Monique and I both live in Ontario, Canada, where there are new discussions happening both provincially and federally regarding “assisted suicide”, “death with dignity”, the right to die, and euthanasia (I may have missed a few other terms used).
We both have MCS/ES, and are confronted with systemic discrimination and barriers to access with almost every breath we take. Breathing is not optional. And we are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of us in Canada, and millions around the world.
Open letter in support of Euthanasia and Rights for those with diseases that defy accommodations
Guest Post by Monique
I Am Easy to Ignore
I am female
I am over 60
I am divorced and alone
I am a student
I have lower employability
I have invisible disability
I was abused
I have depression + ADD.
I do not feel strong
The biggest and most painful ordeal is people who lack the ability to reduce the perfumes they wear in public… who value their vanity above the good of others. I cannot exist without the kindness of strangers. I do not want to live without my Right to life-sustaining air. I do not want to explain why I cannot breathe your scents and subsist in the lifestyle you value and have grown attached to. I cannot live in your chemical soup.
I am a canary. I have MCS. Although canaries have saved many from disasters, their deaths are never celebrated. I feel like I will soon be sacrificed so that many will continue to breathe good quality air.
I would like to give a voice to those canaries. I’d like to call upon every canary on this planet to stand up and be counted. I want every canary not to die in vain.
I want every canary to die with dignity. I want every canary to have the right to euthanasia.
Because scents and chemicals are valued more than people’s lives, we have no rights. As of August 22, 2015, AODA does not guarantee our rights to a chemical/scent-free environment needed to live in either our private or public lives.
I have been unable to maintain employment, or be successful in pursuing an education because even though I paid for my education, my school could not support me in my need to study “scent-free”. And as of this moment I am only 94 hours short of graduating but I’ve been told to stay away because they are afraid of a mask I need to wear that allows me to breathe scented soaps I need to use on those I care for.
I was supposed to graduate with my class next week.
I was supposed to graduate with my daughter at the end of the month.
Instead, I wait for a decision that will be made without even speaking with me directly. A decision was to be made yesterday. I still have not heard from anyone. The Canary who does no harm to others will suffer her fate in silence like a caged animal. Living at the mercy of others because I have no rights.
Not even the right to die a dignified death.
To live without Rights is cruel. At best, I want the same rights animals have in Canada. The right to have someone kind overseeing my fate.
Today, people who need Long Term Care in Ontario must go through a government regulated agency, CCAC, to enter any regulated home. Even though CCAC gives you the choice of 5 homes, 5 may not be accessible to me due to lack of willingness of homes to offer scent-free products and air I need to enter a facility. They are not “obligated” to provide this quality but MAY DO SO….
This leaves me and about 300,000 or so other canaries with little hope in the future.
We know too well the harassment and abuse we have suffered at a system unwilling to show mercy to the few of us who have been judged as fussy or irritating or marginal.
Silent no more? Do you see a parallel? Just because this is not happening to you, does not mean this does not exist.
I beg you legalize euthanasia and make it easier to access than the rights I currently have to live and work with dignity.
These are so many in Canada who need to be given the kind of mercy we give to our companion animals when there is no hope for recovery and living a less than comfortable and pain-free life. As anyone with the kind of power to show this mercy, please understand the pain we are going through. You need to put yourselves in our shoes. We need your empathy because you have not been able to offer an alternative.
This is my take, very simplified:
We live in a world where tax cuts and corporate profits have become more important than life itself.
What are your thoughts? Have you faced systemic discrimination? Are you able to access the services and supports you need to live with dignity?