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Investigation launched into alleged 'racist games' in B.C. hospitals

Premier John Horgan and Minister of Health Adrian Dix are both speaking out today against alleged 'racist games' being played in some B.C. emergency rooms, in which doctors/nurses would try to guess patients' blood alcohol levels, particularly those of Indigenous patients.

In a press conference Friday, Dix declined to identify which hospitals or where these alleged behviours took place, but said the investigation will be led by former child/youth advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. He also indicated that the reports of these behaviours came both from members of the community and people working within the system.

Horgan released the following statement Friday morning:

“I am outraged by reports of ugly, anti-Indigenous, racist behaviour at multiple health-care facilities in B.C. 

“This behaviour degrades the standards and provisions of health care in our province. It cannot stand. There is no excuse. There is no explaining this away.

“No one should fear discrimination when they need help the most. No one should worry that when they visit a hospital that they will be prejudged and given a lower standard of care. If confirmed, this is a heartbreaking example of systemic racism in our province.

“These serious allegations of unacceptable, dehumanizing behaviour will be thoroughly investigated by former justice Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. Health Minister Adrian Dix will work with Indigenous leaders and leaders in Indigenous health. He has my full support to ensure that the details of this case will be revealed and that the voices of anyone who has experienced this racist practice will be heard.

“This will not be swept aside. We will not look the other way when racism is exposed. We will get a full account and changes will be made.”