By Jonathon Van Maren
In a society unmoored from moral absolutes, law frequently becomes a moral teacher. That is why we have seen practices and behaviors once opposed by solid majorities become accepted by equally large majorities almost overnight — because once the stigma of criminalization or legal restriction was removed, the public promptly adopted a new position. We are seeing this unfold in profoundly chilling ways with assisted suicide, which was legalized in Canada in 2016.
According to a new survey done by Research Co. between April 22 and 24 among 1,000 adults, Canadian attitudes toward assisted suicide are expanding with the boundaries of our euthanasia regime. Consider a few significant numbers.
27% believe that people should have access to euthanasia because they are poor — a number that rises to 41% among the 18 to 34 age group. A full 28% believe that Canadians should have access to euthanasia for homelessness. This means that a growing plurality of Canadians believe that killing poor and homeless citizens by lethal injection is morally acceptable, and perhaps even desirable — despite the obvious fact that Canadians opting for death in these circumstances are doing so in part due to economic coercion.
It is important to note, despite a conveyor belt of horror stories about the poor applying for assisted suicide, Canadians have clearly not been hearing what they are saying. They don’t want to die — they want to be able to live, as one MAiD applicant Les Landry told me. The Toronto Star referred to the Canadian status quo as “Hunger Games-style social Darwinism.” I suspect we haven’t seen anything yet.
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