Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen has criticized the provincial NDP government over a dispute on medically assisted dying in a Delta hospice.
“I am very disappointed that the NDP Government is threatening to shut down the Irene Thomas Hospice (ITH), unless medical staff are willing to betray their deeply-held personal beliefs and participate in the taking of patient lives through MAiD [medical assistance in dying],” Jansen said in a statement released this week.
ITH is run by the Delta Hospice Society. Hospice societies in a number of communities, including Langley, have pushed back against Fraser Health directives that they allow for MAiD in hospice facilities, but ultimately those run by Fraser Health had no authority over patient care.
In February of 2018, a Langley community meeting was organized with the involvement of the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), a Christian group that wants biblical perspective in government. At the meeting people voiced their objections to the Fraser Health policy, but no action came out of the meeting.
According to Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma, as of December MAiD has been used twice at the Langley hospice residence since the practice became legal across Canada.
“All clinical decisions are made by Fraser Health,” Shannon Todd Booth, the local society’s communications and fund development manager, noted in December about the medical care at the Langley hospice residence.
Fraser Health gave ITH in Delta a deadline of Feb. 3 to comply and permit MAiD.
“The Delta Hospice Society and the ITH offer compassionate care for people who are in their final weeks and days of life. The World Health Organization, as well as several major Canadian palliative care organizations agree that MAiD and Palliative care are separate practices,” Jansen wrote.
She said she was calling up on B.C. health minister Adrian Dix and Fraser Health to respect the right of medical professionals to exercise freedom of conscience.
Jansen has been vocal about her opposition to MAiD in the past, including before her election last October.