‘Incapacity Filibuster’ in opposition to Invoice C-7 goes on regardless of being Zoom-bombing with graphic photographs

SASKATOON – An online “Disability Filibuster” protesting Bill C-7 resumed Wednesday after being bombarded with pornographic sounds and Nazi images twice days earlier. The bill would expand who has access to Medical Aid in the Dying (MAID).

The Filibuster Virtual Event features disabled people and allies broadcasting from around the world to argue that the effects of the law go well beyond those who will reasonably die in the foreseeable future. According to the organizers, the MAID expansion makes death a worrying, easily accessible “treatment option” for a large proportion of the disabled in Canada.

“We lack the support that enables us to live with dignity, so the option of a path to death on the red carpet is sensibly seen as an enticement,” said filibuster organizer Gabrielle Peters of advocacy group Dignity Denied.

The zoom bombing, in which graphic images and homophobic blurring could be seen over the speaker, took place on Monday evening. In response, the organizers tweeted that “hatred won’t stop us” and vowed to carry on.

One of the organizers, Quin Lawrence, told CTVNews.ca that they have since increased security and stated, “We were lucky enough to do this [advocacy group] Inclusion Canada makes every effort to accommodate us with their hosts [corporate] Account and have supported us with technology ever since. “

Her filibuster, which resumed late Tuesday evening, is slated to take place at midnight on Friday if support continues.

Once Bill C-7 has been passed by the House of Representatives, it must return to the Senate for a second consideration. Should it pass through the Senate unchanged, the law would become the law of the country.

Proponents of the MAID extension say it is intended to prevent “incurable” suffering caused by illness. Bill C-7 was introduced in October 2020 in response to a 2019 decision by the Quebec Supreme Court that parts of the Federal and Quebec Medical Assisted Dying Acts were invalid and found to be unconstitutional because they were too restrictive.

But Lawrence and others say it is exhausting and discriminatory.

– We are angry, exhausted and disaffected, but nobody is ready to give up.

– Disability Filibuster (@ DisabilityFili1) March 7, 2021

Lawrence, using she / she pronouns, said this new approach to MAID could lead to “an entirely new way of manipulation and abuse against disabled people.” They stated that disabled people are more likely to have low incomes – a third live below the poverty line.

“[Many] We do not have access to home care, dental care is not covered, many aids and medicines are also not covered, we do not have universal psychiatric care – these things have to be funded and made available before a second route to MAiD is made widely available ”, they said.

Last month, the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on the rights of people with disabilities issued a similar criticism to a Senate committee. The council was concerned that the bill was “undermining [disabled people’s] Autonomy and its ability to make the right decisions ”through“ subtle pressure exerted, for example, by a lack of services or a lack of opportunities to live in the community ”.

Lawrence added, “Many of us have had hospitalization experience and instead of receiving treatment, we are offered one [do-not-resuscitate order]. ”

On Tuesday evening, writer Monica Gartner, who uses a wheelchair and suffers from an illness that makes her bones easily break or break, repeated this in her online testimonial. She described how during a hospital trip because of a broken arm, a nurse whispered in her ear that she could “fly away” if she wanted.

“Filibuster is activism for our time. We are isolated and separate, but we are also united and together, ”Filibuster creator Catherine Frazee said in a press release.

Sarah Jama, the main organizer of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO) and one of the speakers, said the digital filibuster was a necessary measure during the pandemic.

“Busloads of disabled people arriving in Ottawa to block the passage of this law are not an option,” she said in a press release. “But it is also not an option to sit on the sidelines while the federal government votes on a bill that has such a direct and dangerous impact on the lives of disabled people.”

Lawrence admits that the passage of Bill C-7 is very likely, but that she and others fully intend to advance legal proceedings and legal action.

“We want to make sure that disabled people know that we are together on this, and we will continue to fight it even if it passes.”

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