Editor’s note. This statement was issued by the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors of the Delta Hospice Society expresses its dismay at the November 13th B.C. Appeal Court ruling that denied the Society’s ability to protect itself from a hostile takeover via a mass membership drive. This ruling now puts our membership and our constitution at risk of being overrun by ideologues seeking to impose medical assistance in dying (MAiD) into our hospice.
While respecting the authority of the Court, our next step must be to seriously consider appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada. We will be meeting with our legal team immediately to exhaustively explore all possibilities for appeal.
We do this first of all to safeguard the Society from being forced by proxies of Dying with Dignity Canada into administering euthanasia on the premises of our 10-bed Ladner, B.C. hospice contrary to long-standing interpretations of provisions in our constitution, and to the very reason for the existence of our private organization.
A related motivation is the need to protect all private institutions in Canada from being taken over and forced to conduct themselves in ways that are in complete violation of their understanding of their founding principles, purpose and conscience.
That is precisely what has happened to the Delta Hospice Society where MAiD [Medical Assistance in Dying] activists have literally gone door-to-door in our community misinforming residents and signing up “new members” in order to infiltrate our private Society and force change upon us. During this attempted hostile takeover, we have witnessed attempts to poison the community against us, suffered assaults on our 30-year reputation for good works, and been forced into a protracted and painfully expensive court battle just to preserve our integrity as a centre for authentic palliative care.
As a Board, we have never been interested in such antics. We want our energy fully devoted to operating our hospice and care centre so that those facing the end of life have their choice respected to receive palliative care in a setting where MAiD is not practiced.
“We follow a 50 year medical discipline committed to caring not killing,” noted Delta Hospice Society Board President Angelina Ireland. “We resist the destruction of palliative care in Delta, and in British Columbia as well as the rest of Canada. Our actions are to defend and protect palliative care which is a national treasure and gift to humanity.”
The Board is not fighting against the availability of MAiD for those who choose it. There are many places where MAiD is available, but MAiD is not congruent with palliative care and is contrary to its values.
“While we do not believe MAiD is sound medical practice, we also recognize that the 2015 Carter decision and the Parliament of Canada in June, 2016 made euthanasia legally permissible. Neither the Supreme Court of Canada nor Parliament mandated that assisted suicide must be made available in all places at all times. In light of that, we ask only that our desire to remain MAiD free be respected,” Ireland said.
“Sadly, the ideologues who oppose us reject that. They insist that all hospices be forced by provincial health authorities to provide MAiD. They are intent on undermining the Delta Hospice Society’s understanding of its constitution, our founding principles, and the wishes of those to whom we offer care,” she added.That is what is at risk with today’s Appeal Court ruling. It’s why the Board sees the likely need for a further appeal ending in the Supreme Court of Canada’s affirmation of our rights.
We as a Board are alarmed, first and foremost, because of what is being done to the principles of palliative care that we cherish. Nor can we as Canadians stand idly by while ideologues run roughshod over private institutions who wish only to live out a pluralistic vision in freedom and peace.