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Supreme Court says Krever can lay blame

A new disease was threatening the Canadian blood supply in the early 1980s: AIDS. But the Canadian Red Cross was slow to introduce donor screening methods and even slower to test the blood. With the Krever Commission, those infected by the AIDS virus and hepatitis C found a compassionate ear and the answers they sought about who was to blame for this public health scandal.

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It's been a long fight for Janet Conners. She and her husband Randy, who has since died, were among the first witnesses to testify at the Krever Inquiry. Now she can see it through to the end. The Supreme Court has ruled that Krever can draw conclusions about who was at fault for the contamination of Canada's blood supply. But, as a CBC reporter points out, Krever has been directed to avoid language that could be a finding of civil or criminal liability.
• The court challenge to stop Krever from naming names first went to the Federal Court of Canada in May 1996 and was dismissed a month later. Some of the parties challenged that decision in the Federal Court of Appeal. In January 1997, the Federal Court of Appeal rejected all the parties' appeals but one. The unsuccessful parties appealed once more to the Supreme Court, which dismissed their appeals and paved the way for Krever to release his report.

• Janet Conners and her husband Randy, a hemophiliac, were both diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s. In late 1992, they began pushing for compensation from their home province of Nova Scotia. Months later, the province agreed despite a pact among all the provinces not to pay compensation to people infected with HIV through the blood system. The remaining provinces shortly followed suit.

• Randy Conners died in September 1994. Janet went on to be a prominent AIDS activist and educator in Nova Scotia and is healthy as of June 2011.
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 26, 1997
Guest(s): Janet Conners, Gene Durnin, Pierre Lavigne, Durhane Wong-Rieger
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Susan Harada
Duration: 2:37

Last updated: October 2, 2014

Page consulted on October 2, 2014

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