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Quebec Premier Francois Legault to formally apologize to Joyce Echaquan’s family

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he will present an official apology today to the family of an Indigenous woman who filmed staff insulting her as she lay dying in a hospital northeast of Montreal last week.

The apology on behalf of the Quebec government comes on the same day as a private funeral is scheduled for Joyce Echaquan in the Atikamekw community of Manawan, about 250 kilometres north of Montreal.

Legault said on Twitter that Quebec’s public service failed in its duty to care for Echaquan, who died in what he described as horrible circumstances.

The mother of seven died in a hospital in Joliette, soon after she filmed herself in distress and pleading for help in a video that also captured hospital staff making degrading comments about her.

Legault met with the grand chief of the Atikamekw Nation on Monday, where he promised better training throughout the hospital network as well as a public awareness campaign on the importance of fighting racism.

But while his government has taken action that includes opening a public inquiry into Echaquan’s death, the premier has consistently maintained that systemic racism doesn’t exist in Quebec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct 6, 2020

The Canadian Press

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