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Hospice’s refusal to provide assisted death causing ‘anxiety:’ B.C. mayor

A woman holds the hand of her mother who is dying from cancer during her final hours at a palliative care hospital in Winnipeg in this image from 2010.
A woman holds the hand of her mother who is dying from cancer during her final hours at a palliative care hospital in Winnipeg in this image from 2010. REUTERS

The president of a society aiming to strengthen its position against medical assistance in dying at a government funded hospice in Delta, B.C., says it’s a chance to affirm Christian values of caring for people, not killing them.

Angelina Ireland, head of the Delta Hospice Society, says members will have the opportunity to vote on amendments to its constitution, which will say “God is the giver and taker of life.”

Delta Hospice Society loses provincial funding over assisted dying fight
Delta Hospice Society loses provincial funding over assisted dying fight

However, Health Minister Adrian Dix has said the society, which operates the Irene Thomas Hospice, will lose 1.5 million dollars in funding next February if it doesn’t follow provincial policy.

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Medical assistance in dying for patients who meet strict criteria became legal in Canada in 2016, but Ireland says that’s not what the society offers as a private organization.

READ MORE: A hospice must provide a medically-assisted death if a patient asks: Fraser Health

Delta Mayor George Harvie released a statement, saying he discussed the need for an urgent meeting with local MP Carla Qualtrough and two provincial politicians.

Harvie said the intolerable actions of the hospice board, which includes denying membership to local residents who want to vote at the meeting next month, can’t continue.

Assisted dying consultation
Assisted dying consultation

 

 

 

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“The hospice was funded, built on public land, to provide an end-of-life facility in Delta,” Harvie said.

“As mayor, I cannot allow this board to create a division and anxiety in this community.”

READ MORE: New study finds medical aid in dying not driven by lack of access to palliative care