Original article (in Serbian) was published on 27/10/2023; Author: Marija Vučić
“Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s regime has announced plans to start euthanizing children with disabilities in order to combat the problems of overpopulation and climate change”, wrote the web portal Nulta tacka. While Canada does permit euthanasia as “medical assistance in dying,” one of the key conditions is that the individual must be of legal age and possess the capacity to make informed decisions. In a statement for AP, Canadian authorities have refuted claims of any intention to lower the minimum age for this practice, contrary to the allegations.
The original article published by Nulta tacka was sourced from the relatively obscure website Globalresearch.ca, which American authorities identified in 2020 as a platform for Russian propaganda due to its strong anti-Western bias. The site’s content is frequently echoed by various Russian and pro-Russian media. Based in Canada, it hosts a range of disinformation and conspiracy theories, spanning topics from the coronavirus pandemic to the existence of a clandestine world government manipulating public consciousness.
The supposed plan to euthanize children, attributed to the “regime” and “authorities,” lacks substantial evidence beyond the viewpoint of a local physician, Dr. Luis Rojo, expressed in October 2022. Dr. Rojo suggested the consideration of euthanasia for infants up to one year old born with severe deformities or syndromes significantly impeding their chances of survival and causing considerable suffering.
However, the stance of one individual in the medical community does not signify government policy. Notably, the Canadian Ministry of Health explicitly denied any proposal to lower the age limit for euthanasia in a statement to the AP in July.
Luis Rojo’s proposal sparked controversy in Canada. The then Minister for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, Karla Kvaltru, denounced the idea as unacceptable.
“I find that completely shocking and unacceptable. I would never support going down that road,” she said.
According to the website of the Canadian government, euthanasia, that is, medical assistance in dying (MAiD – Medical Assistance in Dying), has been allowed in Canada since 2016, but only under very specific circumstances.
These include the individual being of legal age, mentally capable of making decisions, and suffering from a serious or incurable illness causing unbearable physical pain that cannot be alleviated by any means. The request for euthanasia must be purely voluntary and free from any form of coercion. While physicians may suggest medical assistance in dying to seriously ill patients, the final decision must always come from the individual’s informed and voluntary consent.
According to a report from the Canadian Ministry of Health, over 13,000 people in Canada opted for euthanasia in 2022. The leading cause for this choice was cancer, with a majority of patients having received palliative care – special medical care for dying patients.