Hospice situation unacceptable says Harvie

Calling it an unacceptable and grievous situation at the Irene Thomas Hospice, Delta Mayor George Harvie is calling for collective action from Delta elected officials.

During Thursday morning’s Delta virtual town hall, Harvie addressed the latest chapter in the dispute over control of the hospice society board.

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“As your mayor, I have discussed with our MP Carla Qualtrough, Delta South MLA Ian Paton and Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, the need for an urgent meeting to discuss the current actions of the Delta Hospice Society (DHS) board,” said Harvie. “There is total agreement amongst us that we cannot let the intolerable actions of the current board go on. It is shameful that in this time of our lives, being turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic that our community hospice is being subjected to this takeover by a special interest group determined to undermine all the tremendous work by our community volunteers to provide this public service amenity.”

In recent days, information has come to light regarding the denial of memberships to Delta residents trying to join the hospice society.

Irate Delta residents have complained on social media or filed complaints to government saying the current society board is in contravention of the Societies Act.

The board has called for a special meeting on June 15 proposing to amend the DHS constitution to have the society’s mandate include, “To fulfill God’s calling to serve the sick and dying, and to follow Christ’s teachings and example in all we do” as well as “To function as a Christian community that furthers biblical principles governed by the Triune God.”

In a letter to current members, board president Angelina Ireland wrote it has become apparent that many affirm the position that DHS, as a hospice and palliative care organization, should stay true to its founding principles which protects the most vulnerable from euthanasia.

Harvie said the mass rejection of memberships from dedicated community members, including, past and present hospice staff and volunteers, is simply wrong.

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

Harvie has asked Delta staff to provide briefing notes regarding commencing an investigation as soon as possible that will involve Qualtrough, Paton and Kahlon.

“I look forward to working with my fellow Delta elected officials to have our Delta hospice, built on public land, funded by our community, governed by and for all Deltans.”

Harvie said a joint statement will be published next week updating the community.

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