Quebec election: Legault criticized for saying Quebec hospital's racism problem fixed

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MONTREAL — Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault is facing criticism for saying members of an Indigenous community want to reopen a debate about systemic racism rather than fix problems at a nearby hospital.

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade says the comments were nonsensical and are a sign of how disconnected Legault is from the realities faced by Indigenous people and other Quebecers.

Legault's comments came after members of the Atikamekw community reproached the incumbent premier for saying that racism problems have been solved at the Joliette, Que. hospital where Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, filmed nurses mocking her as she lay dying.

Echaquan's husband Carol Dubé says the deeper systemic issues have not been solved by what he described as surface-level changes at the hospital.

Québec Solidaire spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois says Legault's comments show a lack of sensitivity and compassion.

A coroner's investigation concluded that systemic racism at the hospital contributed to Echaquan's death, while Legault has denied that systemic racism exists in Quebec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press