Office of the Official Opposition 

More bodies in new freezers not a solution: Petten



For Immediate Release

(July 3, 2024 St. John’s, N.L.): Today, Barry Petten, PC Shadow Minister for Health and MHA for Conception Bay South, expressed outrage at the news that the Furey Liberals are building new freezer storage units in a hospital parking garage to store unclaimed bodies from the morgue.

Petten was reacting to the latest media story about expanded freezer storage in a parking garage to deal with unclaimed bodies at the province’s morgue at the Health Sciences Center (HSC). The province made national headlines in March when CBC News first reported that 28 bodies were being stored outside the HSC.

"This is completely outrageous," said Petten. "Rather than spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on new freezers and equipment, why not give these people a proper burial?  While the Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development (CSSD) indicated in February that he was reviewing the situation, we have not heard a peep as bodies pile up."

Petten pointed out that recent media reports highlight financial barriers as the primary reason bodies remain unclaimed. Instead of increasing the storage capacity for these bodies, he suggested that the Furey Liberals should review the CSSD guidelines. They should also ensure that the Public Trustee, appointed when a body goes unclaimed, has the necessary resources to provide a dignified burial.

"Simply moving the issue out of sight in a parking garage will not solve the problem," added Petten. "We need strong leadership in government to stop spending more money treating the problem; let's provide the necessary resources to fix the problem!"

"Governing is about choices. A 2017 report into the Office of the Medical Examiner identified space and infrastructure as critical deficiencies. Seven years later, it is truly sad that the Furey Liberals would rather spend a dubious $171,000 on a soccer team in the United Kingdom than ensure our residents have a dignified burial."