The Delta Hospice Society is about to be reborn – BC Catholic
In some corners of this country, there are people for whom the fight against euthanasia will never end. They are in the minority but they are tough, brave and determined.
One such person is Angelina Ireland, president of the Delta Hospice Society. She and her allies led the group to a stunning pro-life victory on a recent Saturday in April.
A bit of background: The society has been around for 30 years and 12 years ago it built a 10-bed hospice. The hospice was built with private funds. The land was leased from the Fraser Health Authority, which also helped fund the hospice, as it provided a provincial medical service.
Then, in 2016, the roof collapsed. Euthanasia, or MAID, has been legalized. The society’s board of directors was divided on euthanasia, but the pro-life side prevailed. This victory was pointless: the health authority said in essence: no euthanasia, no funding. And by the way, leave our lands.
Today, the hospice is managed by the provincial authority and allows euthanasia.
However, the Delta Hospice Society never went away. On April 2, he voted in a pro-life council, easily beating a pro-MAiD slate. He also changed his constitution so that any future hospice they might build would be euthanasia-free.
Thousands of people across the country voted in favor. Just like me, they had taken out a membership so they could support the pro-life side.
While this victory was for the Delta Hospice Society, it is truly a morality game for the rest of the country to emulate. Wherever there has been resistance to euthanasia, a group has arisen insisting that it be offered everywhere. The idea of a MA-free zone seems anathema to many Canadians. But, as Ireland pointed out, with 75% of voters giving society an overwhelming mandate to prevent euthanasia, it hopes the pro-life side has a bright future.
Below is an edited version of my recent conversation with Ireland:
Charles Lewis: How did you come to be involved with the Delta Hospice Society?
Angelina Ireland: I came here as a client on my cancer journey which started in 2013. I used their counseling services as an outpatient. When I regained my health, I wanted to give back to the organization that helped me in these difficult times. I view palliative care as I saw it then from the perspective of a patient, not an administrator. Palliative care provides the resources — physical, psychological and spiritual — to live well until our natural end. I find peace knowing that there are people around me who are invested in this protection.
Q: How important is this to you as a devout Catholic? Some will say you could have euthanasia for those who wanted it.
A: There’s nothing so horrible as knowing that the person next to you is going to be killed… it’s torture. You know that in most cases their choice is motivated by the idea that they don’t want to be a burden, that they are alone, that they don’t want to feel helpless and useless. As a country we failed our brothers and sisters because we didn’t give them the care they needed and now they are choosing to die. We are all complicit in this abandonment. Palliative care strives to give each person the dignity and respect they deserve, time to heal their wounds, reconcile and prepare for a natural death. It ensures that the sacred gift of life is cherished.
Q: How did you feel after your victory on April 2?
A: I felt that we had heard the will of the members. Three quarters of our members want to say that we are a palliative care organization that refuses to consider MAID as part of our practice. This is a great victory for the pro-life nation.
Q: What comes now?
A: We believe that our members have entrusted us with the mandate to pursue our vision of a palliative care sanctuary…without euthanasia. We will have to find land. It will be a private project and we don’t have much to do with governments. The federal government set aside billions in 2017 to improve and expand palliative care. They only spent a fraction on their education. So maybe we could get a grant, but there should be no strings attached.
Q: Given that MAID was so readily available, including the hospital that was a short walk from the hospice, why were you told you had to perform euthanasia?
A: We were told that it was a flagrant violation of human rights to encourage people to travel for services that are not offered in a single establishment. Our refusal to kill our patients brought the full weight of provincial and municipal government authority against us. They expropriated our property without compensation and relegated us to pariah status.
True believers in MAiD organized and encouraged our banishment. Why? In my opinion, this is just another example of how the fabric of our entire society is being torn apart. A new Age of Enlightenment is upon us. Apparently human beings can now take the place of God. There is no tolerance for “bad thoughts” that get in the way of this progressive agenda. They will do everything in their power to suppress individual freedom for the benefit of the state.
Q: How to ensure that a pro-MAiD group no longer shy away?
A: We have changed our constitution and bylaws to define palliative care as not including the hastening of death. We have prohibited our organization from participating in any activity including assisted suicide and euthanasia of any kind. We are a private organization. We are not a government agency. We should be allowed, as private citizens, to band together to provide a service that people want and choose. There is certainly nothing wrong with providing care to people. One would expect government and taxpayers to applaud such an enterprise rather than destroy it.
Q: Finally, from March 2023, the mentally ill will be able to choose euthanasia. This comes when the world is in great turmoil and great stress. What does this new category say about our leaders?
A: The expansion of MAID to the mentally ill is terrifying and couldn’t come at a worse time. We’ve had more than two years of lockdowns, social isolation, masks and fear mongering. We now live with an exacerbated fear of the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine and runaway inflation. So who doesn’t feel mental tension? We the people trust our leaders to use creativity and innovation to get us out of a crisis and plan for a bright future…not to find a way to kill more people. This expansion of MAiD only embraces nihilism. What we really need is a plan to fight for the sanctity of life.
The Catholic Register