Recognition of Systemic Racism | Ghislain Picard salutes the Order of Nurses

(Montreal) Ghislain Picard is delighted with the recent recognition by the Order of Nurses of the existence of systemic racism in the health care system, and he now hopes that the organization will adhere to the “Joyce principle”.

The chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador said Thursday in an interview that the order’s position reflects a desire within this organization to fight racism and respect Indigenous cultures.

The Order of Nurses of Quebec recognized Wednesday “the existence of systemic racism” within the network of health and social services, “particularly against the First Nations and Inuit”.

This position follows the death, on September 28, of Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw mother who filmed herself with her cell phone at the Joliette hospital. In this video, we heard two employees of the Lanaudière Regional Hospital Center, including a nurse, insulting the patient with disparaging words. The two employees have since been fired and a public coroner’s inquest has been held.

The president of the Order of Nurses, Luc Mathieu, explained that the decision to publicly recognize systemic racism came from a task force created by the organization to ensure that no other Indigenous people are treated like the was Joyce Echaquan.

Ghislain Picard now hopes that the Order will officially adopt the “Joyce principle”. This declaration aims to guarantee all Aboriginal people a right of equitable access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services, while respecting the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal people in matters of health.

The government of François Legault, which does not recognize the existence of systemic racism in Quebec, has never formally adhered to this principle of Joyce.


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