Megan Linton Testimony Against MAiD expansion, November 18 2022
On November 18, Megan Linton, PhD Student, researcher, and team member at the Disability Justice Network of Ontario testified at the MAiD Committee against the expansion of Medical Assistance in Dying, at Parliament Hill. To date, she is one of only a handful of young people who have been brought into committee as a witness to discuss MAiD and its continued expansions.
Listen to this clip to hear what she had to say:
MAiD Brief Submission:
In addition to the above testimony, Megan also submitted a brief to members of the AMAD committee, which can be viewed here
"I research institutions for disabled people. An ongoing phenomenon stretching back more than a century and a half in Canada. As a result, I have sifted through hours of class action settlements, years of inquests, archives, interviews with survivors. All filled with the stories of death. of friends, roommates, and fellow inmates and disabled people who died by suicide, who hung themselves by the rafters or who died by suicide years after escaping the institution, though still haunted by their experiences inside it. For many years, these suicides were a catalyst for great social change, resulting in government commissions and inquiries into these deaths. Last week, Minister Lammeti expressed the intention of track two of MAiD as necessary because disabled people are unable to complete suicide.
For the last century and a half, disabled people have been trapped in institutions, away from their communities, reduced to a point of efficiency and mere practicality here in these institutions which were used as tools for eugenics removed disabled people from society and access to reproduction. Today, the same logic is maintained in institutions, where access to pleasure, leisure or pain management are seemingly non existent. Instead, these institutions like prisons long term care homes and psych institutions maintain conditions of neglect, isolation, and such disregard for individual autonomy that it produces depression and suicidality in people both inside the institution and those who fear it in their future. People are very fear in their discussions with me: they would rather die than live in an institution.
The view into institutions, no matter how murky, is a view into austerity. Privatization yielding bed sores, neglect, and forced feeding. We've had a view into the institutions where people use MAiD, like Chris Gladders in his retirement home before you passed track two changes (to MAiD). There, where feces stained the floor, instead of cleaning it up you made changes to expand track two.
And now, the deaths have become so frequent that we are haunted by the possibility of loss at all times. Disabled people are dying en masse in institutions they had been fighting to leave because of track two MAiD. These were beautiful lives and lives that as a disabled person...we look into the windows of these institutions and we fight for a way out for all of us. Not just for an individual, through an individual death. You ask us for the protections of disabled people. It is clear: track two MAiD must be ended. You look into these windows, smashed opened by dead bodies, and you see people suffering in conditions that you created, and instead of offering a solution, a help out the door through provisions of accessible housing, home care and pain management...you offer people death. Do not be mistaken: this provision of death for disabled people under track two MAiD is eugenics and must be repealed as soon as possible
We must look at the political economy and the timing of these decisions. Why now, with the increase of pandemics and incurable illnesses like COVID and Long COVID? Why now, with pandemic healthcare rationing, and with healthcare under the budget axe? The expansion of MAiD must be viewed within the context of the economic order with which we live under which is eviscerating the social contract by encouraging government to retreat from its responsibility to the public welfare, and instead kill us. You feel generous to provide mercy from the austerity which you designed. To all of you: disabled people do not need your help to die. You have been killing us for years. We need your help to get out of the institution which you trapped us in. The only safeguard for MAiD is foreseeable death"