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Ministry of Health

Earlier this week, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond published her findings of an investigation into racism within the BC Healthcare system.

While a ‘price is right’ style game of guessing the blood alcohol level of indigenous patients in the ER was not substantiated, Turpel-Lafond’s report found widespread racism in BC’s Healthcare System.

“I did look closely at whether or not there is instances or allegations of indigenous specific racism and I did find widespread direct personal racism towards indigenous people in BC,” said Turpel-Lafond.

“We found clear evidence of a much more wide-spread problem, which I call a lack of cultural safety and hundreds of examples of prejudice and racism throughout the system,” added Turpel-Lafond. “It doesn’t mean that every indigenous person who gets healthcare today will experience direct or indirect racism, but it does mean that any indigenous person could experience today in the system.”

Chief of the Upper Nicola Band Harvey McLeod spoke with Q101 News to share his reaction to the report.

“It wasn’t a surprise, the findings of the report. I knew that there were issues and problems in the system itself from either personal experience or family experience. But I was kind of shocked at the extent of the issues that were found,” began McLeod.

“I’m really encouraged by the report. It does cover the issues yes, but what’s more important is that it gives recommendations on how we can address the issues in our health system,” added McLeod.

Turpel-Lafond made 24 recommendations within her report to the Provincial Government.

“I know that people of this community and other communities were relieved that they were heard and that we’re doing something about it,” said McLeod.

Asked if he believed the recommendations if followed, would lead to substantive change, McLeod was optimistic.

“Yes, I do. And it’s going to be the start of a change in a whole new relationship with the government,” explained McLeod.

“As a people that have been challenged, generation after generation, there is some renewed hope that there will be acceptance and equality amongst the citizens of this great country of ours,” concluded McLeod.


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On Twitter: @Q101Merritt

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