Legal, yes, but not safe and rare

The latest figures for euthanasia deaths in Canada have just been published. Allowing for some deficiencies in the data, an astonishing 1.12% of deaths are attributable to what the Canadians call "Medical Aid in Dying" (MAiD). I say "astonishing" because, like many others, I thought that euthanasia would be "safe, legal and rare". Instead, between one in a hundred and one in fifty people die at the hands of a doctor. 

The Ministry of Health explains that "The percentage of deaths ... continues to remain within the percentage of medically assisted deaths provided in other countries where 0.4% (Oregon, USA, 2017) to 4% (Netherlands, 2017) of total deaths has been attributed to a medically assisted death". Somehow this is meant to be reassuring, but comparing two figures which differ by a factor of ten and relate to two different practices (assisted suicide and euthanasia) is meaningless. 

What should alarm all Canadians is that in a mere two years since legalisation, euthanasia has become so widespread. Is it going to stop at 4%? There's no reason to say that it will. 


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