Euthanasia discussed by distinguished disability rights activist


(Left to right: Marc Wilchesky, director, Counselling and Development Centre; Cora Dusk, assistant VP student affairs; Prof. Neita Israelite, Faculty of Education; speaker Catherine Frazee; Patricia Spencer, guest; and Marcia Rioux, Chair, School of Health Policy and Management)

Catherine Frazee, distinguished disability rights activist, author and researcher, gave a public lecture on disability and euthanasia entitled “DEADLY SERIOUS: Disability, Disadvantage and Unnatural Death”, at York on Feb. 27. The event was organized by ACCESS YORK, York University”s Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities. A former chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Frazee is now co-director of the Institute for Disability Studies Research & Education at Ryerson University.

The following excerpt is from an account sent to YFile by York undergraduate psychology major Michael Miceli, who is on the board of directors of ABLE-YORK. ABLE-York is a student organization which promotes the rights of students with disabilities on campus and provides a number of services and disability resources for York students, staff and faculty.

Frazee”s powerful lecture provided meaningful insights and a unique perspective that generated passionate dialogue and discussion amongst all who attended. With a sensitive brush stroke, Frazee painted a vivid landscape against the backdrop of the disability rights movement to frame a debate that is of both critical and significant importance.

Following her talk, Frazee presented “Euthanasia Blues” a documentary by Norman Kunc, York alumnus and disability activist, that highlighted the debate and further refined the notion of “precarious citizenship” for persons with disabilities. This was followed by a question and answer period.