Delta Hospice Society has been opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide.
CNA reported in November 2018 that the hospice maintained physician assisted suicide was "incompatible" with hospice palliative care, and that it was being pressured to provide it was incompatible with its mission.
And in January, CNA described Delta Hospice Society as "not affiliated with a religion, but … opposed to euthanasia as a matter of principle."
Angelina Ireland, president of the board of the hospice society, told CNA in February that the hospice has "worked really hard to have the people to trust us that when they come to hospice they will not be killed. We will take care of them, they will take care of their families. And now basically the government has said that any hospice that does not provide euthanasia, it's not allowed to exist."
Since then, the board of Delta Hospice Society has worked to preserve its character as an organization that allows for natural death.
Ireland sent a letter to members of the society in May saying it was "obvious that we must return to our roots and fully affirm our Christian identity," and urging the acceptance of a new constitution and bylaws. Her letter also served as a notice of a June 15 meeting that was to effect these changes.
The proposed new constitution of the hospice society would call it "a Christian community" meant "to provide compassionate care and support for persons in the last stages of living, so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible, until their natural death."
The existing constitution, last updated in 2017, says the society exists "to provide compassionate care and support for persons in the last stages of living, so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible."
Ireland interprets the existing constitution "as excluding the provision of MAiD by the Society," Fitzpatrick wrote, adding: "However, it is clear enough that this interpretation is not shared by all members, including the petitioners."
The members who challenged the changes in court sought to have the meeting cancelled or postponed, and argued that "the Board has improperly denied memberships to certain persons."
Sine November 2019, according to Farrish and her fellow petitioners, the board has granted membership to applicants who oppose euthanasia, and denied the applications of those in favor of the practice, with the intent of preventing the acceptance of euthanasia by the Delta Hospice Society.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Ireland has confirmed that 310 applications were rejected.
The membership of the society was about 600 in March, and was 1,400 by mid-April, according to Fitzpatrick.
According to Farrish and her fellow petitioners, anyone who applied for membership and contributed the membership fee was accepted, until 2020.
Under British Columbia's Societies Act, the directors of societies do not have discretion to deny membership on any self-determined basis unless criteria for membership are set out in the society's bylaws.
Fitzpatrick wrote that "It is clear enough from Ms. Ireland's affidavit alone that the Board has sought to screen membership, allowing only those that could be determined to uphold the Constitution as she and others on the Board interpret it. However, what the Board has also effectively done is deny membership to people who, in the past, would have been granted membership. The Board has done so with the express intention of preventing those who would have become 'new' members from voting on what is to be a very important decision in the direction of the Society."
She rejected the Delta Hospice Society's argument that its board has full discretion to determine membership, and found that the board "has not been acting in good faith in terms of admitting members on a proper basis."