Ottawa, Ontario November 24, 2020
Hostile Takeover of Palliative Care in Canada
In June 2016, during the debate legalizing physician-assisted suicide, now called Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), it was argued that access to palliative care would be a “safeguard” against euthanasia for vulnerable individuals.
Just a few months later, in September 2016, the B.C. NDP Minister of Health Adrian Dix directed that a private ten-bed not-for-profit palliative care hospice in Ladner, B.C. operated by the Delta Hospice Society use some of its beds for assisted suicide patients. He further stated that if the hospice failed to do so, he would take over the hospice and its assets by February 2021. The assets were acquired through private donations and the operation of the hospice is maintained largely through private donations.
The hospice refused to comply with this directive because palliative care and assisted suicide services are not compatible services. Palliative care supports the dignity of human life by the caring for and comforting of patients, including providing medication to relieve pain to allow the patient to die naturally. Assisted suicide encourages the sick and the terminally ill to consent to be killed by lethal injection in order to stop their suffering, either psychological or medical, regardless of the fact that their illness can be treated with medication and counselling.
Further, supporters of euthanasia working with Dying with Dignity have purchased memberships in the hospice in a hostile takeover. They have gone door to door in the community misinforming residents of the facts and purpose of the hospice, and signing up “new members” in order to infiltrate the society and force it to provide beds for assisted suicide. During this hostile takeover, social media, as well as some newspaper reports, published articles and comments which attempted to poison the community against the hospice and its 30-year reputation for good works. Threatening letters were sent to the board members, demanding that they cease objecting to the takeover of the hospice.
As a result of these efforts, memberships in the hospice society have gone from 160 members on April 15, 2020 to over 1500 members by October 7, 2020.
If the B.C. NDP government and the activists for assisted suicide are successful, this will lead to the extinguishing of palliative care from Canada’s medical care system. This is due to the fact that MAID legislation positions assisted suicide as a “healthcare right” under the Canada Health Act, to be publicly funded and accessible to all. Palliative care has not been similarly positioned as a “healthcare right” under the Canada Health Act, nor publicly funded and accessible to all.
In fact, only 30% of Canadians, at best, have access to palliative care. This occurs despite the fact that 98% of those dying in Canada do so naturally, not by assisted suicide.
Palliative care is an essential part of our healthcare system. This attempted takeover of the Delta Hospice Society by pro-euthanasia advocates will create a precedent for all of Canada, and will eventually lead to the elimination of all palliative care in Canada.
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For further information contact:
REAL Women of Canada
Western Canada Board Member
REAL Women of Canada