Tamara Jensen emceed a meeting Feb. 10 about Fraser Health imposing medical assistance in dying (MAiD) on hospice and palliative care facilities. The panel included MP Mark Warawa, MLA Mary Polak, Delta Hospice’s Janice Strukoff, and Mike Krabbendam of Langley’s Manoah Manor. (Warawa Facebook page grab)

Tamara Jensen emceed a meeting Feb. 10 about Fraser Health imposing medical assistance in dying (MAiD) on hospice and palliative care facilities. The panel included MP Mark Warawa, MLA Mary Polak, Delta Hospice’s Janice Strukoff, and Mike Krabbendam of Langley’s Manoah Manor. (Warawa Facebook page grab)

WATCH: Politicians call on public to oppose Fraser Health making hospices offer euthanasia

The Association for Reformed Political Action meeting was about medical assistance in dying (MAiD).

Fraser Health’s decision to have hospices offer medically assisted dying prompted a couple hundred people to gather Saturday to discuss how to fight back.

A Saturday evening meeting about the local health authority allowing medical assistance in dying (MAiD) included a discussion on whether there’s a possible legal case, and what people, hospice societies and volunteers can do if they disagree with the health authority.

All B.C. health authorities have said their various facilities would provide MAiD. Fraser Health funds the hospice residence near Langley Memorial Hospital where terminally ill people are able to receive care. The society has offices and space for its various bereavement programs at 20660 48th Ave. and has a contract with Fraser Health to provide volunteers for the residence.

The Feb. 10 meeting was announced Feb. 8 and included Langley-Aldergrove MP Mark Warawa; Langley MLA Mary Polak; Mike Krabbendam, administrator at Manoah Manor (seniors care home in Langley City); and Janice Strukoff on behalf of Delta Hospice. Strukoff has called the Fraser Health decision bullying.

“This battle isn’t over. It’s just begun,” Warawa said at the meeting.

The meeting was organized through the Association for Reformed Political Action ARPA, a non-partisan Christian group that wants biblical perspective in government. A video of it has been posted on Warawa’s Facebook page.

Langley Hospice Society president Kathy Derksen and executive director Nancy Panchuk attended the meeting.

“This past few weeks has been extremely stressful for us,” Derksen said to the crowd.

The society has been hearing from members of the community that they may no longer donate and some others that they may no longer volunteer.

The society has fundraised to build a stand-alone hospice facility near Langley Memorial Hospital but is still fundraising to outfit the building.

“We are ready to go into building permit” and hope to start construction in late spring, Derksen said.

When MAiD was first law, Fraser Health consulted with stakeholders and agreed it would not be imposed on hospice and palliative care facilities.

Then on Dec. 19, 2017, the health authority issued a new directive that MAiD would be done in hospices under certain circumstances.

To minimize unnecessary transfers, Fraser Health also said it would not transfer patients to hospices wth the “sole purposes of receiving an assisted dying procedure,” she said quoting the health authority notification.

This time there was no consultation and faith-based hospices were exempted from the policy change, she added.

“Personally speaking, I believe this exemption to be somewhat discriminatory,” she said at the Sunday meeting.

Warawa told the Langley Advance last week that MAiD is a legal right of Canadians, but it should not be done in hospice and palliative care facilities because they are not supposed to hasten nor postpone death.

“They have that legal right and they should be respected and honoured in that process,” he said. “But it just should not be happening in a hospice facility.”

People can be transferred to other facilities for MAiD just like they would be if they needed other medical procedures like an x-ray, he added.

The B.C. government at the time MAiD came into law was Liberal, Polak’s party. It has since changed to an NDP government.

She noted that then health minister Terry Lake was open to discussion and that led to the faith-based hospices being exempted. Polak would argue that exemption option should extend to other hospice/palliative groups.

“This goes way beyond people who are traditionally pro-life,” she said about those who disagree with the health authority.

Langley’s Manoah Manor is the private-pay seniors facility that was founded by Canadian ChristianReformed Churches in the Fraser Valley.

Krabbendam told of the kind of disturbing incident that could happen at a facility, such as a resident contacting a doctor who provided MAiD and does it in the facility without staff’s knowledge. This would be allowed because of private laws but would have a significant impact on the staff and others who know the resident. [Clarification: the original version of the story incorrectly said such an incident happened. The incident was cited as an example of what could happen.]

“Life is not something you play with,” he commented.

He advocated for MAiD to take place in other locations, noting most MAiD take place in hospitals or people’s homes.

“Why the push for hospice. Why the push for long-term care? Is it money?” he commented.

The facility is private pay but what Fraser Health does affects the manor because it has licensing authority. It does palliative care and now has an MAiD conscientious objector component in its procedures.

ARPA has produced a video on palliative care, some of which was shown that evening. It includes Dr. Neil Hilliard. He resigned from Fraser Health recently as the director of palliative care because of the MAiD policy change.

Emcee Tamara Jansen told the audience that often people don’t understand they have options other than MAiD.

Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman did not attend but wrote to the organizers to voice his opposition.

“It is wrong,” Coleman said. “There are facilities already available to people who choose to end their life with medical assistance. There is no need to extend this service to hospice.”

The decision “demeans” the efforts of hospice, volunteers and donors, he added.

Polak and Strukoff suggested people write to politicians, opposition politicians and health critics, hospice societies, and newspapers to voice their support for hospice/palliative care groups and against imposing MAiD.

euthanasiaFraser HealthLangley Hospice SocietyManoah Manormedical assistance in dying (MAiD)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The BC Hydro Dam at Alouette Lake. (The News files)
Alouette Lake boaters may be left high and dry

Hydro plans may bring down water levels of Maple Ridge lake in future summers

(Black Press Media files)
Snowfall expected for Lower Mainland on Saturday night, Sunday morning

2 to 5 cm of snow predicted Metro Vancouver, according to Environment Canada

Jim Graham caught the sunrise Tuesday, Jan. 19 along the Fraser River looking toward Mount Baker. (Special to The News)
SHARE: Sunrise over the Fraser River

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

Elise Gouin (left), tech peer to Jocelyn McLean, in booth at CEED Centre Neighbourhood House. (Christian Cowley/Special to The News)
New seniors programs at Maple Ridge centre help isolated connect

The CEED Centre Society is offering two new seniors programs

Nobody will be turned away from the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministry in the next couple of days as temperatures are expected to dip below freezing. (THE NEWS/files)
Ridge Meadows Salvation Army calls for extreme weather response

Freezing temperatures forecast tonight and Friday, snow on the weekend

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Post-COVID-19 recovery clinic in Surrey, at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (Photo: Fraser Health)
Surrey gets one of three post-COVID-19 recovery clinics

The Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre is located at 9750 140th Street

Competitors make their way through the course at the 2019 Canadian Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Abbotsford in 2019. (File photo)
Abbotsford to host 2023 Canadian Cross Country Championships

Clearbrook Park last hosted the event in 2019, Ottawa hosting 2021 and 2022 races

Abbotsford Police officers investigate the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed on Friday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Male pedestrian, 37, killed in Abbotsford after being struck by vehicle

Collision took place in 31800 block of South Fraser Way on Friday morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Most Read