Montreal, September 29, 2020 - This afternoon, L’R des centres de femmes du Québec issued a letter to the Québec Premier, François Legault, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, and the management of the CISSS de Lanaudière, to call out the inhuman treatment to which Joyce Echaquan was subjected at Joliette hospital last night and to demand that those responsible for her death be arrested and brought to trial.
“Joyce Echaquan died because she was an Indigenous woman. There is no doubt about this; hours prior to her death, racist comments from nurses on staff were recorded on video by Joyce herself,” decried L’R President Diane Messier. A year minus a day after the release of the report of the Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec, the criminal negligence that caused Joyce Echaquan’s death demonstrates yet again, and once too many, that systemic racism is still alive and well in our institutions.
The letter demands that the Premier immediately put an end to the violence perpetrated by employees of the state on Indigenous women and people of colour. L’R also expressed its support for the demands made by Joyce’s family, by the Manawan community, and the FAQ-QNW (Québec Native Women). The letter also invites L’R members and allied organizations to use it as a model so that they themselves may also call out this injustice to relevant parties. L’R is the largest coalition of feminist and autonomous community action organizations in the province. Per its letter, signed by its executive committee, L’R demands “that the Québec government immediately implement the demands made by these parties. […] [Joyce Echaquan’s] death must serve as an example for each and every member and employee of the state’s medical system. We support the firing of the nurse having caused Joyce’s death as well as the launch of an inquiry by the CISSS and the coroner but remind you that there cannot be two systems of justice. Murder is murder. Therefore, we demand that the nurses and staff of Joliette hospital responsible for Joyce Echaquan’s death be arrested and brought to trial.”