A year after the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan, Barbara Flamand, the former cultural security officer at the Lanaudière hospital center, still feels “guilty” of the death of Ms. Echaquan.
The Atikamekw woman, who resigned her post after the death of Ms. Echaquan, was on the verge of tears when she arrived at the commemoration site in Joliette on Tuesday morning. ” My heart is broken. I shut myself up for a year. “
Ms. Flamand is convinced that she could have made a difference, if she had been called to accompany Ms. Echaquan, as the staff should have done. Rather, she had been prevented from doing her job, keeping her away until it was too late, she had told to To have to last February.
According to her, his presence could have made all the difference. “She would be alive today,” she said painfully Tuesday morning. I feel guilty. I should have been there. “
Very shaken, Mrs. Flamand took the path to the large garden behind the hospital to join the hundred or so guests gathered to underline the sad event.
Joyce Echaquan’s family gathered inside the hospital center in the morning on Tuesday. A little before noon, a spiritual ceremony began under a large white marquee erected in the garden. Public speeches are scheduled outside the hospital after this private ceremony.
Joyce Echaquan’s husband, Carol Dubé, will speak, as will the Chief of Manawan, Paul-Émile Ottawa, and the Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation, Constant Awashish. They will read in particular a text in honor of the deceased.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière and Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault are both present at the ceremony.
For the family lawyer, Me Patrick Martin-Ménard, the ceremony is an opportunity to honor the memory of Joyce Echaquan, but also to launch a political message. ” [Il faut] remind politicians of the demands the family have made that have yet to be granted to recognize systemic racism and the Joyce Principle. “
According to him, it is time to go beyond words. “The political will expressed in words does not always translate into concrete actions, and we have seen very few concrete actions since the last year,” he said.
However, he admits that several changes have taken place at the Joliette hospital – the ex-CEO was notably fired and the new leadership is working closely with the community of Manawan to make a difference – but there is still “a lot of work to be done,” he said.
The lawyer, who anxiously awaits the report ofcoroner’s inquest Géhane Kamel, has never hidden his intention to take legal action on behalf of the family, but he refuses to say more at this time, deeming the timing not appropriate. “I also wanted to underline the courage and resilience shown by the family,” he added before also taking the path to the garden.
Evenings will be held this evening, notably in Joliette and in Montreal, at Place Émilie-Gamelin.