A Canadian fashion giant has been accused of glorifying suicide after launching a media campaign that appears to promote euthanasia – a practice that is becoming more common in Canada.
Launched by La Maison Simons, the ‘All is Beauty’ video ad centers on a terminally ill woman, Jennyfer, 37, who ended her life on medication in October.
The three-minute video shows Jennyfer and loved ones swinging bubble sticks next to the ocean, picnicking in the woods with friends and watching a puppet show.
In an audio overlay recorded weeks before her death, she says, “All my life I have filled my heart with beauty, with nature, with connection. I choose to fill my last moments with the same… Last breaths are sacred. When I imagine my last days, I see music. I see the ocean. I see cheesecake.’
The campaign comes amid a wave of criticism from disability activists and doctors who have denounced Canada’s assisted dying policy as “perverted.” Already 10,000 terminally ill Canadians die from euthanasia every year and patients with mental health problems will be eligible in March.
The use of medical assisted suicide in Canada has skyrocketed in recent years. More than 10,000 people used it in 2021, an increase of 31 percent
Yuan Yi Zhu, a policy expert at the University of Oxford, told DailyMail.com: ‘By presenting a woman’s decision to commit suicide as a luxurious lifestyle choice, Simons glorifies suicide and tells vulnerable Canadians that they are better off dead than living. .’
The video has also drawn criticism from social media users who labeled it “creepy” and likened it to “sci-fi dystopia.”
Since it was uploaded about a month ago, the video has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on YouTube. A 30-second clip of the video posted to Twitter has been viewed about 1.6 million times.
The company behind the campaign, La Maison Simons, is a family business headquartered in Quebec that has been a fixture in Canada since 1840. The retailer owns 15 department stores across Canada, as well as offices in London, Paris, Hong Kong and Florence.
DailyMail.com has reached out to La Maison Simons for comment.
Prior to the release of the controversial ad, Peter Simons, director of La Maison Simons, said the purpose of shooting the video was to “really think about who we want to be as a company” after making “the courageous choice created for the privilege of our voice and platform to create something meaningful, something less about commerce and more about connection.”
From March 2023, Canada’s eligibility for medical assisted suicide will be expanded even further, allowing people who do not have a physical condition to receive one. They must get approval from two doctors and wait 90 days between the application and the time of death
“We felt it might be difficult to regain hope and optimism [due to the pandemic] and we wanted to do something that really underlined human connectedness.”
He added that Jennyfer, who did not reveal her fatal illness, was “courageous” and “inspiring” by sharing her story and hoped it would give people “the strength and courage to see beauty in life’s more difficult moments.” ‘.
Assisted suicide in Canada, how does it work?
In 2016, the Canadian government passed a law allowing medical-assisted suicide, called MAID, in the country.
Under the original rules, a person suffering from a terminal illness and determined to suffer imminent death could undergo medical suicide.
They would need the approval of at least two doctors and wait 10 days between applying and receiving the medication.
In 2021, Bill C-7 was passed, creating a second number for MAID.
This track would allow a person to undergo medically assisted suicide, even if death was not imminent, if they were determined to have an intolerable disability or illness.
They also need a two-doctor sign-off to receive the medication, but have to wait 90 days.
From March 2023, a person suffering only from a mental illness, not a physical one, can apply for MAID.
They would be classified under the second track, meaning they would have to wait 90 days and require approval from two doctors.
Mr. Simons’ place on YouTube describing the rationale for launching the campaign also garnered outrage.
A commentator chided Mr Simons and company for ‘promoting and glorifying suicide and murder’.
Another wrote, “Advertising this movie makes it seem like Simons is lobbying for MAiD to expand… we don’t need to see euthanasia repeatedly romanticized.”
Neither Jennyfer nor Mr. Simons disclosed the illness, although it is clear that she qualified under the legal criteria because she had a physical condition that was either deemed ‘unbearable’ or terminal.
Canada is one of the few countries that has given the go-ahead for Medical Assisted Dying (MAID).
Others include Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Colombia, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and New Zealand.
Canada’s laws are about to become some of the most lax in the West.
The Liberal government’s MAiD bill dates back to 2016, when parliament legalized both euthanasia by physicians and assisted suicide to help people determined to face imminent death.
The person interested in MAiD had to be at least 18 years old. They had to have a serious condition or disability that was in an advanced, irreversible state of deterioration and was suffering “unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be relieved under conditions that patients find acceptable.” ‘
Their deaths also had to be “reasonably foreseeable” and the request for euthanasia had to be approved by at least two medical professionals.
But new criteria will take effect on March 17, 2023, when people will only need to prove they suffer from a serious mental illness to be eligible for medical assistance when dying.
The patient will still have to convince two different physicians that they “suffer unbearable physical or psychological suffering caused by their medical condition or their state of decline and which cannot be relieved under circumstances that the individual finds acceptable.”
But experts told DailyMail.com that the law doesn’t provide enough safeguards to protect people who aren’t in their right mind or willing to make that decision.
Mr Zhu said: “While Simons’ marketing campaign is morally repugnant, it reflects the extent to which Canada’s euthanasia regime has devalued human life.”
Canada recorded 10,064 medically assisted deaths in Canada in 2021, a 32 percent increase from the previous year, more than any other country where the procedure is legal.
The policy change has fueled fears among disability rights activists that MAiD has become a viable treatment option for people who feel they have nowhere else to go, such as the seriously mentally ill, the poor and the homeless.
“Sick, disabled and suicidal Canadians need adequate support so they can live with dignity, not an optional offer of euthanasia,” Zhu said.
The story of 54-year-old Amir Farsoud from Ontario made waves nationwide for his grim reason for applying for MAiD.
Mr. Farsoud suffers from debilitating chronic back pain who, faced with an eviction notice and inevitable homelessness, applied for assisted suicide.
The Canadian government did not provide him with sufficient financial and social support, he said. He received one of two necessary approvals from medical professionals before the story broke.
After receiving a flood of public support, including $60,000 from crowdsourcing to cover housing costs, Farsoud chose to live.
Mr Farsoud said, ‘If society is concerned about people like me, and like half a million other people living in (government) poverty, get them out of poverty. That’s the obvious solution.
“If they were out of poverty and if they had a roof over their heads and food in their mouths, I guarantee you that maid wouldn’t be a consideration. The whole debate would become superfluous.’
Especially vulnerable patients such as seniors and people with intellectual disabilities may not be able to make an informed decision when presented with the option of MAiD. And critics argue that existing safeguards to protect people are not enough.
In 2019, 61-year-old Alan Nichols passed away voluntarily without his family’s input. The man had suffered both serious psychological problems and a stroke in recent years, but was able to live independently for the most part.
He also suffered from hearing and vision loss, along with a history of seizures, frailty and “a growth retardation,” his nurse specialist said.
Mr Nichols’ family was outraged and argued that euthanasia forms should never have been placed in Mr Nichols’ hands.