(ZENIT News – International Family News / Quebec, 10.26.2023).- A renowned anti-euthanasia group has expressed grave concern over the commodification of euthanasia in Canada, particularly following reports of a Quebec funeral home charging $700 for a private space to carry out Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD). Mathieu Baker, owner of Complexe funeraire Haut-Richelieu, describes the service as respecting the personal nature of euthanasia, providing a non-hospital setting for the procedure. However, critics argue that such a service underlines the worrying reality of euthanasia becoming a profitable business in the country.
Euthanasia rates in Quebec have surged since its legalization in 2016, with the province now having the highest euthanasia rate in Canada. In the 2021-2022 period alone, there were 3,663 euthanasia cases reported, a stark increase from the 63 cases in 2016. The Quebec government has also reportedly spent close to $6 million on euthanasia procedures.
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, criticized the monetization of euthanasia, arguing that it not only offers healthcare facilities a way to save money but also provides funeral homes with an additional income stream. Schadenberg mentioned distressing accounts of individuals choosing to end their lives via euthanasia at the Quebec funeral home.
However, this business model has sparked controversy even within the funeral home’s family. The owner’s mother reportedly expressed strong disapproval of her son offering MAiD services within the family business. Sonia Belanger, Quebec’s minister responsible for seniors, also voiced concern over the monetization of MAiD, stressing the need to prioritize patients’ wishes over profit-making.
The expansion of euthanasia to those suffering from mental illness, initially slated to take effect in March, has been delayed until 2024 due to significant backlash. This delay came amidst numerous public scandals, including reports of veterans being offered the lethal procedure. Critics now hope that a change in government may prevent the expansion of euthanasia to those with mental illness from becoming law in 2024.