The reserve requested all those body bags -

The reserve requested all those body bags

Health Canada was simply filling the order


Last month, when news broke that Health Canada had mailed dozens of body bags to a remote Manitoba reserve in preparation for the next wave of swine flu, the outrage was immediate. Jerry Knott, chief of the Wasagamack First Nation, personally returned some of the bags to bureaucrats in Winnipeg, while Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff demanded to know why Stephen Harper’s Conservatives “expect aboriginal Canadians to die.” Health Canada quickly apologized, saying it had “erred.” Well, it turns out that Ottawa didn’t err at all. According the findings of a much-anticipated investigation, the head of the community’s nursing station placed the order for 100 body bags on Aug. 12—but didn’t tell the chief. Health Canada was simply answering the request. “The person who placed the order made a bit of an error in requesting so much,” says Grand Chief Ron Evans, of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “Had this person consulted with community leadership, the chief would have known that this sort of shipment would frighten people.”

National Post

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The reserve requested all those body bags

  1. It's yet another sign of Ignatieff's bad judgment that he tried to make political hay out of the "body bag" story.

    • Oh this reflects badly on a hell of a lot more people than Ignatieff.

      Kinsella, the Chiefs, most of the media, and Aglukkaq (for throwing her department under the bus for no good reason) all look pretty stupid on this. Will any of them bother to apologize?

      • Probably not! I completely agree that this reflects poorly on everyone you mentioned.

  2. I can't help but laugh at this giant facepalm.

  3. I think the Chief owes Harper an apology.

  4. I think the Chief owes Aglukkaq an apology.

  5. I think the Chief owes Aglukkaq and Harper an apology.

    • Or the head of the nursing station, given that the Chief apparently had no knowledge of this.

      • Sorry Sean, but I think the Chiefs were way out of line on this one. They could easily have asked their people and determined that the body bags were filling an order before running to the press to complain about the injustice of it all.

        • Fair enough. I guess I was wondering why the heck the person who filed the order didn't quickly get in touch with a media outlet to clear things up. But you're right, it would have been easy enough for the Chief to make a few calls and find out what was going on.

    • I was thinking the same thing. The employees of Health Canada deserve an aplogy from the Chief, the opposition parties, the media, and quite a lot of other people. They were thrown under the bus for sending exactly what was requested.

      What a shame. I doubt anybody will own up to being wrong though.

      • Including their own minister. Aglukkaq does not escape blame on this by any means.

  6. Given the brouhaha over this issue I would hope that this story would earn a more prominent place at Maclean' than being relegated to these back corners.

    The Conservatives would rightly have been dragged through the mud for trying to make partisan hay out of this story. I expect the same standard to be applied to everyone who rushed to take partisan shots at this without having the facts, whether they be Liberal, NDP, media, or native.

  7. Same as the big stink about Health Canada hesitating in sending alcohol based hand sanitizers to reserves. It's a well know fact that Native Leadership on some reserves have pleaded with the Feds for years not to send anything with alcohol or solvents. Of course none of this was mentioned by the lazy, "natives are always victims" CBC crowd. Just a perfect opportunity for that bunch to get back at the "Evil Harper" for expecting them to eke out an existance on a paltry 1.1 billion of taxpayer money. To john g: I can guarentee you not a word will be said about this on CBC. It just doesn't fit their two hobby horses: hard done by Indians and evil Tories. Cheers.

  8. Classic "Circle Sentencing " time for the Chief and Ignatieff.
    Political opportunism at it's finest, caring less about Canadians and First Nations then getting their headlines..

  9. The media have a lot to account for with this story – they did NO investigation and just went with the most hysterical person speaking – in this case Liberals and the FN chiefs because it make good headlines. A little investigation could have revealed how medical supplies are normally ordered (as in who is responsible such as the manager at a nursing station) and they could have followed that line of inquiry.

    It is one of the many reasons that traditional medias are largely losing ground as fewer and fewer readers are finding traditional media to be unreliable in providing anything beyond sports scores.

    While some are blaming the Health Minister I think she did the only thing that she could have given the onslaught from the Liberals, the FN chiefs and the media. If she hadn't held an investigation, we know what the next headline would have been – "Conservatives involved in cover-up over their death policy for First Nation reserves!"

  10. This revelation should be given as much media attention as it did the first time. But it won't because the media who feed off of hearsay and innuendo are going to make sure this disappears as quickly as possible. The Chiefs who are trying to soften the issue now should be chastized from every angle. In their search for every opportunity to throw out the race card this one makes them look like fools. Iggy continues to show everyone that he is merely a bumpkin and once again I say, when are the Liberals going to find themselves a legitimate leader. The Liberal old guard must be seeing the error of their ways by now and are desperately wondering what they should do next.

  11. Well, another day and not a word about this from the CBC, just as I predicted. That is astonishing because CBC radio in paticular seemingly cannot go 15 minutes without incorperating an Indian angle to every local, regional and national story, no matter what the topic. I swear they could be doing an item on Big Foot and somehow it would be spun as a native injustice issue. Big Foot, another neglected Aborigional…who knew? I can also assure you that if I wrote this on the CBC website it would never see the light of day as Big Brother screens every posting for political correctness. But I digress. Cheers.

  12. it is rumored that every health center in every town city and village has received body bags…that being told why pick on the reservations and its people?
    another question remember these words by delford t louis…these people never asked to be put on reservations!!! how does that grab your wet socks? injustice is created by the collective…