Premier Stefanson says comment about his son’s hockey game was ‘inappropriate’

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson has come under fire for speaking out about her son’s hockey game in response to a question about a woman’s death during a hospital transfer.

Krystal Mousseau, 31, of Ebb and Flow First Nation, died last May before she could be moved from an intensive care unit in Brandon to an Ontario hospital during the third wave of the COVID pandemic. -19.

His death was declared a critical incident.

When asked by the opposition NPD earlier this week, Stefanson’s initial response was to talk about her own proud parenting moment.

Mousseau, herself a mother of two, had tested positive for COVID-19 and was on a ventilator. Amid a shortage of critical care beds across the province, the decision was made to airlift Mousseau to a hospital in Ottawa, but she died in Brandon on May 25 after an unsuccessful attempt to take her there. at the airport.

“Krystal Mousseau’s life mattered, her friends, family and children miss her dearly,” Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said during Question Period on Tuesday.

After learning that Manitoba’s chief medical examiner would not open an investigation into Mousseau’s death, Kinew questioned Stefanson, who was Minister of Health at the time, about the circumstances surrounding Mousseau’s care.

Stefanson first responded by talking about his son’s hockey game.

“It was a proud mom moment for me, it was a proud parent moment for my husband and I when we were at a hockey rink in Selkirk and Tommy and his high school team were playing, the St. Paul’s Crusaders, and they defeated the Westwood Warriors to become Manitoba’s provincial high school hockey champions,” Stefanson said.

Kinew pushed back against the premier’s response with his next question and continued to push for answers.

“Krystal Mousseau’s children will not be able to have their mother in the important moments of their lives,” Kinew said.

Stefanson eventually responded and said his initial response fell under procedural practices.

“Members opposite know that sometimes in our first questions we have the freedom as leaders to be able to address other issues,” Stefanson told the Legislative Assembly.

But on Thursday, amid growing backlash, the prime minister apologized in a prepared statement.

“First and foremost, my thoughts are with Krystal Mousseau’s family as they mourn the loss of a loved one,” Stefanson said. “I recognize that the timing of my comment about my family was out of place, and for that, I sincerely apologize.”

Kinew, who spoke to Mousseau’s family, had little to say about the Prime Minister’s remarks specifically, but with an investigation out of the question, he is now calling on the Progressive Conservative government to hold a investigation to further examine the circumstances of Mousseau’s death.

A letter from Prairie Mountain Health to Mousseau’s family revealed there were issues with his care.

“The public interest is for us to find out the truth about what happened here and who should be held accountable,” Kinew told reporters on Thursday.

The letter from Prairie Mountain Health says that since Mousseau’s death, the contracted airline provider has indicated that it has implemented additional training and education.

The letter also said the equipment is being standardized across health care facilities across the province.

Catherine J. Martinez