US & Canada

Canadians switched at birth in second case at hospital

David Tait and Leon Swanson, both close to tears Image copyright CBC News
Image caption David Tait Jr (L) and Leon Swanson choked back tears at an emotional press conference

Two men in a remote community in Canada have found out they were switched at birth 41 years ago.

Leon Swanson and David Tait Jr know each other and continue to live in the same town of 5,000 people, who are mostly indigenous from the Cree Nation.

This is the second such case to come to light in a year.

Canada's health minister said it was an "important reminder" of the "urgent need to provide all indigenous people with high-quality health care".

Mr Tait and Mr Swanson were swapped in the government-run Norway House Hospital in 1975.

DNA testing has confirmed that they were sent home with each other's biological parents shortly after they were born.

Close to tears at a press conference, Mr Tait said he felt "distraught, confused and angry". He said: "I want answers so bad. It's going to affect us one way or the other, I know that. It's going to be a long journey."

He said the people who raised him "would always be (his) mom and dad, regardless" but he "got another brother, another mom and dad".

David Tait Sr said the families would be brought closer together by the new information. "We agreed we are going to be one family."

Mrs Tait said that all the parents involved would "like to continue treating them as their own sons".

'Criminal'

In November, local government officials said two other men at the same hospital were also switched at birth in the same year.

Luke Monias and Norman Barkman's case prompted Mr Tait and Mr Swanson to have their DNA tested.

Eric Robinson, a former cabinet minister in Manitoba province, told reporters: "The federal government owes these people.

"What happened to them is criminal. Lives were stolen. You can't describe it as anything less than that."

Health Minister Jane Philpott said the health department would start an independent investigation to try and determine whether there are any other cases of baby-switching that have not yet been exposed.

Canada has 1.4 million indigenous people from a variety of tribes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to bring about "full reconciliation" with indigenous people after the education system tried to weaken their culture for decades.

Related Topics

More on this story