Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In the shadow of Canada's Palace of Human Rights

On a good day you or I could probably walk from the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre to the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights in about half an hour.

Brian Sinclair couldn't.  Brian is, or rather was, a 45 year old native dude with some serious health issues and no legs. He died in the waiting room of the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre five years ago. He had been waiting to see medical professionals for 36 hours before he was discovered dead. That's a day and a half waiting in Emergency.

They're having an inquest now, more than five years after the fact. All kinds of great stuff is coming out. Brian was the classic Indian drunk who caused his own demise. That's pretty much been the sum total of what's been discovered at the inquest so far, so it's no wonder that his family has given up.

By far the most telling quote from the story is this;

Rigor mortis had set in by the time he was discovered dead.

Discovered dead in Emerge after waiting a day and a half. If that was my Dad, my uncle, my brother, I'd be seriously pissed. He wasn't and I'm still pissed. Every Canadian deserves better than that. Christ, every human deserves better than that.

This story is about poverty and systemic racism and blaming the victim and the priorities of Canadian society. We can't afford health care for Brian Sinclair, but a short walk away we are erecting a Museum for Human Rights at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

What's wrong with that picture?

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