OTTAWA- Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the federal government is ready to use its financial leverage over the health system to fight anti-Indigenous racism in health care.
He says that includes promoting Indigenous health workers and calling out racism wherever it’s seen.
Miller says the treatment of Joyce Echaquan, who used her phone to livestream hospital staff using racist slurs against her as she lay dying in a Quebec hospital, is more evidence of the ways the system has failed Indigenous people for generations.
Miller says he and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett are holding an emergency meeting on the problem Friday with as many as 200 participants.
The goal is to hear from Indigenous people, including health professionals, who have lived through racist treatment in the health system while politicians like Miller and Bennett listen.
Miller says he doesn’t think it’s helpful to try to punish provinces for inadequate action on racism, especially in the middle of a pandemic, but the federal government has a moral duty to set and maintain standards.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2020.