Veterans Affairs Canada offered “Medical Assistance in Dying” after she asked for help in making her home wheelchair accessible, says Christine Gauthier.

Gauthier retired from armed service after becoming paraplegic from a training accident, later serving her country as a Paralympian in 2016.

For years, she has been climbing down the stairs with her wheelchair in front of her to leave her house.

After trying to use her benefits to have a chair lift to be installed in her home, Gauthier said it was suggested she pursue euthanasia.

She has since sent to a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sued Veterans Affairs Canada, and testified in the Canadian House of Commons.

“With respect to me, I have a letter in my file, because I had to face that as well. I have a letter saying that if you’re so desperate, madam, we can offer you MAID, medical assistance in dying.”

Court proceedings last week found there was no definitive proof Gauthier was ever offered euthanasia as the suggestions were written down in her own personal notes but not recorded in any official government documents.

Gauthier doesn’t believe that there is nothing in her file about euthanasia, and says it has happened more than four times.

However, Deputy Minister of Veteran Affairs Canada Paul Ledwell told the House of Commons they examined over 400,000 documents and found no instances of any veteran ever being pressured to pursue euthanasia.

“There’s no indication in the files in any correspondence, in any notation, based on engagement with a veteran of reference to MAID.” 

In August, a Veteran Affairs Canada employee inappropriately discussed euthanasia with a veteran and issued an apology afterwards.

“VAC deeply regrets what transpired [and] appropriate administrative action will be taken.”

Watch an interview with Gauthier:


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