Delta Hospice board wants religion in society's mandate

The board of the Delta Hospice Society is holding a special meeting to change its constitution.

Social media has been abuzz about the meeting called for June 15 proposing to amend the constitution to have the society’s mandate include “To fulfill God’s calling to serve the sick and dying, and to follow Christ’s teachings and example in all we do” as well as “To function as a Christian community that furthers biblical principles governed by the Triune God.”

The meeting will be held by telephone conference followed by mail-in ballot.

It’s the latest in the ongoing heated saga for the hospice society.

It’s already been given one-year’s notice by the provincial government that its funding would be pulled due to the board refusing to allow medical assistance in dying (MAiD) at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner.

Opposed to the board’s actions, several Delta residents have complained that their membership applications are in limbo or were rejected.

Earlier this year, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the funding would be withdrawn and the society would not be permitted to provide hospice palliative care. 

Dix also said the government intends to somehow keep the beds in Delta after the notice period, which could involve another facility in the community or possibly taking over the current site.

After the previous DHS board voted to allow MAiD, those opposed signed up new members to vote in a new board at a heated annual general meeting late last year.

Immediately afterward, new president Angelina Ireland reversed the policy, saying it’s not within the mandate or philosophy of hospice palliative care.

Saying the society board was hijacked by a small group trying to impose their religious views on the community, and there’s nothing in the constitution specifically against MAiD, members of the society opposed to the Ireland camp started a letter writing campaign to Dix. They also began a membership drive in an effort to take back control.

In July 2016, the federal government passed legislation permitting medical assistance in dying.

Fraser Health approved its policy later that year that mandates hospices provide the procedure, but DHS until last year hadn’t allowed it.

Dying with Dignity Canada said Delta Hospice should be forced to abide by the Fraser Health policy that MAiD be provided in all non-faith-based facilities under its jurisdiction.

The Optimist has reached out to Ireland as well as Dix for comment.

More to come……






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