Quebec premier to meet with Atikamekw chiefs following Joyce Echaquan’s death
Quebec’s premier is meeting with Atikamekw leaders one week after the death of Joyce Echaquan, who was taunted with racial slurs by health-care staff as she lay dying in a Joliette hospital.
François Legault is holding the meeting at his Montreal office on Monday afternoon alongside Sylvie D’Amours, the minister for Indigenous affairs.
The death of Echaquan, a 37-year-old mother of seven from Atikamekw, has sparked criticism and raised questions about how Indigenous people are treated and cared for in Quebec’s health network.
As she writhed in pain and pleaded for help, Echaquan took a live video on Facebook while she was the subject of discriminatory remarks from staff at the Joliette hospital. In the video, staffers can be heard telling Echaquan she was stupid and saying she would be better off dead.
In the last week, two staff members have been fired and several investigations have been launched into the circumstances surrounding Echaquan’s death.
Her family has also announced a lawsuit against the Joliette hospital, along with filing complaints with the province’s human rights commission and with the police.
The treatment of Echaquan also led to protests over the weekend, where demonstrators expressed support for Echaquan’s family and voiced concerns about systemic racism in the health-care system.
Legault, for his part, has acknowledged there is racism against Indigenous people in Quebec — but has repeatedly stopped short of defining it as systemic.
On Sunday, the Quebec coroner’s office announced it will oversee a public inquest into her death following a request from the government. Pascale Descary did not provide dates but pledged to launch the probe soon.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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