Manitoba

RCMP investigating 2 switched-at-birth cases at Norway House hospital

The RCMP have launched an investigation into two separate cases of babies being switched at birth at the Norway House Indian Hospital in northern Manitoba 41 years ago.

Health Canada also reviewing the cases involving births at northern Manitoba hospital in 1975

Leon Swanson weeps at a press conference in Winnipeg on Aug. 26. Swanson and David Tait Jr. were switched at birth in 1975 when their mothers gave birth at Norway House Indian Hospital. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

The RCMP have launched an investigation into two separate cases of babies being switched at birth at the Norway House Indian Hospital in northern Manitoba 41 years ago.

The police force announced the investigation on Friday into the two cases, which happened at the federally run hospital in 1975. 

"The RCMP has an obligation to the families involved and to the public to determine if the incidents at the Norway House Indian Hospital were accidental or criminal in nature," the police force said in a statement.

Norman Barkman and Luke Monias learned last year that they had been raised by each other's parents, while Leon Swanson and David Tait Jr. made the same discovery this year.

Swanson (left) sits next to former Keewatinook NDP member of the legislature Eric Robinson and David Tait Jr. (right) at a news conference in Winnipeg on Aug. 26. (Cam MacIntosh/CBC)

Swanson and Tait were born three days apart — Swanson on Jan. 31, 1975, and Tait on Feb. 3, 1975 — at the Norway House Indian Hospital.

Both men know each other and were raised and continue to live in Norway House, a remote community about 460 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Monias and Barkman were born at the same hospital on June 19, 1975, and grew up as friends in the Garden Hill First Nation, also in northern Manitoba.

DNA tests confirmed that in both cases the men had been switched at birth.

Health Canada is conducting a separate investigation into the cases.

After Swanson and Tait came forward in August, the federal department said it would offer free DNA tests to others who suspect they may have been switched at birth at the Norway House Indian Hospital.

Barkman, Monias, Swanson and Tait will meet face to face with federal Health Minister Jane Philpott to request funding for counselling and other support services.

Norman Barkman, left, and Luke Monias speak to reporters on Nov. 13, 2015, in Winnipeg, after the two friends from the Garden Hill First Nation learned they had been switched at birth. (Cameron MacIntosh/CBC)

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