A statement from the Health Minister.
“During a conference call with First Nations organizations yesterday morning it was brought to my attention that there were reports out of Manitoba that Health Canada had delivered body bags to a remote First Nation Community in that province as part of H1N1 preparations for the Fall.”
“What happened is unacceptable. It was insensitive and offensive. As Minister of Health and as an aboriginal I am offended. To all who took offence at what occurred, I want to say that I share your concern and I pledge to get to the bottom of it. I have ordered my Deputy Minister to conduct a thorough and immediate inquiry into the situation. I will make the result of the inquiry public. I will continue to work with First Nations communities and the provinces and territories to ensure all Canadians are informed and protected against H1N1.
“I was born and raised in remote communities and I understand the challenges better then anyone – that’s why I have met frequently with First Nations organizations. Anyone suggesting that our Government’s solution to H1N1 is body bags is sensationalizing this situation.
“There is strong co-operation taking place with First Nations people at the community, regional and national levels, as well as with provinces and territories, to ensure that all Canadians are informed of and protected from the H1N1flu virus. As Health Minister I am fully committed to these efforts.”