APTN National News
The family of Brian Sinclair and multiple Aboriginal organizations have withdrew from an inquest into the Aboriginal man’s death because the courts have refused to address “systemic racism” in the Manitoba healthcare system according a statement released Tuesday.
Sinclair’s family said they’ll sit out “Phase 2” as they have lost confidence in the process, but will still submit closing submissions.
While, Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and Ka Ni Kanichihk both said Tuesday they will no longer be part of the inquest at all according to a statement issued by ALST.
“ALST did not make this decision lightly. ALST got involved in this case because we thought it was important to provide an Aboriginal perspective and to share expertise about the experiences of Aboriginal patients to address best practices for providing care to our community. Unfortunately the inquest is now focused on patient flow,” said Christa Big Canoe, legal advocacy director of ALST.
Sinclair, 45, died in a Manitoba hospital waiting room after being ignored for 34 hours in September 2008.
The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs are also expected to pull out of the inquest that begins the second phase Tuesday.
Big Canoe said witnesses have testified that staff at the Health Sciences Center assumed Sinclair was intoxicated and homeless.
Nurses testified they didn’t see Sinclair but video evidence shows them walking by the dying man sitting in a wheelchair.
To prevent similar deaths from happening Judge Raymond Wyant ruled in 2009 that racism, poverty and disability would play a large role in the inquest.
Big Canoe said that changed last month when the presiding judge on the inquest made a ruling that “significantly narrowed the scope of the next phase of the inquest” by determining one witness would be address Aboriginal peoples in the Manitoba health care system.