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Manitoba Premier Says the Timing of Her Remarks on Son’s Hockey Game Was Misplaced

March 17, 2022 6:15 PM | The Canadian Press

By Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press

Heather Stefanson

Heather Stefanson, Premier of Manitoba, speaks to the media at a press conference following a swearing-in ceremony for her cabinet at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski)

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson is apologizing for celebrating her son’s hockey victory while answering a question about a woman’s death.

The remarks were made this week during question period at the legislature.

Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew has been pushing for an inquest into the death of Krystal Mousseau, a COVID-19 patient who died last year while being transported out of the province for medical care.

Stefanson said she would reply to Kinew’s question, but took a moment to remark that her son’s high school hockey team had just won the provincial championship.

Kinew responded by saying Mousseau’s children will not be able to have her by their side at important family events.

Stefanson says her remarks were ill-timed and she is sorry.

“First and foremost, my thoughts go out to Krystal Mousseau’s family as they grieve the loss of their loved one,” Stefanson said in a prepared statement Thursday, two days after her remarks in the chamber.

“I recognize the timing of my comment about my family was misplaced, and for that I sincerely apologize.”

Mousseau was in intensive care at a hospital in Brandon at a time when the government was transferring patients out of province to free up beds. She died as she was being taken by ambulance to an airplane that was to take her to Ottawa.

A letter from the regional health authority to Mousseau’s family said the transport team did not have a piece of equipment that would let them constantly monitor Mousseau’s blood pressure, so a blood-pressure cuff was used instead.

Mousseau was also being given at least one medication at the wrong rate, the letter stated. The letter also referred to additional training given later to the company that provided the transport crew, although it did not go into detail.

Manitoba’s chief medical examiner has declined to call an inquest into her death. Kinew said the government should exercise its option to call a full public inquiry.

“There are serious concerns about the environment that led to (Mousseau’s) death, namely that there was not the right equipment or training among the staff,” Kinew said.

Stefanson has deferred to the chief medical examiner, who wrote to Kinew earlier this month that an inquest is not needed because the manner and cause of death are known.

Kinew said if an inquest can’t proceed, a public inquiry is needed to delve into whether the government had standards for the company it used to transport Mousseau and other patients.

“Manitobans should want to understand the truth of what happened here.”

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