Canadian hospice launches membership drive to stop takeover by euthanasia activists
DELTA, British Columbia, December 11, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A British Columbia hospice society is launching an urgent nationwide membership drive to stave off a “hostile takeover” by euthanasia advocates.
The Delta Hospice Society (DHS) is appealing to all Canadians who oppose euthanasia — that is, the lethal injection of sick patients — to become members and help keep its 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice a euthanasia-free zone.
Since Canada legalized euthanasia in 2016, the hospice society has been under attack by euthanasia lobbyists and the B.C. government for its refusal to allow euthanasia onsite at its palliative care hospice.
The latest blow came on December 8, when Justice David Harris of the British Columbia Appeals Court refused to grant the society a stay of a lower court order that it must accept all memberships regardless of the applicant’s stance on euthanasia.
B.C. Supreme Court Judge Shelley Fitzpatrick issued the original order in June 2020.
That’s when three pro-euthanasia ex-board members went to court to stop the hospice society from holding a mail-in vote of its then 1,500 members on whether or not to become a Christian organization.
This would have allowed it to claim a religious exemption from the legal obligation to provide euthanasia onsite.
Fitzpatrick ordered the meeting canceled, and ruled the board could not reject a membership based on the applicant’s support of euthanasia, even though the society’s constitution prohibits any practice that would hasten a patient’s death.
The society appealed, and on November 13, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld Fitzpatrick’s ruling, including her decision to put the Delta Hospice Society under the court’s authority.
The society then asked for a stay of the order as it prepares to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Harris refused the stay on Tuesday, at which point the euthanasia lobbyists’ lawyer, Brad Dixon, sent a letter demanding that the Delta Hospice Society hand over a register of all its members, or be held in contempt of court.
He also demanded that the list “that is to be delivered must contain the names (and contact particulars) of all applicants who have made application since November 28, 2019 without restriction or cut-off date.”
Dixon noted that if the society refused to comply, its directors could be found in “bad faith” and violation of the law, and be fined — or jailed.
Before the attempted takeover, the Delta Hospice Society had approximately 160 members. By April 15, 2020, the society had over 1,400 members, with many new memberships bought by euthanasia activists.
The latter literally went door-to-door in the community and signing up new members in order take over the society and force it to provide beds for euthanasia.
The dispute has bitterly divided the west coast community, with local media publishing pro-euthanasia articles and comments prejudicial to the hospice.
Threatening letters were also sent to society board members, demanding that they not resist the takeover of the hospice, and euthanasia lobbyists attacked board chair Angelina Ireland on social media.
“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,” Ireland said in a November 13 press release.
However, while the courts ruled against the society, they also agreed that the society can amend its bylaws to explicitly state it is a palliative care organization, and cannot allow euthanasia in its facility, Ireland told LifeSiteNews.
The bylaws can also be amended to specify criteria for membership, and exclude those individuals who do not uphold palliative care values and support euthanasia.
Delta Hospice Society is now calling on pro-life Canadians to come to the hospice’s defense and buy a $10 membership, she said.
With a majority of pro-life members, the society could amend the bylaws to keep the hospice euthanasia-free, emphasized Ireland.
“This is the only way to eliminate the menace that hangs over our heads — once and for all.”
There is no deadline to buy a membership, and Delta Hospice Society is asking pro-life Canadians to do so as soon as possible, at www.savedeltahospice.com.
The NDP government has also been pressuring the society to allow euthanasia, and rebuffed all its attempts to negotiate.
In February 2020, NDP Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that he was pulling the society’s $1.5 million public funding effective February 2021.
Dix also said the province is considering expropriating the hospice building, which was built by the society with $8.5 million in privately raised funds, but which sits on land leased to it by the Fraser Health Authority.
The society has consistently held that allowing euthanasia onsite was against its constitution and that euthanasia is completely opposed to palliative care, a position backed by both the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP).
Significantly, neither the Supreme Court of Canada, nor Parliament have mandated that euthanasia be made available in all places at all times.
“We follow a 50-year medical discipline committed to caring not killing,” said 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.”
Please buy a $10 Delta Hospice Society membership and encourage your family and friends to do likewise. To buy a membership, go to www.savedeltahospice.com.