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Letters: Hospice Society responds to gaming grant issue

I encourage your readership to arm themselves with the facts.
Hospice thrift shop
The Hospice Cottage Charity Shoppe in Tsawwassen.


I wish to respond to your online article, “Delta Hospice gaming grant to be reviewed” (July 21) to correct certain errors, especially considering I was not contacted for this piece.

Delta Hospice Society did not apply to the Community Gaming Grants program for this year. We have not been notified by the program regarding a grant. I cannot speak to whose error this is. However, I’m dismayed at the response of our politicians.

Delta South BC Liberal MLA Ian Paton contends that we should not receive the grant because, in his words, we “lost [our] Fraser Health funding.” That is false.

We refused to provide euthanasia (MAiD) at our former 10-bed hospice in Ladner.

Fraser Health Authority, on behalf of the provincial government, cancelled our $1.5 million per year contract and expropriated both DHS facilities we built on a 35-year land lease, with 25 years remaining.

More embarrassing is Minister of Municipal Affairs MLA Nathan Cullen. In a tweet on behalf of the provincial government, Mr. Cullen claims “our government has been clear that we do not agree with the views advanced by this organization.”

We don’t have “views” on palliative care: our medical position is aligned with Canada’s foremost palliative care organizations, the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (CHPCA) and the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians (CSPCP).

Mr. Cullen also claims that “there are concerns regarding funding provided to this organization and whether information provided by the organization was accurate and therefore fully met eligibility criteria.”

DHS has consistently been awarded grants from the ‘Human and Social Services’ stream of the Community Gaming Grants program. And that is rightly so, for we provide compassionate, life-affirming counselling, support, and resources for Deltans and all Canadians.

We are a private organization. Our thrift shop supports our operations and the local community’s need for traditional palliative guidance. Donations and shop proceeds have also supported the launch and operation of Delta CARES Helpline, which at no cost provides authentic palliative care counselling for individuals and families struggling with difficult end-of-life circumstances or bereavement. To claim that we do not provide vital human and social services for Deltans is therefore absurd.

These government attacks are not new to us. In an open letter last April, Delta Mayor George Harvie urged the provincial government to seize our thrift shop. Failing that, he revoked our tax-exempt status. Therefore, not only will we not be receiving “$36,000”, but we have also actually paid $35,000 in tax to the City of Delta this July. Now the government is riled up again, and seeks to rile up the community, by inaccurate reporting.

I encourage your readership to arm themselves with the facts: that true palliative care affirms life to its natural conclusion and does not hasten death. It is our right as a privately funded organization to affirm this classic principle of palliative care that is accepted world-wide.

Angelina Ireland

President/Delta Hospice Society