Moose Jaw: Banquet to feature speaker discussing drawbacks of MAID

With more Canadians ending their life with medical assistance in dying (MAID), Moose Jaw’s pro-life group hopes the featured speaker at its upcoming supper can offer a different message on end-of-life care.

The featured speaker for the April 12 banquet is Angelina Ireland, the executive director of The Delta Hospice Society in Delta, British Columbia. 

In 2013, Ireland became a client after being diagnosed with cancer. She later joined the board after her recovery, and in 2019, was elected president. On Feb. 1, 2024, she was named the executive director.

Besides focusing on palliative care, she will also discuss a documentary in which she appears, “The Story of Euthanasia.”

This organization was in the news several years ago because it refused to allow MAID — also known as euthanasia or assisted suicide — in the hospice building where it operated, prompting the Fraser Health Authority to terminate the contract and take control in 2021. 

Euthanasia is such a prevalent issue that MJRTL thought it would be a beneficial topic to feature as part of its overall pro-life focus, explained Jean Landry, board president. 

“We are choosing the other end of the spectrum for our banquet this year … ,” she remarked. “And I think it’s just good for people to hear some of the things she has to say.” 

Statistics Canada has tracked assisted suicide death statistics since 2016, with data showing:

•    2016: 1,015 deaths
•    2017: 2,833
•    2018: 4,467
•    2019: 5,631
•    2020: 7,595
•    2021: 10,064 
•    2022: 13,241
•    Total: 44,846

Ireland’s story is interesting because she experienced how the government forced assisted dying into a private care home, while she now focuses on giving people an opportunity to re-think such decisions, Landry said. Meanwhile, there has been a “huge push” by governments to force MAID into every care home and medical centre.

MAID is “very, very frightening” because there is more to it than people know, so MJRTL wants to educate residents about the other side because of how “glorified” it’s become, she continued. 

The term “MAID” glosses over what’s happening — what occurs is assisted suicide — and, because it’s become so common, it makes the outcome sound less serious and more acceptable, she stated. 

“There’s so many people — so many people — that are saying, ‘You know, this is the way to go. I want to control the end of my life,’” Landry said. “But it may not be as positive as they think.”

While some obituaries say people who chose MAID died peacefully, Ireland explains in the documentary that doctors first inject chemicals into people to paralyze their bodies, she continued. This prevents them from crying out if they are in pain or want to stop.

“We have no idea what’s going on in the person’s mind when this is happening … ,” Landry added. “Like (Ireland) says in her film, the death procedure is pretty terrifying.” 

Ireland’s goals are to travel across Canada telling her story and promote a project called the “Guardian Angels Initiative,” which aims to help ill and vulnerable Canadians have a personal advocate on their side to ensure the health system doesn’t steer them towards euthanasia.

The big problem in society is people are lonely and living on their own, which drives them to consider assisted suicide, said Landry. Therefore, society needs to reach these people and remind them that they are not alone — and don’t need MAID.
Landry added that the board would discuss bringing the documentary to Moose Jaw for wider viewing. 

Moose Jaw Right to Life’s (MJRTL) annual banquet occurs Friday, April 12 at Church of Our Lady on 566 Vaughan Street, with Charlotte’s Catering providing the food. Tickets are $25 each or $175 for a table of 8; doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner is at 6:30 p.m.

Anyone wanting tickets should call 306-694-4111.

More from 620 CKRM