NRL News

Joint Euthanasia of Canadian Elderly Couple: how the culture of death is normalized

by | Apr 3, 2018

By Wesley J. Smith


Canada is fast becoming the Niagara Falls of euthanasia, rushing to join the “infamous three” — the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium — by now permitting the joint euthanasia of elderly couples.

A Globe and Mail reporter interviewed the couple before they were put down, and the family was well aware of their plans. There were apparently no efforts at suicide prevention.

The first time the couple asked to be killed, their doctor — a pro-euthanasia advocate — approved both their deaths. But the second-opinion MD refused to certify because the husband did not have a diagnosed condition. So, the couple carried on for another year.

The next time they asked for joint euthanasia, the first doctor made sure that the required second opinion was made by a different doctor. From the Globe and Mail story:

The doctor who first assessed Mr. Brickenden for his eligibility in January, 2017 – the same doctor who would ultimately inject the lethal medications on the evening of his death – said that kind of stoicism and the fact that Mr. Brickenden still looked good at the time of his appointment may have played a role in his being turned down for an assisted death the first time.

More than a year later, after Mr. Brickenden’s fainting and heart problems surfaced, a different, second doctor assessed Mr. Brickenden and found him eligible.

I’ll bet the second doctor is known as pro-euthanasia too. Death-doctor shopping. If one MD won’t give you death, just find a different doctor who will. This happens in the U.S. too.

There was a time when the joint suicides of elderly people — technically, these were homicides — were deemed to be tragic, and families wracked their hearts wondering what could have been done to save them.

No longer. This joint killing was celebrated and romanticized with a going away party held by the family and supported by the local Anglican dean:

Two nights before their death, the Brickendens went out for one last date at Opus, their favourite restaurant in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood.

The next night, they bid farewell to more than 20 members of their immediate family at a bon voyage dinner at their daughter Pamela’s apartment.

The evening of their deaths was more intimate, Pamela, Angela and Saxe told me two days later. “It couldn’t have been a better way to go. Totally peaceful,” Angela said. “It allowed them to bow out gracefully together, as they lived.”

Present were Pamela, Saxe and Angela, their spouses, the two doctors and Andrew Asbil, the Dean of Toronto’s St. James Cathedral, who later told me he had “without hesitation” supported the couple’s wish for their funeral to be held at the Anglican church.

This is how the culture of death is normalized.

I have no reason to doubt this family loved their folks and think they were doing right by them. That’s part of the problem with euthanasia!


But anyone who doesn’t think that elderly euthanasia could also be coerced or arise out of fears of abandonment, doesn’t understand human nature or our elder-abuse crisis.

For those with eyes to see, let them see.

Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with permission.

Categories: Euthanasia