WINNIPEG – Two men who say they were switched at birth at the Norway House Indian Hospital say they need to know how it could have happened.
“Forty years gone by. I don’t know. Just distraught, confused, angry… We want answers. We want answers so bad,” David Tait Jr. said through tears at a new conference Friday.
Tait and Leon Swanson were born three days apart in 1975 at the Norway House Indian Hospital.
The pair grew up close friends, doing everything together.
“We always had BB guns, went hunting back in the back bush, all kinds of games. We were always outdoors. We were just lucky enough to be hanging out with each other the whole time and we still have that bond today. We were pretty much family from the beginning, I guess,” he said.
But Tait’s sister Jennifer says there were always rumours in the community about her brother and the boy who looked more like he belonged in her family.
“The way he was always being teased, and for Leon, ‘oh, he looks more like you. He looks more like the other brother’… he was always called down. We never let it bother us until now that it has been proven,” she said.
A DNA test has shown Tait belongs in the Swanson family. Swanson is awaiting his results.
This is the second alleged case of babies being switched in the Norway House Hospital in the same year. Last November, Luke Monias and Norman Barkman revealed they were born at the same hospital in the same year, but went home to Garden Hill First Nation with the wrong families.
Former Manitoba Aboriginal Affairs Minister Eric Robinson says an investigation needs to be done into how this happened, whether something criminal occurred, and the possibility that there are other cases.
“We can live with one mistake, but two mistakes of a similar nature is not acceptable,” he said.
Health Minister Jane Philpott says the circumstances are appalling and Ottawa is taking steps to set up a third-party investigation.