One day, John Priddle's Friedreich's ataxia will leave him feeling “trapped” inside his own body, unable to speak or move and plagued with chronic pain. He knows there’s no stopping his disorder from getting progressively worse, so for him, medical aid in dying (MAID) provides an option — a glimmer of hope and opportunity for control — in the midst of his uncontrollable situation.
- Email Your MP: Voice Your Choice against unfair assisted dying legislation
- Related: Alberta appeal court rebukes federal government for assisted dying approach
But Bill C-14 threatens to take away that hope, betraying the desires of Priddle and many other Canadians who wish to avoid this fate.
In a new must-see video, Priddle — the co-chair of Dying With Dignity Canada’s Victoria chapter and member of DWDC’s Disability Advisory Council — talks candidly to DWDC supporter Laura Phelps about that betrayal and the "insulting" Bill C-14, his condition and his vested interest in making sure advance requests for physician-assisted dying are allowed.
On what assisted dying means to him, he says, “If MAID is in place, I can at least exercise a little bit of control over the circumstances of my own dying. I can’t cheat my disease. I can’t stop it, but what I might be able to do is to have death on my terms, not on my disease’s terms.”
Priddle also holds no punches when he discusses the betrayal he felt when the Liberal government tabled its “badly flawed” assisted dying legislation, Bill C-14.
“Honestly, what are they thinking?" he asks about the federal government. "[Bill C-14] discriminates against people with disabilities and people like me who have disabling medical conditions, and even people who have competence-robbing diseases like dementia." He later adds that, by denying whole groups of Canadians from accessing assisted dying, Bill C-14 disrespects the autonomy and authority of these suffering individuals.
“MAID gives me the opportunity to live my life and live my dying in the same way,” Priddle says. “Throughout my life, I have been responsible and held accountable to the choices I’ve made, and all I want to do is to live my dying the same way. MAID could give me that, but Bill C-14 does not.”