Life Issues

Canadian euthanasia doctor has killed hundreds.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sharon Kirkey wrote a pro-euthanasia / pro-Ellen Wiebe article that was published in the National Post on Saturday July 6. 

Kirkey, who has written many pro-euthanasia articles, attempts to fix the perception of Wiebe after she was seen laughing in the film Better off Dead? by disability activist / actress Liz Carr while discussing euthanasia.

Elmira Tanatarova reported for the Daily Mail on May 15 that many of the viewers of the Better off Dead? documentary were uneasy with Wiebe as she giggled when discussing the number of her euthanasia deaths.

When asked by Kirkey about the number of euthanasia deaths Wiebe responds:

“I know the exact number,” the Vancouver doctor said, “but I don’t want to do that, no. It’s become a weird thing, people talking about their numbers, or criticizing people who talk about their numbers.”

“Hundreds is good,” she said. About 430 as of May 2022 alone, as she then testified before a special parliamentary committee on medical assistance in dying, or MAID.

When asked about laughing on camera during the filming of Better off Dead? Kirkey writes:

Wiebe can seem “oddly cheerful” when discussing MAID, viewers of the BBC documentary remarked. She grinned at peculiar moments during an interview with National Post, laughing as she described how, when getting final consent on the day of death, “I come in and say, ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do today?’”

Laughter can be a response to emotionally uncomfortable situations, like talking about death, said Helen Long, CEO of Dying with Dignity Canada. “You suddenly realize what you’re in the middle of discussing.”

“Laughing often is just part of my personality,” Wiebe told National Post.

I personally speak cheerfully about my work with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition but I’m not killing people.

In response to her clients Kirkey reports Wiebe as stating:

“It’s hard to even be in the same room as somebody who’s suffering so severely,” Wiebe told the Post. “But then, of course, you know, I get to end that suffering, which is good.”

Wiebe misses the point. She is not ending suffering or even caring for the sufferer, she is killing the person.

Trudo Lemmens is bothered by the pseudo-spiritual language that euthanasia doctors apply to MAiD deaths. Kirkey reports:

But others like Trudo Lemmens are troubled by the small number of providers dominating the practice and the “pseudo-spiritual language” some use to describe doctor-administered death.

“When MAID was legalized, it was framed as a practice that was exceptionally required to ease the dying process or give some control at the end of life,” Lemmens, a University of Toronto professor of law and ethics, wrote in an email.

Christopher Lyon, whose father died by MAiD in Victoria BC also reponds to Kirkey:

Others like Christopher Lyon, a Canadian social scientist at the University of York in the U.K. have remarked that pleasure from euthanasia is deeply disquieting, “because death is usually a deeply painful or difficult moment for the patients and their loved ones.”

Lyon’s 77-year-old father died by MAID in a Victoria hospital room in 2021, over the family’s objections. (Wiebe was not the provider.) His father had bouts of depression and suicidal thinking, but was approved for MAID nonetheless. Lyon wonders what draws some providers to MAID “and what happens to a person when killing becomes a daily or weekly event.”

“Some providers have counts in the hundreds — this isn’t normal, for any occupation,” he said. “Even members of the military at war do not typically kill that frequently. I think that’s a question that we’ve not really ever asked.”

Kirkey responds to criticisms of Wiebe by interviewing Dr James Downer, who was a founding doctor of the Physicians Advisory Council for Dying with Dignity. Downer who is introduced as a Ottawa palliative care and critical care specialist reportedly states:

“It’s absolutely not a celebration of the act of ending someone’s life. It’s a reflection of the intense emotional bond you form with families and patients.”

Kirkey also obtains a comment from Helen Long, the CEO of Dying with Dignity who said:

She’s also “warm and funny,” blunt and straightforward, a straight-shooter with a determined streak,

Wiebe when asked about natural death reportedly states:

“I know what the ends are like, and I’m not interested in that,” she told National Post. MAID means people can “skip out when you’re still you,” she said.

Wiebe expects that the law will expand to include children and the incompetent. Kirkey writes:

She fully anticipates that MAID will be extended to mature minors. “I’ve always been assuming for eight years that a 17-year-old with terminal cancer is going to say, ‘I have the right,’ and of course any judge in the country will say, ‘Yes, you do.’”

She also expects some form of advance requests for MAID in cases of dementia, which would allow a person to make a written request for euthanasia that could be honoured later, even if they lose their capacity to make medical decisions for themselves. Support for advance requests is strong, according to polls. But if someone is unable to express how they’re feeling, who decides if they are suffering unbearably — and what if they changed their minds? MAID doctors may be asked to “provide” for someone they have not met before, and with whom they will not be able to communicate, Wiebe said.

“That’s going to be hard for us as providers,” she said.

“This will be a new challenge. And I’m up for challenges.”

Much of this interview confirms the concerns that Trudo Lemmens has that there are a few insiders that are controlling the euthanasia practise and narrative in Canada.

Clearly this article is designed to improve the perception of Wiebe after the Better off Dead? film shows a crass and scary nature to Wiebe.

But, it doesn’t matter where you stand on the issue, or on politics, Carr portrayed Wiebe for who she is in Better off Dead? Carr wasn’t staging the interview and she wasn’t using interviews with people who oppose euthanasia to make Wiebe look bad.

I will also challenge Sharon Kirkey who tries to sell herself as a neutral reporter. Clearly she tries to cover-up for the euthanasia lobby and seems committed to selling more euthanasia to Canadians

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