Today, I listened to the video of the last moments of Joyce Echaquan, an Aboriginal woman who was killed by our health care system.
Racism kills. We have known for a long time that systemic racism exists not only in our health care system, but also across Canada. We know that this racism can deprive Aboriginal people of the health care that their lives depend on.
What has happened is far from an isolated case. I have heard poignant testimony to this effect throughout Quebec.
While it is important to shed light on Ms. Echaquan’s case, we must also investigate the health care system itself. Racist health care workers must be fired. Training on racism must be put in place. A zero tolerance policy must be implemented as well as the development of accompaniment and safety services for Aboriginal people so that they can be safe in hospitals. Every time a person does not seek treatment for fear of racism, racism perpetuates and prevails.
Significant action is needed to remedy a situation that is unacceptable and shameful for all of us. Aboriginal people deserve to receive the same care as everyone else.
This sad event demonstrates that once again, people from Aboriginal communities are victims of the system. Indeed, an Aboriginal person is much more likely to lose his or her life at the hands of the Quebec health care system.
Although not all health care personnel are racist, there is clearly a huge problem. It is necessary to take concrete action now.
The Green Party of Quebec will continue to denounce these injustices and the blatant racism that is all too present in our health care system and through our public services.
Leader of the Green Party of Quebec