Disability Filibuster 2022
On March 31, 2021, Parliament moved to establish a special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons to conduct a review of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in Canada, “including but not limited to issues relating to mature minors, advance requests, mental illness, the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities”.
This Special Joint Committee on MAiD held its first meeting on April 8, 2022. The Committee met for 2 hours (half of which was held in-camera) and dealt with routine administrative motions such as the naming of co-chairs, agreement on rules of procedure and approval of the Committee budget of $50,000.
The Committee’s agenda has not yet been made public, but it is known that their final report, including recommendations, will be tabled on June 23, 2022. Public hearings began on Wednesday, April 13. It was noted at the initial meeting that the Committee’s timelines will be extremely tight, especially given that their work will be interrupted by Easter break and two weeks of “constituency time” and that the report itself will take two weeks to compile and translate prior to being tabled. This effectively leaves a total of seven weeks for all of the Committee’s public meetings and deliberations on no less than five critically important and complex social issues.
Committee meetings are typically 2-4 hours long and generally held once or twice weekly. Witnesses are given only 5 minutes to provide testimony, and are almost always heard in panels of 3 to 4 persons. The Committee membership is composed of a clear majority of MPs and Senators who unequivocally supported Bill C7 over all of our objections, and who can be expected to endorse further expansion of MAiD eligibility and continued political gaslighting in response to the concerns of Canada’s disability rights community.
In the interest of continuing to make our case in the court of public opinion, and laying an evidentiary base for future legal action, it will be essential for persons with disabilities and disability expertise to be present and heard before this committee. At the same time, we have no reason to believe that we will be provided with a fair opportunity to present a full report on the devastating effects on our community subsequent to the passage of Bill C7, nor to formulate and express the perspectives of indigenous, racialized, poor, trans, queer, refugee, incarcerated and other marginalized persons with disabilities on any of the issues under the Committee’s mandate.
For all of the reasons set out above, it is time for the Disability Filibuster to mobilize once again. This time, we will pace ourselves for a longer marathon, with shorter broadcasts extending over a longer period of time. This approach is more in keeping with the very real pressures that members of our community are currently facing as we struggle to survive and to engage with networks of mutual support in the face of system-wide abuse and deprivation. In other words, our energies in the post-Bill C7 ethos must be divided between labouring for justice and labouring for survival.
The Disability Filibuster returns to the fray in 2022, in protest of further expansions to Canada’s eugenic MAiD regime. In this first broadcast of the 2022 series, guests discuss eugenics, necropolitics – the political calculations that determine who will live and who will die – and the ways in which our people support each other to organize and survive. The session is co-hosted by Tonye Aganaba and Catherine Frazee, with guests Stephen Lytton, Ameil Joseph, Garth Mullins, Allen Mankewich and Neil Belanger, and features spoken word performances by poets Amal Ishaque and Rabbit Richards.
Featuring a discussion of Medical Ableism with guests Dr. John Neary, (Braveheart) Kalie, Rabbit Richards, Serena Bains, Dr. Jennifer Baumbusch, Lucia Lorenzi, and others TBA. Hosted by Q Lawrence and Catherine Frazee.
Presentations by Dr. Leonie Herx and Dr. Sonu Gaind
Guests: Serena Bains, Aasiya Hussain, and others TBA
Co-Hosts: Catherine Frazee and Ramona Coelho
Dr. Herx and Dr. Gaind will share their medical insights on the perils of MAiD expansion, after having their testimony earlier this week at the “Special” Joint Committee on MAiD rushed, disparaged and discounted in a heavily biased Parliamentary process.
Guests: Kelly Johnson, Rainbow, Sandra Tavares, Tara Mikiovic, Skittles, Novelette Murray and others TBA
Co-Hosts: Catherine Frazee and Doris Rajan
A focused reflection on medical ableism as it is experienced by a diversity of people with intellectual disabilities, and what the expansions of MAiD mean in light of their experience.
Joined by Sunny Chiu and others TBA
This Filibuster will discuss the way ableism affects our everyday lives and our self worth. Concepts discussed include:
- How ableism teaches us to see disability as a tragedy.
- The harmful myth of “Overcoming”
- Framing disabled people as “burdens”
- Demanding “gratitude” for basic rights
- Disability as a tool for ridicule.