Pro-lifers win an enormous victory! Delta Hospice Society & the MAID Reversal
by Danielle Martell
If you’ve been following the story of the Delta Hospice Society, you will remember the fiasco that took place at October’s AGM where the society saw a surge in attendees from 33 people in 2018 to 198 (final count) in October 2019. The meeting was littered with scandal from beginning to end and Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) was the battle at hand. Formerly considered murder, MAID was decriminalized under Trudeau in June, 2016. Meanwhile, the effects on the ground pour into our streets and homes. At Delta Hospice, pro-life workers were terminated and fired under the old board of directors in an environment where it became unsafe to be a conscientious objector. At October’s AGM, the issue was all about MAID and a scandalous agenda rigged the events of the evening. The election went awry, a Pro-MAID director, Chris Pettypiece, refused to step down after he had overstayed his 8-year maximum term allowable on the board, and the society’s lawyer, Christine Elliot, attempted to sneak an entire new set of bylaws into the society without the membership clearly understanding what they were voting on. If you were pro-MAID, all these mishaps worked in your favour, but if you were pro-life, such moves were not to be appreciated. However, since the election failed, a new AGM date was set for Nov. 28, 2019.
A race for memberships began. The society, at this point, had roughly 400 members. That membership surged again due to the MAID agenda and a desire from the public to vote. By Oct. 31, the board cut off memberships again, which had reached over 600. It was believed among pro-lifers that the board knew too many pro-life people were registering since the pro-lifers had access to the churches. The memberships were cut off, even though the board themselves had gone to the Dying with Dignity group in Vancouver to recruit members. Alex Muir, part of Dying with Dignity in Vancouver, was himself present at the Nov. 28 meeting. Muir even spoke in place of one of the board members to lend support for the MAID position during the election of candidates.
Prior to the Nov. 28 AGM, the old board determined it was crucial to force MAID into hospice, effective immediately, even though it was against the constitution of the hospice and even though they knew the majority of their membership did not support it. Nonetheless, they insistently voted for this in early November. When it didn’t pass, a heated debate broke out concluding with three resignations from board members who voted against MAID. Just over a week or so later, with the opposing members resigned, the board seized their opportunity to force MAID into hospice. One week before the AGM, they voted again to put MAID into place effective immediately. This time they were successful. Angelina Ireland was the only board member who voted against MAID. However, Chris Pettypiece was sitting on the board illegally at that time, which meant that when they tried to pass MAID, they hadn’t legally met quorum. This meant their motion failed even though they started enacting MAID with the Fraser Health Authority. Those actions have since been the catalyst for a myriad of problems that the hospice currently faces, with MAID and Fraser Health. Fraser Health has since gained momentum in attempting to dictate that MAID be at Delta Hospice Society.
Finally, the Nov. 28 AGM arrived. If the first AGM wasn’t bad enough, the second meeting was worse. The board knew the majority of the membership was pro-life and they oppressed the voices of the members without conscience. Members were not given the opportunity to speak to the agenda, to properly pass minutes, to make motions, second them, have discussion and take matters to a vote. The voice of the membership was suppressed from beginning to end. It was far from the democratic proceedings that we, as Canadians, have come to respect and defend. It was a meeting run like a fascist, totalitarian regime. In the middle of it, several nurses from the hospice were permitted by the chair, to get up and publicly, and scandalously, trash the previous Executive Director in front of the 280 people present. It was classless, in the fullest sense. This trick by the board was perhaps done in hopes that this would lead the crowd to vote in favour of those who had just chosen MAID. However, boos rang out from the crowd! Boos were heard everywhere, not only because of the classless atrocity the people were being subjected to, but also because of the way the pro-life members’ voice had been silenced, while these people had been empowered to trash one individual publicly, an individual who had built the hospice into a state-of-the-art facility over 25 years. Delta Hospice is the leading hospice in the province because of her.
This trick backfired on the board. When it came time for the election, each of the incumbent board members up for re-election was ousted and five new members set in. This vote was significant on many levels. This was a vote for life! It was a vote for decency and it was a vote for the freedom of democracy! The balance of power was dynamically changed and this meant a pro-life board was now firmly in place. By Saturday, Nov. 30, Angelina Ireland was named president of the new board, the MAID decision was reversed effective immediately, and by Monday, one person’s life was saved, praise be to God who does marvelous things!
Danielle Martell is the Priest in Charge at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Tsawwassen and has recently been appointed to the board at the Delta Hospice Society.