The death of Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Indigenous woman who died last month at the Centre hospitalier régional de Lanaudière in Joliette, has sparked shock and anger that is rippling throughout the country. On Wednesday, Joyce Echaquan's husband, Carol Dubé, released a video in which he expressed gratitude for people who have sent prayers and support to his family.
"From myself and my seven children, I would like to thank everyone for your prayers you have sent me, for your sympathy — everything you're doing for my family and my wife," said Dubé.
It's sad that it had to happen like this, but I know there is good on this planet.
"You have a very big heart and I will prove to you that I also have a big heart. Thank you, everyone. We are all sisters and brothers."
During a live-streamed video recorded from Joyce Echaquan's hospital bed, at least two hospital staff members can be heard shouting insults and racial slurs at her in the moments before she passed away.
Those employees have been fired and the provincial government has called for a coroner's inquiry.
A GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Echaquan’s loved ones has raised nearly $300,000.
Quebec Premier François Legault has apologized for the incident but has so far refused calls to recognize the existence of systemic racism in Quebec.
"We, the undersigned, demand that the Government of Quebec publicly reject, as of now, the idea of a mandatory vaccination passport and that it commit itself to do like the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, has done, that is to say, prohibit the obligation to present a vaccination passport in order to attend certain events and practice certain activities," the petition states.
Samson, a former Coalition Avenir Québec member who switched sides in June, held a press conference about the petition alongside Conservative Party of Quebec leader Eric Duhaime on August 12. They explained that the party had already collected 133,000 signatures on a previous petition that did not meet the criteria of the National Assembly.
"We reviewed the wording [...] So we're going to ask these hundreds of thousands of people to re-sign their petition on the National Assembly website, and we're going to invite Quebecers who don't agree with the vaccine passport to come forward as well," Samson said.
The petition, which was posted to the National Assembly website on August 12, had garnered more than 75,000 signatures at the time this article was published.
Mary Simon's approval rating is lower in Quebec compared to the rest of Canada, a poll released Wednesday showed, because the new governor general can't speak French.
An Angus Reid Institute poll of 2,049 Canadians found only 49% of Quebecers approve of her appointment compared to 74% of respondents in the rest of the country.
"Despite being from Nunavik (the Inuit homeland in Northern Quebec), and having been awarded the [province's] highest distinction, many Quebecers remain unconvinced Mary Simon is the best choice for governor general due to her lack of fluency in French," stated the Angus Reid Institute.
"Support is cleaved along linguistic divides in the only majority Francophone province in Canada," it continued, as only 40% of Quebecers whose first language is French approve of her appointment compared to 81% of English speakers.
Though Simon, the country's first Indigenous governor general, is not currently fluent in French, she has promised to learn, Angus Reid stated.
According to police, an investigation revealed that the pair were manufacturing and selling false certificates attesting to 750 hours of training, at a cost of $800 per certificate. Both suspects are now facing charges of fraud and the fabrication of false documents.
The SPVM said that help from the public led to the launch of a police investigation into the fraud case.
Anyone with information about criminal activity of the same nature can contact Info-Crime Montréal anonymously at 514-393-1133 or via the report form available on infocrimemontreal.ca.