Delta MLAs argue about hospice

It didn’t take long for the controversy surrounding the Delta Hospice Society and Health Minister Adrian Dix’s announcement Tuesday the province would terminate its contract to become a political squabble.

Delta North NDP MLA Ravi Kahlon took a shot at Delta South Liberal MLA Ian Paton over the situation, calling on Paton to support Fraser Health’s decision to ensure Delta Hospice stops defying federal law by denying the rights of its patients to access Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

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When asked by reporters, Paton refused to say whether or not he thinks the facility’s current policy is acceptable, said Kahlon in a news release, noting he’s calling on Paton to support patients’ rights in Delta.

“People in Delta deserve access to all healthcare services, including medical assistance in dying,” said Kahlon. “It’s important that Ian Paton clearly stands behind this decision to protect the rights of Delta patients to all medical services they are entitled to by law.”

The service, which became the law of Canada in 2016, is provided in British Columbia through a policy introduced by former B.C. Liberal Health Minister Terry Lake, Kahlon noted.

“Many people in Delta are disappointed to hear Ian Paton’s remarks on the Delta Hospice Society, and I’m disappointed to hear them as well,” added Kahlon.

“By refusing to stand up for a choice that people are entitled to under the law, Mr. Paton is refusing to stand up for people in our community.”

Paton in response said he is disappointed with Khalon’s cynical politicization of such an emotional issue for the community.

Liberal health critic Norm Letnick urged the government to work with the hospice society to find a solution over the next year.

“As I said earlier this afternoon, the Delta Hospice is an asset to our community. The caring staff and volunteers have provided exceptional care for patients and their families at end of life.

Since 1991, millions of dollars have been raised by caring community members to build the Irene Thomas Hospice building,” Paton noted in his own statement.

“I’m saddened that the situation has come to this, and I want to ensure that the residents of Delta have certainty as to what will happen to the building that our community built together.

Moving forward, I hope to work with Fraser Health and the provincial government to ensure that quality palliative care continues to be provided in Delta.”

Liberal health critic Norm Letnick urged the government to work with the hospice society to find a solution over the next year.

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