadian veteran, who survived a head injury while on combat duty goes to Veterans Affairs for help, the last thing he should have to deal with is the threat of “medically assisted death” casually referred to as MAID.

When you have given so much for your country the last thing you should have to battle is that government agency that is reportedly there to provide you guidance and assistance. MAID is not a solution to “clear up a back log of clients”, which is an easy way to interpret this story. Based on the Veteran Affairs own press release they are not there to promote assisted dying. The Global news report reads “Providing advice pertaining to medical assistance in dying is not a VAC service,” the statement reads, adding agency employees “have no mandate or role to recommend medical assistance in dying to veteran clients.” So why is a caseworker suggesting it.

In 2016 through to 2018 I sat on the Disability Advisory Committee for Dying With Dignity Canada so that proper representation was at least at the table. The decision to resort to MAID should be made in consult with the client and their doctor. Yes, as an aging polio survivor I have had that discussion with my doctor as an OPTION for the future, not as an ACTIONABLE process to allow governments to abandon their responsibilities to provide services that allow “living with dignity”. One of the things you learn quickly when living with a complex need issue is to understand your options for the future, not necessarily to act immediately on them.

Until you have sat at the bedside of an Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in the late stages of their disorder, drowning in the fluid filling their lungs, while physically unable to verbalize the discomfort, you have no understanding of what “dignity” is. We have become a society where we show more compassion for the comfort of our pets than we do our fellow citizen. To me, that is a situation where MAID is an act of compassion but compassion seems to be drying up in this new Canada of “what’s in it for me”.

When I reach that point where I become dependent on a system that is going to be changing my adult size diapers and leaving me tied in a geri-chair well than something like MAID may be an option. But when it is being offered as an alternative to “proper” treatment for a traumatic head injury it’s time we began looking at a form of MAID for a government system that is beyond resuscitation. Time to wake up Canada before all of the sands of compassion have drained out of the hour glass.

For some detail see This madness has to stop and this choice to be ignorant of the facts so you don’t have to deal with the guilt of reality has to change if we want Canada to continue being the proud, compassionate country we were.

Picture of Guy Fox mask with caption
Why is it so much easier to choose ignorance rather than accept fact…

That’s it for now but trust me I will continue to be that Jiminy Cricket reminding you of your conscience


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