Delta Mayor George Harvie is asking Premier John Horgan to ‘take every step’ possible to ensure that money raised at the Delta Hospice Society’s (DHS) Hospice Cottage Charity Shoppe is used to support care palliatives in the community.
At the company’s AGM on April 2, members re-elected the 10 “life-affirming” board directors and approved an amendment stating that the company “is committed to a traditional understanding of the principles of care. palliatives, which excludes medical assistance in dying (MAID), prohibiting society from engaging in MAID-related activities, and requiring all new applicants and members renewing their commitment to this traditional understanding of the principles palliative care.
“Today marks a historic day for our society and for all Canadians who support life-saving palliative care,” DHS President Angelina Ireland said in a press release.
“Despite unfounded criticism, tremendous antagonism and attacks on many fronts, our members have delivered a strong mandate to provide only real palliative care and pursue our vision of creating euthanasia-free palliative care sanctuaries.”
The company lost control of the Irene Thomas Hospice and nearby Harold and Veronica Savage Supportive Care Center on March 29, 2021, a year after Fraser Health announced it would end the service agreement and the lease from DHS due to council’s refusal to allow MAID at hospice.
The Hospice Cottage Charity Shoppe, located at 1521 56th St. in Tsawwassen, is still owned and operated by the society and brings in over $700,000 a year.
In his letter, Harvie urged the premier to ‘take all possible steps to ensure that thrift store assets and income are restored to the Irene Thomas Hospice, as originally intended by the Delta community “.
Harvie said the thrift store, valued at nearly $3 million, was created using community funds in an effort to generate revenue to support hospice services. Instead, under the current board, revenue generated from the store is used by the company to support a national hospice “1-800” helpline.
“The Delta Hospice Society does not represent the interests of the Delta community,” Harvie wrote, adding that the DHS board of directors actively recruits members who sympathize with their religious and pro-life beliefs.
“Of the 13,518 voting members, only 2,919 are from Delta. The others come from other parts of Canada or outside the country,” he wrote.
In October 2020, the Delta board voted unanimously to deny the company’s request to renew an optional tax exemption for the Charity Shoppe due to the board’s refusal to allow MAID at Hospice Irene Thomas, efforts to change the constitution and bylaws of DHS to make it a faith-based organization, as well as efforts to restrict membership in the society.
“The company’s actions are not inclusive for all Delta residents and have caused division within our community. Therefore, in order to oppose division within the community, it is recommended that a permissive 2021 tax exemption be denied for the property,” according to a staff report to council.
At the time, municipal property taxes were estimated at $20,500.