Statement on Bill C-7, An Act to Ammend MAID

My name is Gabrielle Peters.

I am disabled.

I am poor.

I am poor because I am disabled.

Picking who will be poor is a function of society.

Bootstrap is a lie.

I didn’t choose to be poor.

I was not given a choice.

Politicians say if disabled people don’t want to be poor we should get a job

Science-based physicians say that isn’t possible.

If the state offers me the choice to die but not the means to live, who is really making the decision?

I think this is where I am supposed to tell you my disability story – including the part where a healthcare professional sat at my beside and urged and then almost insisted I take her up on the consoling prospect of forever rest after my partner announced he was leaving me because I was too much of a burden and I no longer fit into the life he wanted.

My story is long and complicated but what matters most about my story when discussing policy is that my story is part of a larger story. My story is part of Canada’s story and this country’s story is part of mine.

Canada is racist.

Canada is ableist.

Canada is sexist.

Canada is no stranger to injustice.

Canadians live in poverty.

We can debate numbers and causes but not the existence of these things or their impact on individual humans and the choices they face or the way these will be woven into their stories.

This may come as a surprise given who we tend to see represented but not all disabled people are white or wealthy. The intersections of class, race, gender and other axis of oppression dramatically alter the lived experience of a disabled person in this country.

This is non-fiction. It is fact. It is what we need to discuss when we discuss Bill C-7.

The story supporting C-7 is fiction. Carefully branded, carefully crafted narrative. The state is not paying hospitals to euthanize, just to assist people to cease breathing.

Once upon a time

In a special land called MAID

Free spirits flit about

Unaffected by the humans around them

Unaffected by history

By policy

By codified isolation

By systemic discrimination

By multiple layers of oppression

By the indignity and violence of poverty

They are never blamed or shamed for their bodies or their minds

Never judged for their cost/benefit

Never told their needs are too difficult, too expensive, too much of a burden.

Never made to feel less human.

In this special land they get ONLY the

Best Care

That fits their needs

All bias and hate are poofed away by putting on a white coat

Inside a building in bubble topped by a halo

That is always fully funded

Where staff are always fully rested

And life is always as it should be

Policy should not be based on a fairy tale

So here’s my choice.

I pick liveable income. I pick fully funded supports. I pick free education. I pick truly affordable and genuinely accessible home and community. I pick living with dignity. When is that bill’s first reading?

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