Canadian VA to struggling vets: Wanna kill yourself?
December 15, 2022
Canadian VA

Canadian Veteran Christine Gauthier prior to a 2016 Paralympic Games competition (Screenshot of YouTube video)

A disabled Canadian Army Veteran was offered euthanasia as a counter offer to her request — a chair lift for her home staircase.

Corporal Christine Gauthier, a disabled army veteran, phoned Veteran’s Affairs Canada (VAC) hoping to receive information about a new chair-lift. Instead, Gauthier was offered Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

Gauthier, 52, served in the Canadian military until 1989 when a training incident rendered her a paraplegic with permanent damage to her knees and spine. Despite her injury, Gauthier continued to represent her country in the 2016 Paralympic Games and Prince Harry’s 2016 Invictus Games, taking home gold in Indoor Rowing and Heavyweight Powerlifting.

Currently, Gauthier can’t get around her own home, describing herself as “crawling down the stairs on [her] butt with the wheelchair in front of [her]”.

Since 2017, she has been in touch with the Canadian VA about installing a chair-lift to make her house more wheelchair accessible.

VAC works on a case by case basis, funded by the Canadian Government. They claim to offer “targeted services and benefits to improve your well-being”.

However, the Paralympian was left bewildered when her 5 year wait for a chair-lift culminated in a phone conversation with an advisor who told her “if you’re so desperate madam, we can offer you MAiD, medical assistance in dying.”

MAiD has been legal in Canada for terminally ill individuals since 2016. However, just last year the law changed to include people living with long-term disabilities.

Some critics have raised concerns that the lack of clarification around the new law leaves room for disabled people to be treated unfairly or even abused.

Since raising the issue with the Canadian Government, Gauthier has received apologies from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself, who deemed the comment as ‘absolutely unacceptable’.

Unfortunately, Gauthier isn’t the only veteran to have received such advice, with at least 5 other cases also reported to police. Officials claim a single employee, who has since been removed from their position, is responsible for all cases raised.

While Gauthier awaits the verdict on her lawsuit, she is left confused and disappointed with her treatment, lamenting: “I can’t believe that you will give me an injection to help me die, but you will not give me the tools I need to help me live”.

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