Senator Anderson

Canadian Senator Calls for Strengthening Inuit “Right to Live”

The Senate of Canada has just published this feature about Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson. Born in Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Senator Anderson is Inuvialuk, a western Canadian Inuk.

In her interview, Senator Anderson said:

Sometimes southern legislation has a negative impact on communities in the North. An example is the medical assistance in dying bill. I could not support this bill when, in the Northwest Territories, our right to live is already compromised. I can’t support the right to die until we have the same standard of living in the North as they do in the South, such as housing, food and health care.

Having previously worked as a public servant, Senator Anderson has experience helping disenfranchised minorities — the very persons who might be tempted to assisted suicide if not for getting the supports needed to live.

According to this article, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto is reporting, “Indigenous young people are five to six times more likely to die by suicide than their non-Indigenous counterparts, and suicide rates among young Inuit are 11 times the national average — and the highest in the world.

First Nations, Metis, and Inuit in Canada generally have a tremendous regard and reverence toward elders. Assisted suicide is both an existential threat to these communities of Canada as well as a contradiction to the traditional cultures by which Indigenous Canadians enrich the whole country.

Indeed, it is key to strengthen the right to live and to elevate the standard of living. For young people and for old people, suicide is not the answer. Instead, we can work together to address the crises that threaten our sense of life and hope.

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