Living/Working June 10, 2022

Living/Working

June 10, 2022

Lawsuit of the week: B.C. faces lawsuit over alleged inaction surrounding racism against Indigenous peoples in hospitals

Chung Chow, BIV

A class of Indigenous people is suing the B.C. government, claiming in a class action lawsuit that the province has allegedly failed to deal with decades of systemic racism in the health-care system. 

In a notice of civil claim filed on May 27 under the Class Proceedings Act, lead plaintiff Candice Patrick claims Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Metis and Inuit people face “widespread racism” when trying to access hospital services in British Columbia. 

Patrick, who lives in Houston, B.C., claims Indigenous peoples are “subjected to humiliating, demeaning, and sub-standard hospital care,” and are treated differently than non-Indigenous peoples due to their “race, colour, or ethnic origin” in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

According to the claim, the provincial government has been aware of the problem since at least 2005 after being urged by the BC First Nations Leadership Council to take action against systemic racism in the province’s hospitals. Back then, the council advocated for “cultural competency training” for health-care professionals to mitigate the discriminatory treatment Indigenous peoples face when trying to access health-care services. 

A year later, the lawsuit says, the province released a “First Nations Health Plan,” committing to developing training programs and signed a memo in recognition of “the need to ensure equitable and culturally sensitive access to health services” for Indigenous peoples. 

But the training program developed by the province wasn’t mandatory for hospital workers, and the class action claims the government has failed to take meaningful action to improve the “patient experience” for Indigenous peoples. 

Meanwhile, in November 2020, the province released a damning report entitled In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care. The report, the claim says, revealed that Indigenous peoples faced “widespread stereotyping, racism, and discrimination” when trying to access hospital services. In June 2021, the B.C. government released an “action plan” to deal with the issue, finding that the In Plain Sight report offered a “blueprint for action to address systemic racism” in B.C. health care.

“Despite being aware – for decades – of the significant problem of racism against Indigenous peoples within British Columbia’s hospital system, the defendant has failed to take timely and appropriate steps to eliminate or reduce the problem,” the lawsuit states. “The failure on the part of the defendant to address widespread Indigenous-specific racism in the hospital system has caused the issue to become deeply rooted and systemic.”  

The lawsuit details lead plaintiff Patrick’s experience in June 2020 when she went to Bulkley Valley District Hospital in Smithers after having surgery. She had severe abdominal pain, but the hospital allegedly failed to do blood tests and imaging that would’ve revealed a serious post-surgical complication. Instead, Patrick claims she was accused of “drug-seeking” due to her Indigenous background leaving her “humiliated and distrustful.” 

 “Had the plaintiff not been Indigenous, further testing would likely have been carried out, and her treatment would not have been provided in a demeaning and racist manner,” the claim states.

Patrick seeks class certification, damages for Charter violations, and declarations that the B.C. government is obligated to “reasonably ensure” that Indigenous peoples can access non-discriminatory health-care services. 

The allegations have not been proven or tested in court, and the provincial government had not responded to the lawsuit by press time.

 
Leading

Recommendations, yes, apologies, no, in wake of heat dome tragedy

For almost all of the 619 victims of last June’s heat dome, the blazing temperature outdoors didn’t kill them. 

Solitude indoors did. 

Their immobility contributed.

Their age, their poverty, their frayed underlying health abetted. 

They perished because their living quarters became ovens.

Because most didn’t have fans, much less air conditioners.

Because many lacked the physical or cognitive means to escape peril. 

Because many reached out to say they were unwell and weren’t helped.

Because less than half of them were even checked upon for wellness.

Because most who could even get an ambulance didn’t make it to the hospital.

Because a doubly-busy 911 gave some a busy signal.

Because even bearing multiple chronic diseases, not even the medical professionals that most had seen in the last month thought to call on them. 

Nor, for that matter, did any of us who knew them.

The report in recent days from the provincial coroner’s “death review panel” spreads enough blame for the heat-related fatalities to make it impossible to single out a clear culprit. It was systemic fault.

The findings are an enervating 33 pages of advice and 23 pages of appendices. It constantly prodded me to wonder why we hadn’t thought of doing all of this self-evident support earlier and worry that perhaps we had but just didn’t bother.

The province’s chief coroner tapped pretty much all the expert fields that somehow couldn’t cope then but claim to have learned enough to be ready if, probably when, there is a next time: emergency management, medicine, public health, First Nations health, seniors, city and municipal planning, health administration, poverty reduction, patient safety, policy, research, housing, police, fire and ambulance services. 

Before we get to the prescriptive windshield, let’s cast our eyes on the diagnostic rear-view mirror and at one piece of that well-travelled road. 

Most stunning for me was that these victims were on the one hand well-known to authorities but on the other hand poorly designated as priorities for emergency help.

Some 91 per cent were on at least one health ministry chronic disease registry, more than 80 per cent of them were on three or more, more than one-third on six to nine of them. More than two-thirds had such conditions as heart failure, osteoarthritis or Parkinson’s disease. Nearly two-thirds had mood or anxiety disorders, dementia or schizophrenia.

Yet the report revealed that these registries don’t include clinical diagnoses. Each registry defines its own criteria for inclusion from the tabulated administrative data. Damned little good that seems to have done.

One other terrible set of statistics reflects those days of chaos.

Of the 619 deaths, there had been 447 calls for an ambulance; the other 172 were later discovered.

Of those 447 calls, 332 ambulances were dispatched; the other 115 had earlier died.

Of those 332 ambulances dispatched, 277 were pronounced dead upon arrival or died at the scene.

Of the remaining 55, they made it to hospital, only to die later.

Another well-chronicled matter bears reminding: the federal Environment and Climate Change department had issued a heat warning, and the province and communities were simply lead-footed in responding soon enough.

The report concluded there are three key needs: a co-ordinated heat alert system, the identification and support of vulnerable populations during extreme heat events and prevention and risk-mitigation strategies. 

There are 14 priority actions out of these recommendations, many of them quickies before the next expected bout of hot weather in late July, like a better heat alert system and stronger co-ordination, and some longer-term advice, like improved codes for construction of cooler buildings and plans for canopy in cities.

One recommendation that rings smart is for cooling devices as medical equipment for the most vulnerable, something done elsewhere that could easily be implemented but instead will be studied. 

To some credit, the John Horgan government outlined next steps one day before the report was issued: it’s moving ahead on a better warning system, making a commitment to more ambulance services and planning to move more people to cooler places when temperatures rise dangerously.

But, true to form for most governments, nowhere in the last year or even in the last week has been basic contrition: an admission of administrative failure to contend even with a relatively slow-moving disaster like a days-long descent into hellish temperatures.

While the provincial statement on the debacle included bromides of “our hearts go out” and “it was clear we needed to work together to be prepared,” there was no “we are sorry we weren’t ready” or “we bear responsibility for losses of life,” much less a “we are resigning out of shame for what happened.”

The BC Liberals, not so long ago in charge of that same system, nevertheless noted the premier’s verbal blunders of last June: his ill-considered off-script quip that “fatalities are a part of life” (a gaffe he tried to walk back) and that amid the systemic dysfunction there was “an element of personal responsibility” to blame.

True, that. None of us deserves absolution. We can all be deemed complicit, because we had systematically, indifferently made those victims invisible to live out their lives, having failed to build viably their conditions of safety. 

But no political leader can have it both ways. Administration of public safety confers all-in responsibility for it. You can’t choose when to sheepishly pass the buck and bray that the buck stops with you – even when the covenant with the public sees it pay so others can look after what we cannot, do not or will not.

None of us had insight into where those vulnerable citizens were, how seriously they were threatened, and what might have been done to bring them to safety. 

That, I am afraid to say today, is what a publicly administered health system is supposed to be underwritten by us to record, monitor, and keep safe. 

And it didn’t. And its political overlords just won’t say sorry. •

Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-chief of BIV and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media

 
Spending

'Riverdale' filming locations you can spot in and around Vancouver

The increasingly bizarre show may be leaving The CW, but Vancouverdale remains! See some of the show's most iconic spots

Riverdale's favorite son Archie Andrews lives in this (yellow) Vancouver home | Photo: Google Street View

Archie and the gang might be leaving the airwaves after Season 7 ends in 2023, but the Metro Vancouver backdrop that plays Riverdale ain't goin’ nowhere. Take yourself on a little tour around town to these recognizable Riverdale spots and gear up for the show’s last (and hopefully most ridiculous) season.  

Riverdale High  

Officially opened in 1925, Lord Byng Secondary serves as the slightly foreboding exterior for Riverdale High. Most of the interior shots of the school are filmed not far away at Point Grey Secondary (5350 East Blvd). 

Address: 3939 W 16th Ave., Vancouver

Archie Andrews' house 

That rascal Archie lives just a few blocks off The Drive. His yellow house with five bedrooms and four bathrooms was recently valued at nearly two and a half million dollars. That’s a lot of house for just Arch and father Fred. 

Address: 2037 E 3rd Ave., Vancouver

The Lodge’s lodgings 

Veronica’s lavish and lair-like apartment named The Pembrooke is actually downtown’s The Permanent. This heritage building was built over a century ago as the BC Permanent & Loan Company and now serves as a wedding and event venue. You could get hitched under the Lodge family's very own beautiful stained-glass atrium. 

Address: 330 W Pender St., Vancouver

Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe 

1

Rocko's Diner in Mission, B.C. will be familiar to Riverdale fans. Rocko's Diner/Facebook

OK, so this isn’t technically in Vancouver but it’s not Riverdale without the iconic Pop’s! You’ll have to make the trip out to Mission to one of B.C.’s last free-standing diners, Rocko’s. This retro spot served as the interior for the Riverdale pilot and dishes up diner classics, including Archie inspired items. Open 24-hours, Rocko’s would surely satiate Jughead’s insistent appetite.  

Address: 32786 Lougheed Highway, Mission

Betty Cooper’s home 

The quintessential girl-next-door doesn’t live very much next door. Located in New Westminster, Betty’s house is a bit of a commute from her high school and her friend’s digs. We know it’s just a show, but why does Betty have to live in the ‘burbs? 

Address: 111 Queens Ave., New Westminster

Football field 

The Riverdale Bulldogs appear to practice and play at Surrey's Bear Creek Park. The team and accompanying cheerleaders were spotted at the field filming early last year.  

Address: 13750 88 Ave., Surrey

Vancouver Is Awesome

 

 
Spending

5 things you (probably) didn't know about Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach has had a busy 140 years

Clockwise from top left: A church picnic at Jerry Rogers' house in 1888, aviators at the Jericho Beach base circa 1930, Cable arrives in Deadpool 2, a rabbit at the beach | Photos: City of Vancouver Archives/benedek/iStock/GettyImages PlusGetty Images/Paramount

Vancouver is a city of beaches.

Each shore seems to have its own history, often stretching back millennia as sites of local First Nations villages.

One of these beaches is Jericho. Located in the Kitsilano/Point Grey border zone, it's one of three in a stretch that heads west with Locarno and Spanish Banks following. It's a good stretch of shore.

All this you probably know.

You also probably know it's got a colony of cute, but invasive rabbits: don't feed them. While the rabbits are part of the beach's recent history, let's take a look a little further back.

1. It was the site of a Musqueam village

Called Ee’yullmough (or Iy̓ál̓mexw according to the Squamish atlas), the village stood at the site that's now known as Jericho Beach long before any settlers set up in the area, and the land would have looked significantly different at the time.

Recently Ee’yullmough has come up again as part of the Jericho Lands development discussion.

2. The name has nothing to do with Jericho, the city

It's not exactly clear where the name came from, but the name Jericho Beach definitely originates with Jeremiah 'Jerry' Rogers.

A logger, Rogers ran his operations from the shore at the beach. The company was known as Jerry & Co. and the area may have been known as Jerry's Cove. It's believed the Jericho comes from one of those two names getting run together.

3. It was the site of one of the first golf courses in Western North America

The first golf club in Canada was founded in 1873, and it became popular in eastern Canada before arriving out west.

In 1892, though, three Vancouver businessmen decided it was time Vancouver had a club and course, and founded the Jericho Golf Club. It was a nine-hole course and soon saw overcrowding, and may have been the first organized golf club west of the Mississippi

4. There was a military airbase there

For decades Jericho Beach wasn't a place to sunbathe, but rather to pull a seaplane ashore.

Originally founded as a government flying boat station, the military ran RCAF Station Jericho Beach there from the 1920s through WW2. It expanded during the war (including taking over the golf course) and the army took much of the land over. The air base on the shore was shut down and the hangars were left behind by the air force.

While most of the site is devoid of the base that once was, the Jericho Arts Centre is still there; the building used to be the RCAF rec hall, and hosted dances for pilots and locals. 

5. Hippies took it over, and the police and army forced them out

Former Vancouver Mayor Tom Campbell famously didn't care for the hippy movement, so when up to 400 hippies moved into the leftover barracks from the airbase and called it Cool-Aid, he decided something had to be done. 

On Oct. 2, 1970 the site was ordered evacuated. On Oct. 15 police officers and soldiers were called in. It took them more than three hours to push them out.

And that's how the hostel at Jericho Beach was founded.

Bonus

This isn't an amazing fact, but if you saw Deadpool 2, did you notice where Cable arrived when he made it to the current time?

Vancouver Is Awesome

 

 
Spending

Playland's summer glow-up and newest ride will have you screaming

Out with the old and in with the new!

Playland at the PNE is opening for the summer in June 2022. The amusement park is getting a new ride, reopening the wooden rollercoaster, and saying goodbye two rides | Photo: PNE/Playland

Adrenaline junkies and roller coaster enthusiasts, get ready for your next thrills. 

Playland at the PNE officially opens for the summer on June 18

The iconic amusement park has been getting ready for its own hot girl summer, revealing a major glow-up with a new ride and upgrades to one of its most iconic coasters.

The park's newest Italian-made ride dubbed 'Skybender' is set to open in early July and will take riders, one at a time, through lights, action, accelerations and gravity drops.

“Skybender is unlike anything currently available in Canada and is one of the few rides anywhere in the world offering a single rider experience," says PNE President and CEO Shelley Frost. 

The much-beloved wooden roller coaster has also undergone a major revamp. Considered one of the greatest wooden rollercoasters in the world, Playland's iconic Coaster has been upgraded with an extensive retrofit to meet incoming safety standards despite still being made entirely out of wood.

The wooden coaster is set to open early to mid-July, according to Playland.

Fans of the classic Music Express and the Crazy Beach Party rides may need to brace themselves for some not-so-happy news. The two rides have entered into retirement this summer. 

Vancouver Is Awesome

 
Exploring

What are we reading? June 9, 2022

Photo: Selimaksan, Getty Images

Each week, BIV staff will share with you some of the interesting stories we have found from around the web.

 

Timothy Renshaw, managing editor:

Of scams and survivors: a fresh entry in a-sucker-born-every-minute file, the Federal Trade Commission recently released an analysis of money lost by consumers in cryptocurrency flim-flams, a rapidly growing arena for fraudsters, cheats and shysters. Can't blame them for slithering into the cryptocurrency swamp when a billion dollars or so has been bilked out of unsuspecting and likely ill-informed crypto-investors.

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2022/06/new-analysis-finds-consumers-reported-losing-more-1-billion-cryptocurrency-scams-2021?utm_source=govdelivery

 

From suckers to survivors: this survivor in the Chilean Andes at last count was set to celebrate its 5,400th birthday. – Science Alert

https://www.sciencealert.com/new-estimates-on-the-age-of-a-huge-tree-in-chile-could-make-it-a-record-breaker

 

And this restaurant in Madrid is closing in on its 300th year in business. No word on whether it is having trouble securing enough staff to make it to 300. – Tasting Table

https://www.tastingtable.com/888717/this-may-be-the-worlds-oldest-restaurant/

 

Nelson Bennett, reporter:

With the prospect of the war in Ukraine spreading, NATO members, especially in Europe, have been beefing up military budgets. But of the 30 NATO member states that agreed in 2006 and again in 2014 to spend 2% of their GDP on military, only 10 are spending 2% or more. Canada remains a laggard. A new report by the Parliamentary Budget office says Canada only spends 1.4% of GDP on its military, and would need to increase its military spending by $75 billion by 2027 to meet the 2% commitment. – PBO

https://distribution-a617274656661637473.pbo-dpb.ca/2e61c150ee17ee7fc0594b3c01632c13ffb4dcb4d848b9f259a81a318d997a3c