Delta Hospice Society under attack again

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Today I learned that the Delta Hospice Society will be audited by the BC Provincial government.

In February 2021, the Delta Hospice Society (DHS) was defunded by the British Columbia Ministry of Health because they refused to kill people by euthanasia (MAiD). The battle over the existence of the DHS has continued since them.

Last April, the DHS held a board election whereby euthanasia supporters ran against a group of people who oppose euthanasia in their hope of taking over the board. Thankfully 76% of DHS members voted for board members who oppose euthanasia.

The DHS is once again under attack. A July 18 article published by the Delta Optimist reported that MLA [Member of the Legislative Assembly] Ravi Kahlon released a list of Delta region organizations that received money from the Community Gaming Grants program. According to the list, the DHS received a $36,000 grant.

In response, Ian Jacques wrote an article published on July 20 by the Delta Optimist reporting that MLA Ian Paton was demanding an investigation into the grant to the DHS. The article reported Nathan Cullen, the NDP government minister who is responsible for the grant program, as stating:

“The Delta Hospice Society received a small grant from the Community Gaming Grant program. Our government has been clear that we do not agree with the views advanced by this organization,” Cullen said. “It has come to our attention that there are concerns regarding funding provided to this organization and whether information provided by the organization was accurate and therefore fully met eligibility criteria.

“I’ve asked staff to review the application. We have a thorough audit processes in place to investigate claims and will be looking into this matter immediately. We will explore all corrective options including the possibility of recovering the funds.”

What Cullen, Paton, and Kahlon are wrong about is the DHS did not apply or receive funding from the Community Gaming Grants program this year.

Angelina Ireland, the President of the DHS, wrote in a letter published by the Delta Optimist on July 23:

Delta Hospice Society did not apply to the Community Gaming Grants program for this year. We have not been notified by the program regarding a grant. I cannot speak to whose error this is. However, I’m dismayed at the response of our politicians.

Ireland then states:

These government attacks are not new to us. In an open letter last April, Delta Mayor George Harvie urged the provincial government to seize our thrift shop. Failing that, he revoked our tax-exempt status. Therefore, not only will we not be receiving “$36,000”, but we have also actually paid $35,000 in tax to the City of Delta this July. Now the government is riled up again, and seeks to rile up the community, by inaccurate reporting.

I encourage your readership to arm themselves with the facts: that true palliative care affirms life to its natural conclusion and does not hasten death. It is our right as a privately funded organization to affirm this classic principle of palliative care that is accepted world-wide.

Now the DHS has been informed that they will face a forensic audit from the government. The DHS is continuously under attack because they refuse to kill people.

Alex Schadenberg is a board member of the Delta Hospice Society.

Editor’s note. This appeared at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and is reposted with permission.