Joyce Echaquan’s treatment wasn’t an isolated incident
Systemic racism against Indigenous people is endemic within the health-care system.
Exactly a year ago, the Viens commission released its final report. Many of its 142 recommendations apply to the health-care sector. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015), the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (2019), among others, have also issued a significant number of recommendations, many specific to health care and to the Quebec context.
Premier François Legault’s denial of the existence of systemic racism in Quebec is not only magical thinking; it allows discrimination to thrive. We can no longer debate about whether systemic racism exists. We need to act now to put an end to it. Otherwise, Indigenous lives will continue to be stolen.
Nazila Bettache in an internist and assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Université de Montréal. Samir Shaheen-Hussain is a pediatric emergency physician, assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and author of Fighting for a Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada. Both are members of the Caring for Social Justice Collective.