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Inquiry of Ministry - May 6, 2009 - The Honourable Senator Downe asked the Government of Canada to provide the cost of fighting against the Canadian Veterans' class action lawsuit, on January 26, 2009. The full question and the response, received on May 6th, can be read in this document.
Please watch the "Merchant Law Class Action" page for any pertinent updates as they become available.
It took time to develop the Protest Rally webpage and to put the video together from the video strips that were obtained. Both are now available by clicking on "Protest Rally - with Video" in the Menu list at the left...
A Protest Rally will begin in St. Stephen N.B. at the St Croix Public Library parking lot at 2 Budd Ave. on May 19, 2009 beginning at 1:30 PM.
The rally will then march to Greg Thompson’s, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Constituency office to demonstrate and present our demands between 2:15 PM. and 2:30 PM.
This protest rally is to advise the Harper government that Canadian veterans and the victims of the CFB Gagetown Agent Orange spraying program, as well as the general public, are unhappy with the government's coverup regarding chemical spraying at CFB Gagetown.
Taking part in this protest rally will be participants from across N.S., N.B., Ont., B.C., U.S.A. and other parts of the world.
In attendance will be guest speakers from:
The Military Widows on the Warpath.
Agent Orange Association of Canada ( AOAC).
Agent Orange Alert ( AOA ).
Politicians, Health and Environmental experts.
Full measurable accountability and justice is our motivation and a Full Judicial Public Inquiry into the Gagetown Atrocity is our mission.
We will not be denied.
Anyone who would like to support CFB Gagetown's Toxic Chemical Victims are encouraged to participate in this historic protest rally, either by joining with us in St Stephen N.B. or by e-mailing a letter of support to Gary Goode demanding a Full Judicial Public Inquiry.
For media inquires please contact.
Gary Goode, Box 301, Fernie B.C. V0B1M0
Legion Veterans, non Legion Veterans and Victims of Gagetown:
May 19th. 2009 a protest rally in St. Stephen, NB starting at 2:00P.M. is planned. ALL are invited to St. Stephen to support their fellow Veterans/Victims.
We ask that those in attendance act in a responsible and respectful manner.
There will be speakers and a 1 min of silence to show respect to those that have lost their lives.
A Demand Letter
will be presented to the office of Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs...
In the event that you can not attend, we respectively request that you draft a letter supporting your fellow Veterans demand for a Judicial Public Inquiry into the 28 year spraying of Agent Orange, Purple and White at CFB Gagetown NB and that you send this letter to Gary Goode for presentation at Greg Thompson's office in St Stephen NB on May the 19th.
Asking the tough questions
Re: Agent Orange compensation
Read it yourselves and comment
It's somewhat disconcerting that after almost four years of the Canadian Forces Base Gagetown story hitting the airwaves, reporters today are still misquoting, misdating and underestimating the events, the impact on the people and the toxic chemicals sprayed there.
Many reporters seem to be using the issue as an easy space filler which needs neither investigation nor accuracy.
Dates of the spraying, chemicals used, areas sprayed, spraying accidents, the government's inactions and number of possible victims, don't seem to matter as long as you quote some politician who knows even less about Gagetown than the reporter does.
In many cases, facts, which are well documented in the very same papers, are presenting incorrect information to the general public and being ignored.
Apparent facts found in the BGAFFP's task # 1 final report are that more than 7,000 regular military personnel were identified as being stationed at CFB Gagetown during summer training for the years 1966 and 1967 and that 358 civilians were identified as employed by CFB Gagetown during the years 1966 and 1967.
Eight hundred and six family members were identified who may have been associated with the regular military and civilian employees during 1966 and 1967 for a total of 8,164 - not counting one single civilian living within five kilometres of Gagetown in 1966 and 1967.
Some questions that reporters should be asking are: If the government's own BGAFFP reported 8,164 victims, not counting the civilians within the five kilometre limit, present during the summers of '66 and '67, why then was the ex-gratia package designed to compensate only 4,500 victims?
Were the people who died before Feb. 6, 2006 any less dead or any less affected by the chemicals used at CFB Gagetown and why won't Ottawa compensate these widows?
If everything was alright and aboveboard, as Ottawa would like us to believe, why is Ottawa now refusing to call for a full public and judicial inquiry?
Could the answer to all three questions be the same?
Ottawa knew full well that more than half of the Gagetown victims were already dead.
Mr. Thompson, as reported on April 1 in the Montreal Gazette said: "I've stated very clearly the dates will not change."
Just two days before on the 29th of March, it was reported in the Telegraph Journal that "Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson has said that the April 1 deadline for compensation isn't absolute and late applications will be considered."
In Ottawa, our MPs call this a flip-flop, while in the opinions of many less honourable, we would call it bold face lying.
I guess our only choice now is to figure out whether the newspapers are lying or whether the member flip-flopped, yet again, and mispoke to the newspapers.
The only question which remains is did Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson mispeak to the Montreal Gazette or to the Telegraph Journal?
And, more importantly, are there any Canadians left who would believe him even if he told us?
If you are going to write about our story and our lives, please get your facts straight.
Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret)
N.S. veteran stages hunger strike
By THE CANADIAN PRESS Mon. Apr 6 - 9:28 PM
CHARLOTTETOWN — A one-man hunger strike took place in front of the Veterans Affairs headquarters in Charlottetown Monday on behalf of veterans who may be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and not know it.
Nova Scotia veteran Steven Dixon says he has a combination of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, known as PTSD, and Huntington's disease, a hereditary neurological disorder.
PTSD is an emotional disorder resulting from a very frightening, life-threatening or unsafe experience.
Dixon says he has been receiving treatment for both of his conditions from a medical centre in Nova Scotia.
In a news release sent to The Guardian Monday, Dixon said he hopes to raise awareness about PTSD, fight for those affected by agent orange testing, anyone who has been denied benefits from Veterans Affairs and people who have died waiting for benefits.
Tim Rose of Veterans Affairs came out of the Veterans Affairs headquarters to invite him inside to make his case.
A spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs, Janice Summerby, said she could not comment on what the two men talked about, but did say that anytime they know there's a dissatisfied client they try their best to get them the proper services.
Veterans Affairs Canada's mission is to provide services and benefits for veterans and to keep the memory of their sacrifices alive.
Dixon has requested aid from Veterans Affairs Canada in the past, and though he still has outstanding issues with them, he said the hunger strike is no longer for his own behalf.
When soldiers started to receive testing for the PTSD at or around 1993, several people who were released prior to that date were not tested, he said.
``This is the message to all ex-members of the Canadian Armed Forces prior to 1993,'' Dixon said. ``Get checked out, do some research and talk to someone that you can trust.''
He also wants to raise awareness for those affected by Agent Orange, an unregistered herbicide tested between 1966 and 1967 at a Canadian Forces base in Gagetown connected to several forms of cancer and other health problems.
The Agent Orange Association of Canada continues to support and fight for the victims of the Chemical Poisoning of our people by our own government. We believe that we can best bring our government to justice by initiating a public inquiry through public information programs and legal challenges such as the ongoing Class Action Suit.
We feel terrible that someone would have to go to such dire action in an attempt to be heard by VAC (Veterans Affairs Canada). We cannot support his choice because of the body damage that he may be subjecting himself to. Unfortunately, this is another example of our government in power not supporting the people who were willing every day to put their life on the line.
Carol Brown Parker & Kenneth Dobbie
Co-Presidents, Agent Orange Association of Canada
In response to Telegram story: 'Monster of a case'
'Monster of a case'
It may be correct that many Veterans and plaintive in the Gagetown Class Action Lawsuit are becoming frustrated because of all the Government and their chemical company minions stalling tactics and constant appeals to even the simplest of questions, which is well demonstrated by the commencement today of a hunger strike in PEI by one of the frustrated veterans but then again they don't want the world to ever know what they did to the Canadian Military nor the civilians in and around CFB Gagetown for 28 years.
Let's face it, if Ottawa believed that they actually did nothing wrong, that they were in the right and that they would come out on top, we would have had three public inquires by now to prove it, and all of the information about the chemicals and their application would have been openly published to the Canadian people, not given a gag order like in the Newfoundland court.
The ironic thing here is that the longer Ottawa waits the more victims there are who get fed up and join the lawsuit and the more time they give us victims to accumulate evidence against them. The internet is a wonderful thing... I wonder if the government ever realized that it would come back to bite then in the butt? LOL
Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret)
Agent Orange suit moving at 'glacial pace'
ALISHA MORRISSEY The Telegram-April 6,2009
A class-action lawsuit against the federal government and several private chemical companies related to the spraying of Agent Orange at a New Brunswick military base is dragging on even as the deadline to apply for federal compensation passes.
Retired Brig. Gen. Ed Ring says the case has been moving at a "glacial pace," as the defendants file motions and appeals on various parts of the case.
"I'm frustrated with the process," he says.
"It's turned, in my view, into a monster of a case. It's so complicated and I think the unlimited resources available to the defendants and the third parties, it's just going to go on and on and on."
The most recent legal hurdle was the decision to not allow evidence from the case in this province to be used in a similar case in another, Ring says.
A series of CDs with more than 11,000 pages of documents on them, were provided by the defendants for use in the case in this province, but won't be able to be presented as evidence in Saskatchewan, Ring says.
What's making matters worse, he says, is that there's a possibility that the case may be moved from the courts in Newfoundland to the courts in Saskatchewan.
"I guess what would give the applicants the best chance at success," Ring says. "I'd just like for the whole thing to proceed. I'm getting to the point where I don't care where ... every time you turn around there's appeal after appeal after appeal."
Ring was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1996 and retired from the military in December 2003, after receiving a bone-marrow transplant.
He then put his name forward on behalf of some 2,000 claimants in the lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada, Department of National Defence, the Dow Chemical Co. and Pharmacia Corp. for spraying Agent Orange and other chemical herbicides at the Gagetown military base in New Brunswick in the 1950s and 1960s.
The claimants say their exposure to the chemicals increased their risk of cancers and other life-threatening diseases.
Justice Leo Barry certified the class-action suit two years ago.
Shortly after, Barry determined that the case should be heard in this province's courts. Meanwhile, the federal government offered $20,000 in compensation, but only to people who were exposed to Agent Orange in 1966 and 1967, and only if they have one of 12 disorders associated with Agent Orange exposure, such as prostate cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
However, as of March 30, less than half of the $96.5 million the federal government put aside for compensation has actually been spent.
In all about $43.74 million has been issued to people who applied for the compensation.
So far, the Department of Veteran's Affairs has received 3,395 applications for compensation - 2,187 have been approved, while 882 have been declined.
Some applications are still being processed, and although the deadline for applications passed on April 1, officials with the department say there will be exceptions made for some late applicants.
The unspent funds will be returned to general government revenues, officials confirm.
"It's kind of immaterial really," says Ring, of the fact that he didn't receive compensation.
He says, the chemical has a half-life of seven years, and a full life of about 50 years.
"Just to ignore all of that is just fundamentally wrong," Ring says. "It's not about the money now. It's about the principle. I'll hang in there as long as I can."
In response to the April 1st. statements attributed to Greg Thompson.
Somewhat like the Greg Thompson demands for a Full Public Inquiry before the election in 2006, followed by his absolute refusal to even discus one there after, the words attributed to Mr. Thompson on April 1, 2009 by the Montreal Gazette,, "I've stated very clearly the dates will not change," when just short days before in the The Telegraph Journal, "Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson has said that the April 1 deadline for compensation isn't absolute and late applications will be considered."
Now in Ottawa our honorable MP's call this a flip-flop while in the opinions of many less honorable would call it out right lying, where when an honorable member gives misinformation or is not being honest it is said that he or she misspoke, less honorable people might call it a lie.
I guess our only choices now is to figure out whether the newspapers are lying or whether the Honorable member flip-flopped yet again and misspoke to the newspapers.
The only questions that remain now are did Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson misspeak to the Montreal Gazette or to the Telegraph Journal and more importantly are there any Canadians left who would believe him if he told us?
Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret)
“An Evening of Awareness: Stories from the Agent Orange Legacy”
On March 29, 2009, a coalition of New Brunswickers affected by the chemical defoliation spray program at CFB Gagetown will come together to tell their stories to the public.
The evening will feature a forum for speakers to tell their firsthand accounts regarding the history of the base, the deadly poisons that were sprayed there, the diverse group of people who were affected, the health risks that still impact local communities today, and the possibilities for the future. The Evening will be open to the public and there is no charge.
The Evening is motivated by the deadline for the Canadian Government’s Compensation package for Agent Orange victims, which ends on April 1st.
Date: March 29, 2009
Open to the PUBLIC
Location: K.C. Irving Theater,
Hugh John Flemming Forestry Complex,
1350 Regent Street South,
Topic: MR KERR'S REPLY TO MP PETER STOFFER---WE NEED YOU TO WRITE A LETTER DETAILS PROVIDED BELOW--EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
MP Peter Stoffer, who has been a strong supporter of all the victims exposed to the herbicides sprayed at Gagetown for over 28 years, stood up in the House of Commons Friday, March13th,and brought up the Agent Orange issue. This is what he said, word for word, taken from the Hansard Report:
March 13, 2009-03-13
In Today’s Question Period
“ Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore, NDP): Mr. Speaker, from VIP for veteran's widows, from SISIP to Agent Orange to Allied
Veterans and on and on, the Conservative government has deliberately misled veterans and their families. In 2005, the Prime Minister and the
veterans affairs minister said to thousands of people in Gagetown that if a Conservative government is elected, they would look after everyone
affected by spraying from 1958 to 1984. The Conservatives brought in a compensation package even worse than what the Liberals were
going to do.”
This is what MP Greg Kerr replied:
“Mr. Greg Kerr (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am certainly glad the hon. member pointed out that we have moved on the issue of Agent Orange and all those poor people who suffered from that terrible incident. As a matter of fact, we settled with over 2,000 of those individuals at $20,000 a person. They are very satisfied with that. The more discussions we have with them, the more concerned they are about where the economy is going, the more concerned they are that the more concerned they are that the hon. member's leader is opposed to the very action plan that helps these very important plan. The hon. member knows full well we can never do enough for our veterans. That is what that action plan is all about.”
People are outraged at Mr. Kerr for trivializing what happened at Gagetown for over 28 years by calling it an “incident” and we are even angrier that he thinks we are all “satisfied” with their ‘slap in the face’ compensation package.
Many have already emailed Mr. Kerr expressing our “DISsatisfaction” and copied Peter Stoffer on the email. If you would like to email Mr. Kerr too, his email address is Kerr.G@parl.gc.ca and I would ask that you cc: Peter Stoffer as well at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is where we need your help:
Peter wants to stand up in the House of Commons and read the names and addresses of people who have emailed Greg Kerr expressing their dissatisfaction, and those who haven’t but who are also dissatisfied with the Compensation Package. The longer the list of names, the more of an impact we’ll have in pressuring the government to change the compensation rules.
Could you ask your friends, and people in your area who you know are dissatisfied with DND’s compensation package, to support Peter by giving their permission to add their names and addresses to his list and for him to read these names to Mr. Kerr and Mr. Harper in the House? The more names, the better.
There is one condition: The person who is providing their name and address should be a victim. That includes people who have lost loved ones or have loved ones who are ill - before and after February 6, 2006.
Thank you Carol Brown Parker
Agent Orange Association of Canada
March 10, 2009
Ottawa's last mission for Agent Orange
In our view: If conscience won't prompt action, maybe a movie will
By The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
The story has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster: poisonings; disease and death; international implications; government denials and cash payments
The story of Agent Orange spraying at CFB Gagetown is, in fact, about to become a documentary movie, which will bring the saga to a wider audience and hopefully put added pressure on the federal government to take responsibility for its actions.
While the Agent Orange Association of Canada says more than 3.3 million litres of chemicals were sprayed on CFB Gagetown between 1956-84, the only federal government acknowledgment of responsibility is rather twisted.
Ottawa will only admit to allowing American military personnel to use the base to spray Agent Orange from 1966-67. The U.S. needed a place to test the chemical defoliant for future use in Vietnam's jungles while fighting there, and we kindly let them use our base for that purpose.
As a result of that limited acknowledgement, any payment for harm done has been to soldiers on the base, and people living within five kilometres of the base, during that time.
The payment issue has been a huge thorn in the side of the Stephen Harper government since it announced a one-time ex gratia payment of $20,000 for those affected, or their surviving primary caregiver. That payment comes with no acknowledgement of responsibility and no apologies.
But wait. The Harper government promised, just before it was elected in early 2006, that it would "stand up for full and fair compensation to persons exposed to defoliant spraying during the period from 1956 to 1984," and it would "... disclose all information concerning the spraying to veterans and civilians."
That most definitely has not happened. In fact, the greatest insult in this whole drama, besides the refusal of the government to admit anything, is the niggling detail of date of death.
Feb. 6, 2006 is the determining day - the day on which the Harper government was sworn in. If you were affected by Agent Orange spraying during that window of 1966-67 and you died before that date, you lose. If you died on or after that date, your widow gets the paltry sum of $20,000 to compensate for all the pain and suffering, indignity and betrayal.
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson says they had to start somewhere, so they picked that date. That is the sorriest example of arbitrary government decision-making in recent history, but it's more than that.
It is a further insult and punishment to an already ignored segment of the population that did nothing more than be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A massive letter writing campaign by the many widows affected has made many aware of the issue, but it has not changed the government's mind.
We can only hope this movie, which has hopes of being screened at the internationally acclaimed Toronto Film Festival, will change a few minds in cabinet. Sadly, if that happens, it probably won't be because it's the right thing to do. It will be the enormous international outrage that does it.
Still, we can hope our government will finally do what every kindergarten-age child is expected to do - take responsibility for their actions.
March 9th, 2009
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Filmmakers To Tackle Agent Orange Scandal | Shooting Begins Soon
By SHAWN BERRY
A group of New York moviemakers will settle into the Fredericton region for the next few weeks to film what it calls "Canada's dirty secret" to a worldwide audience.
Filmmakers Danny Feighery and Gregg de Domenico and two colleagues arrive in Fredericton today to work on their documentary about the lingering effects of the spraying of Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.
They will remain until the April 1 deadline for the federal government's $20,000 ex-gratia compensation payments passes.
"It's such a bizarre story," said Feighery. "There's all these different qualifiers and rules and absurdities to it." "The whole story seems to be pretty absurd.
There's never been anything so massive in western civilization for a government to poison their own people on this scale."
He's personally invested in the story.
His grandfather was a member of the provost corps at CFB Gagetown - the precursor to the military police - so his mother Sharon grew up on the base, ate blueberries that had grown on the base and played there.
When his sister Theresa was born, she had spina bifida. It's a congenital defect of the spine, in which part of the spinal cord and the meninges are exposed through a gap in the backbone. The condition has been linked to exposure to Agent Orange and a whole host of other toxic chemicals that were sprayed on the base.
It wasn't until a family reunion last year in Nova Scotia where relatives talked about Agent Orange that Feighery's family began drawing possible links to his sister's spina bifida and exposure to toxic defoliants.
"No democracy has ever let half a million people be contaminated by a toxin and then never tell them about it and cover it up," he said.
De Domenico said the story deserves a wider audience.
"I'm curious about the story and I'd like to see somebody see this through to get some answers," he said. "I know, personally, I feel like - especially coming out of the Bush administration in the United States - we're all looking for some degree of accountability from our governments.
"I know I personally feel like I want to see transparency and I want to see fairness. I want to know we're not being taken advantage of by corporate interests."
They plan to delve into the involvement of chemical companies, the military and the government.
"We want to go further, looking into the factfinder's mission, the results of the factfinder's mission, how that affected Veterans Affairs and the compensation packages. Then straight into the compensation packages ending April 1 and where does everyone go from there," de Domenico said.
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson has said the April 1 deadline isn't absolute and if a late application is received, it will be considered.
Payments are also considered for primary caregivers of qualifying individuals who died on or after Feb. 6, 2006, the date the federal Conservative government took office.
Thankfully, he said, many people in the region have taken up the challenge of doing the research.
He just hopes to do them justice on the big screen.
"We're very much doing our best to tell their story."
"There's only so many times you can sit with them and hold their hands while they're crying, saying they feel left in the cold. I want to feel like we can get the word out and maybe bring some more attention to this."
And for de Domenico and Feighery, who have long worked making commercials and feature films, it's a chance to put their craft to a higher use.
"We want to get back to a place where filmmaking is about helping society and making a difference."
"What we really need now is to talk to politicians who understand the story and are sympathetic.''
The film is tentatively titled Gagetown: Canada's Dirty Secret. They hope to have an 80- to 90-minute film ready by later this spring, the deadline for entering the Toronto Film Festival.
Feighery and de Domenico have been keeping in touch with people involved with the movie through their website: www.gagetownmovie.com.
February 26, 2009
March 7, 2009
The Veterans' Corner
Blue Water Let Down
By Bobbye C. Jerone
Dan is dying. He is a Blue Water Navy Vietnam combat veteran with uncontrollable diabetes who has had a massive heart attack and is now in the Intensive Care Unit of a local hospital. The diabetes has caused the heart trouble, and now part of his heart is effectively destroyed.
Dan was exposed to toxic herbicides when he cleaned the outside of planes which flew off the aircraft carrier upon which he served in the South China Sea during the Vietnam War. Although Dan did not get off the ship, they were just off shore. He could see the people walking around – and sometimes fighting – on the shore. The planes from his ship flew out to attack inland targets. The planes flew through the mists of Agent Orange, and other poisonous chemicals that were sprayed in the air over Vietnam to kill the jungle. When they returned to the aircraft carrier the skins of planes were completely contaminated. One of Dan’s primary duties was to scrub those planes down as soon as they came back to the ship. He was provided no gear to protect him as he accomplished this dangerous task. Before serving on the aircraft carrier, Dan served on a supply ship that carried Agents Orange, Blue and White to the war zone. He had to handle the 55 gallon drums daily; never was he issued protective clothing.
Since Dan only served off shore [albeit only a few hundred yards off shore], he is considered ‘Blue Water’ Navy. Folks who read this article regularly are familiar with the ‘Blue Water Navy’ lawsuit which entails several of these brave Veterans who banded together and sued their government to force it to treat them like their comrades who did serve on the beaches and in the jungles and on the rivers of Vietnam.
The Judicial System sided with the Veterans immediately. But, the government appealed the verdict. The Appeals Court sided with the Veterans, and, again, the government appealed. This case has been going on since 2002! The interesting thing about this is that before 2002 the Department of VA treated these Veterans’ claims exactly like those of the warriors who served inland! In 2002, Congress decided that it was costing too much money and gave the Secretary of VA an order to stop all benefits to these brave Veterans.
The case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, winning at every rung of the Judicial Ladder, except the last one before the high court. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, last May, decided to go along with the government against the Veterans. The Veterans appealed that to the highest court in our land, and had a lot of help from all the major Veterans’ Service Organizations [American Legion, DAV, etc.] and the National Veterans Legal Service Program, and others, filed briefs on the Veterans’ behalf.
On January 21, 2009, the U. S. Supreme Court decided not to hear the case! They affectively turned their back on all those brave sailors and marines and airmen who served on the ships in the South China Sea. This is in spite of overwhelmingly pro-Veteran Judgements from every lower court; the fact that VA had accepted these Veterans as equal to all other Vietnam Vets until ordered to change their protocol in 2002; and overwhelming support from every major Veterans’ organizations.
Now, when Dan dies his widow will be excluded from qualification for Dependency Indemnity Compensation [DIC] and free ChampVA healthcare. To qualify for this compensation, Dan would have to die of a service connected disability. His Diabetes and, therefore the heart problems secondary to the Diabetes would be ‘presumed to be service connected’ if he had served on the land, a few hundred yards away – but is not since he never got off the ship. She works in a school cafeteria and earns just above minimum wage, but too much for a Veteran widow’s pension. She is not quite 60 so doesn’t qualify for Social Security benefits. She still has one child in college. If the Supreme Court had heard the case, and judged favorably for the Veterans, that child would have received DIC Educational Assistance; but she won’t since they wouldn’t even hear the case.
The only hope for Dan’s family, and the thousands of others like Dan, is if a Congressperson steps forward and pushes a bill through Congress recognizing these ‘Blue Water’ Veterans as simply ‘Vietnam Veterans’. These brave warriors served honorably in the war zone, and were exposed to the same horrible chemicals that are killing their comrades who served inland. These valiant heroes and their families deserve the same benefits that are awarded to others exposed to Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals. Is there a Congressperson out there willing to take up the fight?
We vigourosly support the efforts of the Blue Water Navy group for compensation including all of the benefits awarded those who had their "boots on the ground". There doesn't seem to be much difference between our respective governments. They both have taken the same creed to their gutless hearts, "deny, deny until you die".
We honour your fight and if there is anything we can help you with, our documents, our research, our advocacy, we are here for you.
"MISSING IN ACTION"
Agent Orange Veterans Affairs has given out less than half the promised $96M compensation
OTTAWA - The federal government has approved $20,000 compensation payments to fewer than half the Agent Orange spraying victims it predicted would qualify, and is on course to spend less than half the $96 million it announced.
When Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson and Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced the payments in Fredericton in September 2007, the government estimated there would be 4,400 eligible recipients.
Paying them would cost $95.5 million, said the Veterans Affairs department. Now, with just a month to go before the April 1 deadline to apply for payments, Veterans Affairs has approved 2,075 applicants whose payouts will total $41.5 million.
That's about 43 per cent of the 2007 estimate.
Seeing the program roll out on a much smaller scale is "no surprise to me at all," said NDP veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer. "They sounded like big numbers when they were announced but the restrictions they imposed were designed to ensure they never met those numbers. "And now the proof is in the pudding."
Class-action lawyer Tony Merchant's Saskatchewan firm is pursuing lawsuits against the federal government over the spraying.
Merchant had predicted in an interview the day the compensation package was unveiled that the $20,000 payments would never total $96 million.
Wednesday, he accused the government of inflating the 2007 estimates "to make it look like they were addressing the problem in a meaningful way.
"The higher the figure, the better it looked."
Thompson countered Wednesday that "no consideration was ever given to trying to make it look bigger than it was." "At the end, the number is going to be what it is and we all understood that."
Veterans Affairs said the original estimate was based on census and military records for the Gagetown area in 1966 and 1967, when the defoliant Agent Orange was sprayed in tests conducted for the U.S. military.
Officials also weighed incidence rates for the diseases and conditions the government concedes Agent Orange can cause, based on research by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine.
The 12 conditions include several cancers, type 2 diabetes and spina bifida.
"Given the passage of time and missing information, I think we did the very best we could," said Thompson. "It was fair and it was generous and we did our best to calculate what it would be."What an outrageous lie!!!!!!!!...it is NOT fair since they used the IOM list from 2004 instead of the new IOM list from 2006, which had more diseases listed.
Thompson said he purposely went to cabinet to get approval for enough funding that he wouldn't have to return for more.
Spending less "was something we understood could happen," he said. "I never felt we would have to spend all the $96 million."
But critics say so few people applied because the $20,000 was such a low amount, and so few became eligible because the criteria were so restrictive.
Said Merchant, "If they've had cancers and other diseases from what the government did wrong, it is a pittance."
Some 3,100 people have applied.
Ken Dobbie, a founder and president of the Agent Orange Association of Canada, has been ill for 30 years, beginning with liver trouble, and disabled for 19.
He is often in and out of hospital.
The Kingston, Ont. man, who had a summer job clearing brush at Gagetown in 1966, applied for a $20,000 payment last February by sending his 645-page affidavit, part of the class-action lawsuit, to Veterans Affairs.
He got his cheque within days - far quicker than what he was told is the average turnaround.
"I was actually embarrassed it came so quickly for me when so many guys were turned down or had to wait much longer," said Dobbie. "It was like they were waiting for my application because I've been outspoken."
He maintains the payment package "was wholly unacceptable" given the decades of spraying of several herbicides at Gagetown, well beyond Agent Orange.
"They built the whole thing around seven days and 400 litres of spraying in 1966 and 1967," ignoring other herbicides sprayed from 1956 to 1984.
Merchant's lawsuits continue to win rulings in advance of a full trial. He said a judge has agreed 440,000 individuals could potentially belong to the affected class.
More than 4,000 clients have signed up with his firm.
Stoffer argued for an independent investigation of the spraying, while Liberal veterans affairs critic Judy Sgro pointed to the lawsuit as a sign the issue won't be resolved for years - and as a lesson for governments.
"Any time we expose our citizens to health hazards, we should be paying attention to all of them," she said.
Thompson said the package was something other governments over 40 years "failed to do, and some told us we couldn't do.
"I'm proud of what we have done."Proud?? He shouldn't be!!! The ex-gratia payment is totally inadequate and if he is proud of basing flawed and inadequate compensation on American spraying, and an outdated American list of diseases while ignoring the 3.3 million litres and kilograms of spraying by our own governments, he is so far out of touch with reality that we need a public inquiry to get to the real truth, and we most certainly need new politicians to deliver accountability, truth and compassion. Mr Thompson has done none of those things AND never will.
February 23, 2009
Persistent Organic Pollutants Persist In US Blood
Article by Steve Down
Chichester, England, UK
The set of 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants covered by the Stockholm Convention were selected because they accumulate in the environment and climb up the food chain, with toxic effects on the species involved. Eventually they end up in human food and build up in our own bodies, which they have done for many years. The Convention, which was agreed in 2001 and ratified in 2004, was established to ban their production, distribution and use to safeguard human health and the environment.
So, is it too early to tell whether the ban is having an effect? A team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) in the US has made a start by analysing the blood of 1800 US volunteers that was collected in 2003-2004 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The list of target pollutants was expanded to include some that are included in the 1979 Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution that regulates global dispersion of some chemicals.
Donald Patterson, now at EnviroSolutions Consulting, Inc. in Jasper, GA, and 10 colleagues carried out the mammoth study using isotope dilution GC/MS with high resolution mass spectrometry to measure the compounds. Based on data from a home interview with all of the volunteers, the data were classified according to race/ethnicity, gender and age group with the aid of statistical analyses. The POP concentration values were converted to the WHO toxicity equivalencies (TEQs) so that the relative potencies of each type of POP could be compared and some notable trends emerged.
The total TEQs for all POPs increased markedly with age across the four age groups 12-19, 20-39, 40-59 and 60+ years on both the 90th and 95th percentiles. For instance, the 95th percentile values for 12-19 and 60+ groups were 14.0 and 63.2. This is consistent with the reduced exposure of the younger population as the use of the POPs declined in recent years, whereas the older group have been exposed to higher background levels for longer.
Within the age groups, however, some trends appeared to be established. The POP levels in female subjects were generally higher than in males, although the differences were relatively small. A more significant difference was observed with race, with Mexican Americans having far lower total POP burdens than non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites. The researchers are unable at this stage to explain this, differences in exposure, pharmacokinetics or other factors being considered.
There were also some remarkable findings for individual POPs. The fungicide hexachlorobenzene was banned in the US in 1984 but was detected in 99.9% of those tested. Similarly, the insecticide DDT was banned in the US in 1973 but its metabolite, p,p'-DDE was found in 99.7% of serum samples. Even the 12-19 age group had measurable levels of p,p'-DDE, even though they were born well after the ban. The team think that exposure to hexachlorobenzene and DDT probably occurred via food that was imported from countries that have not yet banned these compounds.
Detailed data were published for PCBs (38 congeners), PCDDs (7), PCDFs (10), aldrin, dieldrin, oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor, heptachlor epoxide, endrin, mirex, hexachlorobenzene, beta- and gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane, o,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDT and p,p'-DDE.
The significance of the new data for human health will become evident after further study of the data by toxicologists, epidemiologists and risk assessors. The results will be boosted by publication of the next set of data, which relates to samples collected in 2005-2006 and is due for release in 2009-2010.
We must add that the people sprayed at CFB Gagetown and surrounding communities must wonder what their WHO toxicity equivalencies (TEQs) are because of the spraying of over 3 million litres and kilograms of Hexachlorobenzene over a 20 year period. Sometimes it is better not to know, but in the class action we are asking for DNA testing costs and results, perhaps we should also be asking for our TEQ's of Hexachlorobenzene. Never in the history of the western world has a government agency poisoned so many of its' citizens on such a vast scale.
Feb 20, 2009
Veterans Affairs Canada
Agent Orange Ex Gratia Payment Applications-April 1, 2009, Deadline Approaching
OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire) - April 1, 2009, is the deadline to apply for the Government of Canada's $20,000 Agent Orange ex gratia payment. The one-time, tax-free payment is related to the testing of unregistered U.S. military herbicides, including Agent Orange, at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in 1966 and 1967.
You may qualify for the Agent Orange ex gratia payment if, between June 1 and September 30, 1966, or between June 1 and September 30, 1967, you:
were posted to or training at CFB Gagetown or
worked at CFB Gagetown or
lived in a community any portion of which lay within 5 kilometres of CFB Gagetown
have an illness associated with exposure to Agent Orange, as determined by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (2004 update).
It should be noted that DND used an out of date IOM list of diseases, using the 2004 list when the IOM had published a new list in 2006. The new 2006 list included two more diseases, which were ignored by our DVA in their determination of the diseases that would be eligible for compensation. The two diseases missing from the adjudication process were Hypertension (high blood pressure) and AL amyloidosis, a rare disease in which protein builds up around organs
The correct thing to do would have been to include these diseases in DVA's list which would have made many more applicants eligible for compensation. Write to your MP demanding the inclusion of these two diseases which should have been included. Further demand that the god complex of a date cap, April 1, 2009 and Feber 6, 2006 should be removed.
April 1st, 2009, is the deadline to apply for the Government's twenty-thousand dollar Agent Orange ex gratia payment.
To be eligible, individuals must have been diagnosed with a condition associated with Agent Orange and must have lived or worked at or near CFB Gagetown when Agent Orange was tested in 1966 and 1967.
For more information on how to apply, visit www.vac-acc.gc.ca or call 1-866-522-2122.
Author of the Book "Blowback"
A Canadian History of Agent Orange and the War at Home
will be a guest on the Tom Young Show February 18, 2008 at 2:30 PM Atlantic Time
This program can be hear online at http://www.news889.com/station/bios.jsp
You can read further about the book and Chris at the Publishers Website
Saskatchewan/Gagetown Class Action Delayed Once MoreCpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret)
On January 30, 2009, Justice Zarzeczny' s handed down his written decision thereby dismissing the applications to stay court proceedings in reference to the CFB Gagetown Toxic Chemical Defoliant, class action law suit proceedings in Saskatchewan, sought by Ottawa, Pharmacia and Dow. This would seem to have meant that the court dates would proceed on schedule for Mar 9-13 but alas not so.
Pharmacia served a notice of constitutional question respecting the class actions act of Saskatchewan, and the government is moving to cross-examine some of our affidavit deponents which without a doubt will be opposed by the Merchant law Group, leaving the court (Justice Zarzeczny) little other choice then to choose alternative dates where there would be more time for the parties in questions to present their submissions and/or arguments. The last week in March and first week in April were set aside to deal with this because it was the first date when all counsel and the court would be available.
For everyone's reference the new hearing dates have been set forward approximately one month, they now will be held the last week in April and the first week in May
Now I have never been one of the people who put all that much strength in the old wives tale that if you leave the scene of a crime that it indicates guilt but if a party, in this case the Government of Canada, Pharmacia and Dow, has nothing to hide, if they have done nothing wrong and if the soldiers from CFB Gagetown didn't die needlessly due to Political and the Chemical Industries' neglect and bungling of chemical formulas or the registration process, why are all defendants trying every trick in the book and some that will have to be added to it later, to prevent this case from ever coming to trial? Why is there a gag order on most of the evidence? And why are most of the news media staying away from this both National and International story as if it were the plague?
Seems to me if I were innocent that I would want to get it over with as soon and inexpensively as possible, yet here we are some 4 years with Class actions pending in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and we the victims (Plaintiffs') still do not even have leave to file a class action law suit with respect to CFB Gagetown. There is little doubt that combined legal fees may be approaching if they haven't already surpassed the amounts paid out in the ex gratia so called compensation package.
But what is so bad, what secret is so awful that none of the defendants wish it to be brought to trial, or brought to the eyes and ears of the Canadian public and dealt with once and for all, before all of the plaintive are dead? I sometimes wonder if there is not more to it then just the Rainbow Chemicals, some dark and dirty secret which the parties in question fear might be brought to light if this did go to trial.
Friday, January 30, 2009
by Michael Staples
The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, NB
Spraying Compensation Rules 'Ridiculous'
If documentation is in order, applications for compensation under the federal government's Agent Orange spray program can be processed within a month.
Janice Summerby, a media relations adviser with Veterans Affairs Canada, said that while individual cases may vary, if an application is complete with all supporting documentation, the average turnaround time is two weeks. If approved, another one to two weeks for payment is required.
Figures released earlier this months by Veterans Affairs revealed that 3,000 applications for the ex gratia payment of $20,000 had been received as of Jan. 12. Of those, 1,959 applications were approved, with 1,938 cheques issued to that date.
More than 800 people failed to meet the eligibility criteria.
Applicants must be diagnosed with one or more of the following medical conditions: chronic lymphocytic leukemia, soft tissue sarcoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, chloracne, respiratory cancer (of the lung/bronchus, larynx or trachea), prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, early onset transient peripheral neuropathy, porphyria cutanea tarda, Type 2 diabetes and spina bifida.
Individuals must also have worked or trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown or lived in a community any part of which was within five kilometres of the base when the U.S. military sprayed Agent Orange in 1966-67.
Monetary awards are also considered for primary caregivers of qualifying individuals who died on or after Feb. 6, 2006 - the date the Tory government originally took office.
Summerby said each application is adjudicated by a Veterans Affairs employee who's part of a team dedicated to the ex gratia program. "They have a thorough knowledge of the eligibility criteria," she said.
Those denied have two levels of appeal open to them, Summerby said.
Earlier this week, a Fredericton woman and a Moncton man expressed their frustration over being denied compensation and vowed to continue to fight on.
"What I take issue with is that Veterans Affairs does not (apparently) allow diaries and affidavits," said Barbara Gill of Fredericton, who has been denied compensation three times but is trying again. Gill said she was at her grandfather's farm in Maugerville when the 1966 spraying occurred.
"I had a lawyer make the final submission," Gill said. "I have not been told that residency is an issue. I was a minor staying with my grandparents at the time."
Not allowing diaries or affidavits to be part of an application is like saying to the applicant, "We don't trust you," Gill said. "What a ridiculous premise. The argument of 'Where do we stop in terms of payments?' is not valid either. The cancer I had, for instance, is without question approved as one of the cancers allowed. I was there. Period."
The deadline for compensation applications is April 1.
See our menu link on the left about the ex-gratia payment for more information
We feel that as the April 1st deadline approaches, extreme pressure should be put on the government to abandon it's arbitrary time caps of Februray 6, 2006, the day the Conservervatives were voted into a minority government and the end date of April 1, 2009 after which no one can apply even if you develop a disease after that date which could be proven to have originated with your exposure to the chemcials dioxin, hexachlorobenzene, picloram, 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T.
Conservatives playing God with arbitrary dates!!!
Who gave them the power to dictate that if ilnesses develop after April 1 there wil be no compensation?. Who gave them the right to abandon all those who died before they took office?
Because that is exactly what they did. They abandoned many thousands of people and they continue to resist our fight against them in court.
What happened to Harper's promise?
(Which became one of the biggest LIES of his career) made in early January, 2006 at Woodstock, NB on the campaign trail when he announced:
"we will test everyone affected by the Gagetown spraying and we will compensate everyone affected between 1956 and 1984"
So far not one person has been tested, and LESS than three thousandth of one percent of the people poisoned have been partially and disgracefully "compensated" by the "totally inadequate" $20,000 ex-gratia payment. Would you trade your life or your health over a 40 year period for $20,000?? Low life politicians making LIES into their version of the truth.
WE STATE AND HOLD TRUE:
A terrible LIE by Harper was made at the expense of peoples' lives and their health.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Fighting the legacy of Agent Orange
by Michael Staples
The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, NB
Compensation Battle continues for some affected by spraying
Rejection isn't something that Barb Gill or Bob Pardy is willing to accept. The Fredericton woman and Moncton man are two of the more than 800 Canadians who haven't qualified for the federal government's Agent Orange compensation program.
But both have pledged to continue the fight because they feel it's something they deserve.
Gill, who's recovering from her second battle with liposarcoma, a malignant tumour condition, was on her grandfather's farm in Maugerville when Agent Orange was first tested at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in the mid-1960s.
Gill has had her application for the $20,000 ex gratia payment turned down three times. "I haven't had the official word of being turned down the fourth time," she said. "I'll persevere. I am not done yet. I can't let it drain me emotionally, because if it does, that will affect my body."
The federal government announced a $95.6-million compensation package in 2007 for veterans and civilians affected by the U.S. military's spraying of Agent Orange at Gagetown.
To be eligible for the one-time, tax-free, ex gratia payment, individuals must have been diagnosed with a condition associated with Agent Orange, as determined by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. (IOM) They include afflictions such as Hodgkin's disease, prostate cancer, lymphoma, respiratory cancers and Type 2 diabetes.
They also must have worked or trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, or lived in a community any part of which is within five kilometres of the base when Agent Orange was tested by the U.S. military in 1966 and 1967.
Gill, who also suffers from other illnesses, said her grandfather's farm fell within the five-kilometre boundary. "It's hard to believe that something like this could have happened to us," Gill said. "It's almost unthinkable that there could have been so much poison and it could have affected my life so significantly."
Pardy, a 25-year veteran of the Forces, has also been told no. "I was there," said Pardy. "I was there only in '66 - in July only."
Pardy, a retired sergeant, said he was posted to Germany at the time but came back to the Gagetown area for a month to get married - the same time the first spraying occurred. "I sent all of this to Veterans Affairs, including a photocopy of my marriage certificate, showing I was in the area at the time."
Pardy, who has prostate cancer, diabetes and skin cancer, said he resided at a friend's house during the stay. The house fell within the five-kilometre requirement. He said he also sent Veterans Affairs a document signed by a friend who backed up his story.
"Having given them all of this, they still deny it."
Pardy said his two stepsons - children at the time of the spraying - were both awarded the ex gratia payment with no hassle.
"I am losing my confidence, yes," Pardy said. "But I am not going to go down without a fight."
Pardy is also seeking a pension.
As of Jan. 12, 3,000 applications had been received by Veterans Affairs Canada for the ex gratia payment. Of those who have applied, 1,959 applications have been approved and 1,938 cheques have been issued.
It should be noted that DND used an out of date IOM list of diseases, using the 2004 list when the IOM had published a new list in 2006. The new 2006 list included two more diseases, which were ignored by our DVA in their determination of the diseases that would be eligible for compensation. The two diseases missing from the adjudication process were Hypertension (high blood pressure) and AL amyloidosis, a rare disease in which protein builds up around organs
The correct thing to do would have been to include these diseases in DVA's list which would have made many more applicants eligible for compensation.
We also must comment on the totally biased adjudication process of those who lived there during the shortened time frames accepted by DVA for compensation. As is shown in the story above, people are being excluded despite being able to prove that they lived there during the spraying which is a condition of eligibility according to DVA. There is NOTHING in their rules that say someone had to be a permanent resident. And we all know that even a short exposure to these carcinogenic chemicals, sprayed by our governments, was deadly. Ms Gill and Mr. Pardy are only two of 800 denied compensation because they were not permanent residents within the confines of CFB Gagetown or the 5 kilometre perimeter of the base but they have proved that they lived there during the sprayings.
Obviously, these adjudications are meant to eliminate as many as possible.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Compensation package doesn't go far enough
Re: Agent Orange program
One of the many problems with the Agent Oragen compensation package is that the ex-gratia payment only covers exposure to Agent Orange sprayed by the Americans for four days in 1966 and three days in 1967.
It doesn't address the deadly chemicals including Agent Orange, Agent White and Agent Purple (which is more deadly than Agent Orange) that the Department of National Defence sprayed over Canadian Forces base Gagetown for 28 years from 1958-1984.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised in Woodstock just before he was elected to compensate all exposed to the spraying during those 28 years. He broke that promise.
This is not an American issue. The most damage and harm to the people, both military and civilian, came from their exposure to what DND sprayed over CFB Gagetown during those 28 years.
What angers and hurts the majority of families who lost a loved one is DND's stipulation that in order to qualify for this payment, they had to have died after Feb. 6, 2006, the date the Harper government took office and had one of the diseases on their list. (An American List)
My brother did qualify as his disease was on their list but he had the misfortune of dying in February 2003 at the age of 53 before Harper's political cutoff date.
Because of this, DND is telling us that his life is worth nothing yet had he died after February 2006, it would have been worth $20,000.
How compassionate and just is this? It doesn't even make sense.
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson stood up in the House of Commons when in Opposition and demanded at least five times that the Liberals call for a public inquiry. Now he closes the door on it? This is far from over.
A class-action lawsuit is underway that will do the job that Harper promised and didn't and see that the families of all who have lost loved ones are compensated despite any political cut-off death date imposed by DND.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
On January 19, 2009 at 7:08 PM, Ken Young wrote to DOW chemical
Comments: What year did the chemical 2,4,5-T cease to be a regestered product for sale or use in Canada? Thank You in advance.
DOW Chemical's OUTRAGEOUS reply, since they made the chemical.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2009 8:54 AM
Subject: RE: DowCom - NA - Dow Canada Email Form
Dear Kenneth Young,
Thank you for contacting The Dow Chemical Company. We do not have any information on "2,4,5-T" and therefore are unable to help with your inquiry.
Dow Customer Information Group
This information is considered accurate and reliable as of the date appearing above and is presented in good faith. Because use conditions and applicable laws may differ from one location to another and may change with time, recipient is responsible for determining whether the information in this document is appropriate for recipient's use. Since Dow has no control over how this information may ultimately be used, all liability is expressly disclaimed and Dow assumes no obligation or liability therefore. No warranty, express or implied is given nor is freedom from any patent owned by The Dow Chemical Company or others to be inferred.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret)
Ottawa's Guinea Pigs - Petro, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries’ Lab Rats
With stories like "Warning on commonly combined blood pressure drugs", "Vaccines not adequate," "Peanut butter crackers recalled in salmonella scare", "Study finds heart risk in anti-psychotic drugs", "No exposure to hepatitis, HIV from tainted syringes," and "FDA pledges openness on gene-altered products," even needing to be written, one has to wonder who in government is minding our health?
Being a CFB Gagetown carcinogenic defoliation chemical victim has made me well aware that Ottawa's only concern when it comes to registering products for use in Canada appears to be a "Register now - ex gratia payments later," and they seem to be the chemical and drug pushers for the Petro, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries in Canada.
Each year hundreds die and thousands others become medically compromised as drugs, pesticides, herbicides, cleaners, chemically based toys, kitchen food prep or serving products and even food are approved for use and distribution within Canada.
Only after we citizens or our pets drop dead are these products even tested. It is funny how quickly the problems with a food can be found after hundreds of dogs and cats die, after thousands of children die or have kidney failure, and tens of thousands of soldiers become ill after serving their country at CFB Gagetown.
The Canadian system for registering products needs to change.
We seem to be at a point where anything can be registered without any proof of its safety and can only be removed from the market after enough damage is done and after the dead can prove the products harmful to the health of Canadians, while the Canadian Government’s only defence is that the "product was registered for use in Canada."
I used to think that we soldiers and victims of the Gagetown Atrocity were Ottawa's only guinea pigs but now I can see that Ottawa has made every citizen of Canada the test rats for the Petro, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries in Canada.
By the way, the stories I mentioned above are just what is on today's big two, "CTV and CBC," websites. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of similar stories each every year in Canada. Stories where the deaths and compromised health of Canadians and their pets has supplied the data which should have been presented before the products in question were ever registered, approved for sale or used in Canada.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
The Daily Gleaner, Fredericton
by Mike Staples
Some Agent Orange victims have received compensation
More than 60 per cent of applicants to the federal government's Agent Orange compensation program have received cheques.
Figures released Friday by Veterans Affairs Canada reveal that 3,000 applications had been received as of Jan. 12, for the ex gratia payment of $20,000. Of those who have applied, 1,959 applications have been approved with 1,938 cheques having been issued to date.
The federal government announced a $95.6-million compensation package in the fall of 2007 for veterans and civilians affected by the U.S. military's spraying of Agent Orange at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown during the 1960s.
Janice Summerby, a media-relations adviser with Veterans Affairs Canada, said 830 applicants didn't meet the eligibility criteria.
For example, she said, an application would be rejected if the medical condition wasn't one of those listed by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. Individuals must also have worked or trained at CFB Gagetown or lived in a community any part of which was within five kilometres of CFB Gagetown when the spraying occurred.
The deadline for compensation applications is April 1.
"As for Veterans Affairs disability pensions/awards (pertaining to Agent Orange), 51 have been granted, including 12 related to service at CFB Gagetown," Summerby said.
"The remainder are related to service in Vietnam."
In a related development, Agent Orange Alert activist Art Connolly has written to Defence Minister Peter MacKay requesting a public inquiry into the spraying of defoliants at CFB Gagetown.
Connolly, who lives in London, Ont., said he sent his request directly to the minister because the National Defence Act confers the power to call a public inquiry to the minister of defence.
"Since 2005, when the media released this story of defoliants being sprayed at CFB Gagetown, various advocacy groups have asked the government for a public inquiry and have been ignored," Connolly said in a release.
"It is now time to ask those individuals who have the authority to initiate an inquiry and gauge their response."
There has been no public word from MacKay regarding the request, but Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson closed the door on a public inquiry in 2007 when he announced the compensation package.
Thompson said all files and records had been examined and there was nothing left to be done.
While this is a "totally inadequate" payment, it is a step in the right direction. What is not right about this are the arbitrary time caps put on the claim process. Anyone who develops diseases related to the widespread sprayings of over 3 million litres of Agent Orange, Agent Purple and Agent White after April 1, 2009 will not be able to make a claim. Who is playing God here? The arrogance of this government continues to astonish and disgust us. Apart from the end time cap, the beginning time cap of
Feb 6, 2006 (the day the conversatives won a minority government) is just wrong ethically. It shows that our government, who said they would compensate everyone, have chosen to ignore the sprayings that went on for 28 years. They are only compensating for the 483 litres sprayed by the Americans and totally ignoring their own 28 year 3.3 million litre human and ecological disaster.
Write your M.P. Demand a public inquiry into the poisoning of hundreds of thousands of troops and civilians
Wednesday January 14th, 2009
Riverview Man Not Happy With Findings Of Herbicide Use At CFB Chatham, NB
The Miramichi Leader
By Corinna Yates
Richard Trevors grew up in the lower end of Douglasfield about a mile and a half from Canadian Forces Base Chatham, New Brunswick. Now living in Riverview he is not happy with the findings from the National Defence Department concerning herbicide use at CFB Chatham from 1959 to 1988.
Richard, who has been plagued with health problems most of his adult life, decided to take it upon himself several years ago to push the department for answers.
Living in Manitoba for thirty years before moving back to the Miramichi five years ago, Richard has had many health problems.
He had half his stomach removed in the early 1970s and 1 foot of his bowel due to diverticulitis. At age 44 he had a 90 per cent blockage in two of his arteries. Two years ago he had bladder repair and prostrate surgery. He has never been able to father children because he is sterile.
When visiting an emergency room doctor a few years back he questioned Trevors on whether or not he had ever been exposed to chemicals.
"That made me wonder if my health problems were not connected somehow to living so close to the base?" he said. "I can remember watching when I was a young boy as they flew over the lower end of Douglasfield spraying. I was young and never thought anything of it."
Trevors believes his health problems have a lot to do with spraying at CFB Chatham.
"I know people will say, 'he's at it again,' but I don't care, I got this far and I'm not giving up," he stated.
In August of 2005, National Defence, with participation from Veterans affairs Canada, Health Canada, and additional departments and agencies initiated a fact-finding mission to gain information on the history of herbicides tested and used at CFB Gagetown from 1952 to the present day. A major inter-departmental effort occurred over the next two years to conduct the analysis necessary to provide all the facts, including the testing in June 1966 and in June 1967, of Agent Orange, Agent Purple and other unregistered herbicides at CFB Gagetown.
The review was completed in Dec 2008. No Agent Orange or Purple was tested on bases elsewhere in Canada.
"This should be made known to the public," Trevors said.
A list sent to Trevors listing the agents used at CFB Chatham from 1959 to 1988 were a wide range of chemicals. No agents were specified during 1960 or 1965, however spraying did take place because it lists weed control, brush control, and soil sterilization during those times. Of the chemicals listed in 1984 — 2,4-D was used for weed control and 2,4,5-T was used for worm and grasshopper control.
The 2,4-D was first used in the late 1940s because it was easy and inexpensive to manufacture. It is still the most commonly used herbicide in the world. In addition,
2,4,5-T was a widely used broadleaf herbicide until being phased out in the late 1970s.
Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War was a mixture of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D. While 2,4,5-T itself is of only moderate toxicity, the manufacturing process of this chemical contaminates this chemical with TCDD which is extremely toxic (carcinogenic) to humans. It was withdrawn from use in the USA in 1983.
When contacted in regards to Trevors' concerns and the findings he was directed to Claude Perras from National Defence, who declined to speak about the issue.
"I need to talk to our public affairs people before I can discuss a response."
He did comment however that he "talked to project manager about this study," and is in the process of sending Trevors more information.
"I am a very aggressive guy," Trevors said. "I want to know why they didn't identify what chemicals they sprayed for those two years in 1960 and 1965. I still believe that my health problems have a lot to do with CFB Chatham."
"My positive attitude has kept me going," he added. "It's not just me that has had health problems. Several of my family members have had stomach problems and I have had calls from people from the surrounding areas that have lost a loved one to cancer."
His said his perspective is to never give up and he is going to keep fighting and looking for answers from the department.
We believe Mr. Trevors and countless others stationed at CFB Chatham and surrounding communties were poisoned just the same way as those of us who were stationed at CFB Gagetown and also those who lived in the surrounding communities.
In fact, over 1,895 (almost 1,900) people have now been compensated by our federal government via the ex-gratia payment for being poisoned. I am one of those people. Despite what the government says, they didn't give us the tax free $20,000 for having good health, quite the opposite. It is a clear and very obvious admission that they poisoned us and have tried to shut the matter down by giving this paltry amount for death and a life of disease, pain, lost family members, lost opportunities, lost income and lost health.
In DND document A-2004-00207, on page 77 in a briefing to the New Brunswick cabinet in January of 1985. DND Ottawa headquarters staff along with commanding officers from CFB Gagetown told the NB cabinet the following:
"...in 1983, Defence Headquarters became concerned with the persistence and migratation of picloram, other defence establishements reported the same problem.."
Picloram is a known carcinogen causing up to 283 different diseases and organ/system dysfunctions in humans because it was heavily contaminated with Hexachlorobenzene and sprayed in the millions of litres over CFB Gagetown and surrounding communities.
It was contained in the herbicide Tordon 101, otherwise known by the Americans as Agent White. The Americans sprayed over six million gallons on Vietnam, Our governments spayed almost one million gallons on CFB Gagetown and surrounding communities. This is one of Canada's best kept secrets. But DND's own documents prove these statements. Do your homework, look at the documents in the menu section of this website.
Picloram was heavily contaminated with Hexachlorobenzene, which is banned by the Stockholm Treaty in over 121 countries, It is one of the "dirty dozen" that cause cancer and one has to ask, where were the other defence establishments that were reported to have the same problems as CFB Gagetown? ("other defence establishments reported the same problem")
Since DND officials in Ottawa and CFB Gagetown thought it important enough to brief the NB cabinet at the time, it begs the question where were the other defence establishments? In our mind, given that CFB Chatham is only a couple of hundred kilometers from CFB Gagetown, it only is logical to make the connection that the same killing fields of CFB Gagetown were present at CFB Chatham. It is fairly obvious because the same brush clearing herbicides, Agent Orange, Agent Purple and Agent White were used at CFB Chatham since the same chemicals were used.
We believe there has been a widespread poisoning of military bases across Canada, CFB Gagetown is only one of them. CFB Chatham is another. Where are the others?
January 7, 2008
The Truro Daily News
Veteran feels guidelines for Agent Orange compensation are too strict
DEBERT – It has been more than 40 years since Debert resident Jim Dykens was first exposed to the powerful herbicide Agent Orange.
“I walked and crawled through every drop of that stuff,” Dykens, 74, said in disgust.
He was just a young man at the time, serving in the infantry with the Black Watch Regiment out of CFB Gagetown.
Back then everyone knew there had been something sprayed around the base, said Dykens, but no one knew what it was at the time.
Since 2007 a program has existed which distributes one-time, tax-free ex gratia payments of $20,000 to anyone now suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. However there has been a list of guidelines put in place to determine who is eligible for compensation.
Guidelines Dykens believes are too strict.
“My biggest concern is to get everybody who deserves something what they deserve,” he said.
Everyone who was at Gagetown when Agent Orange was sprayed in the 60s should be compensated if they are now sick, stressed Dykens. The family of a person who may have qualified for compensation but who passed away before the plan was introduced should also be able to apply.
“I think basically everyone who crawled through it, from the first time it was sprayed to the last time it was sprayed, probably got something (an illness) from it,” he said, shaking his head.
As the qualifications now stand the victim must have been alive as of Feb. 6, 2006. They also need to have at least one of 12 predetermined illnesses. These decisions are consistent with other ex gratia payments made by the government, said Heather MacDonald, a spokesperson with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“As a government, difficult decisions had to be made to resolve the issue. And that included identifying criteria for the eligibility for Agent Orange payments,” she said.
Dykens himself applied for the compensation in 2005 but was turned down.
He accepts the decision, but the application process made him more aware of the challenges other vets face. By coming forward with his concerns Dykens hopes to help raise awareness of the Agent Orange situation.
We believe, as Mr Dykens does, that the criteria for compensation for the ex-gratia payment is far too restrictive, only allowing for compensation for what the Americans sprayed in the summers of 1966 and 1967. A total of 483 litres.
What is missing is what DND sprayed from 1956 to 1984, 28 years of spraying over
3 million litres and kilograms of dioxin, hexachlorobenzene, 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T, and Picloram. These chemicals were nicknamed by the Americans as Agent Orange, Agent Purple and Agent White. Our government conveniently have used the American spraying as the basis for compensation while totally ignoring the millions of litres and kilograms that was actually sprayed.
A public inquiry is not only necessary but mandatory, Write to your M.P.
December 31, 2008
May your 2009 be a terrific year - best wishes for good health
December 24, 2008
WE WISH EVERYONE A VERY MERRY AND SAFE CHRISTMAS, MAY YOUR FAMILY BE BLESSED WITH PEACE AND JOYFUL MEMORIES.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
IN MEMORIUM - GLORIA SELLAR
Today's memorial service for Gloria Sellar at Royal Military College, Kingston, ON was attended by over 200 people. The service celebrated her storybook life and her close involvement in helping veterans poisoned by Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown.
The photo below was taken by emmy-winning photojournalist, Jonathan Silvers. In the background is an oil painting of her late husband Brigadier General Gordon Sellar who commanded the 1st Battalion Black Watch at CFB Gagetown.
picture by Jonathan Silvers, August 3, 2005
Friday, November 21, 2008
Study links heart disease, Agent Orange toxin
By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Scientists studying dioxin exposure in humans — including Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange — have found a correlation between the chemicals and the death rates of heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
The research, presented in Environmental Health Perspectives, shows that there are “consistent and significant dose-related associations” with heart disease and modest associations with cardiovascular disease.
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Environmental Protection Agency said they realized that most dioxin studies had centered on cancer rates, but no one had produced a review of research about cardiovascular disease.
“Future studies in both animals and humans should assess whether cardiovascular effects are present at environmentally relevant doses,” the authors wrote.
Environmental Health Perspectives’ editor, Hugh Tilson, said the report is of interest because cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in many countries, and dioxin exposure can be prevented.
So many, many of our veterans who were at CFB Gagetown and the civilians who lived there and in the surrounding communities have died of cardio-vascular disease as well as cancer. Now we finally have a link that is positive for heart disease to being exposed to dioxin. It is disgusting that our Government has ignored the health issues resulting from the mass posioning of our troops and civilians during a 28 year period.
We believe, and have been saying for years now, that it is well past time for a full public inquiry into these mass poisonings. Make it happen. Contact your M.P. and express your outrage.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
From CBC's Your Interview - Pesticides
Join us as an expert takes your questions on pesticide safety.
Is there evidence that lawn chemicals cause disease or syndromes in people?
What diseases or syndromes if any.are stimulated by lawn chemicals. Which lawn chemicals are the most dangerous?
*Dr. Khysar Pasha*: There are a number of studies conducted on the effect of pesticides on human health and they are known to cause malignancy, lymphoma, leukemia, and various cancers, mutagenecity, decreased fertility, liver malfunction, nervous system disorders, cognitive impairment, asthma, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. People who are exposed to these chemicals become “chemical sensitive”.
Dr. Khysar Pasha
holds M.Sc., M.Phil and Ph.D degrees in Chemistry and is presently a
Teaching Faculty at Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and
Technology (SIAST), Kelsey Campus, Saskatoon. He teaches
General Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Environment, Ethics and
Society, Quality Assurance and Quality Control and Organic Chemistry.
November 15, 2008
In reply to; "Company challenges Quebec over banned pesticide"
found in The Canadian Press
Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret)
Canadians and, in fact, people worldwide continue to hear from pesticide industry scientists how safe these pesticides are and yet everywhere they are used continues to have increased and multiple medical problems ranging from increased Cancers through increased allergies all the way to and including but not limited to immune deficiencies.
Being a CFB Gagetown toxic chemical (pesticide) defoliation victim also known as, "The Gagetown Atrocity", I am totally against any use of these (in my body) already demonstrated deadly and dangerous chemicals and it matters very little how many scientists (who get paid to find them safe) make the claim that they are safe. But I am not writing this to argue their evidence against our evidence because just like the Butter-Margarine issue there will never be definitive proof as long as we continue to listen to people who have a demonstrated conflict of interest and are paid very well for their corroborating research/evidence.
Something that struck me as worrisome in this article was the statement that, "Dow Agrosciences argues that Quebec's ban opens the door to making public policy without scientific criteria." Making public policy without scientific criteria and I maybe naively always thought that, "we the people," was what democracy was all about and yet Dow Agrosciences seems to be indicating that, "we the people ," should be replaced by, "they the industry," when it comes to public policy. It further seems to be saying that if we the people elect a government without using the scientific criteria to which they agree that they could and would in the future take us to an international tribunal to reverse democratically elected decisions. And may even be demanding that all our governments Municipal, Provincial and Federal consult with a foreign-based industry before making any decisions, virtually making it the foreign CEO's who run this country.
When CEO's and/or companies believe that their Boardroom decisions and the wishes of their investors can or even should trump democratically elected governments and their democratically arrived at decisions or laws, in my opinion it is high time that we started withdrawing all support for any company who has the same mind set and also any politician who dares to support or accepts money from them.
This in my view is a direct assault on our democracy and the Canadian way of life.
Canada has lost a courageous lady and I have lost a dear friend
Globe & Mail Obituaries -
GLORIA SELLAR 1926 - 2008 - On Thursday, November 6
Gloria died suddenly and peacefully of cancer at Kingston General Hospital. Born in Calgary, her major influence was a Grandmother who taught her how to: do carpentry, raise chickens, teach herself music and painting, cater large banquets and love animal husbandry.
While riding in the foothills, she met a handsome young fellow who, within a few months mailed her a marriage proposal for a wedding after his graduation from Royal Military College and just before his departure for the war. The wedding (immediately after her 17th birthday) began a 62 year partnership with Gordon Sellar. Gloria spent the war driving 18-wheeler trucks on the Alaska Highway, singing and dancing for troops in the Birks Jewellers Show, and, like most other girls, waiting and praying.
Gordon returned and, except for his time in the Korean War, they were never apart. Gloria became a homemaker and supporter of his career moving regularly around Canada, to Great Britain, Europe and Ghana. She maintained an active, engaged life raising three children, acting in community theatre, fund raising for the cancer society, riding, volunteering and painting. In 1979, the arrival of a pack of English Fox Hounds and five horses at their Kingston farm dominated her life for most of the next 25 years.
Gloria loved the animals and tended the hounds like a mother. The Frontenac Hunt Hound Pack was nurtured into one of the finest in North America with many prizes and championship hounds.
Gloria became a joint Master of the Hunt and continued judging hound shows for the Masters of Fox Hounds North American Association until 2008. Brigadier-General Gordon Sellar died from the tactical use of Agent Orange in 2004.
In his honour, Gloria, on her own, aggressively pursued recognition for the many veterans whose lives were also profoundly affected by Agent Orange. Within weeks, she gained national attention - newspaper chains, CBC, CTV, BBC, and NBC joined in. Sitting on the resulting ministerial study group, she oversaw the ultimate compensation process for her vets.
As an Honourary Member of the Black Watch Association, she continued to help sick veterans while she dealt with her own illness.
Gloria is survived by daughter Susan Rahn (husband Jim and Emily); son Rodney Sellar (wife Dawn and Madison); and daughter Robin Sellar (sons Adrian and Sean).
Her wish was cremation.
A memorial service is planned at the Royal Military College, Kingston, Currie Hall for 11:00 AM, Saturday, November 29.
A reception and light lunch will follow at the mess
Donations to the cancer society in lieu of flowers would be appreciated.
A storybook life, well lived. Many people will miss her
When I first met Gloria, it was two or three weeks after I had spoken at the CFB Gagetown Base Theatre Meeting on June 23, 2005. We both lived in Kingston and although I knew of her struggle to inform the world about Agent Orange being used at CFB Gagetown, I was reticent to contact her because she had just lost her husband, Gordon. It was a chance meeting at the grocery store that brought us together. She recognized me and waited to make herself known to me. It was a terribly hot day in late July, and she invited me to sit in her air conditioned car and we talked for over two hours about our respective struggles. Her struggle for government compensation for the veterans and mine for recognition and fair compensation for civilians. We became close friends in the fight against the government and we confided often on the telephone and I was her guest many times in her downtown condo as we traded documents and kept each other up to date on how each of us was progressing. I have met thousands of people in my life through my former employment and in my travels and I have to say, that I never met anyone quite like Gloria. She had an aura, a visible presence about her that not only commanded respect, but it made you aware you were in the presence of someone special, someone gifted, yet she professed to be a simple woman and was down to earth with everyone.
.....I will miss her....Kenneth Dobbie
October 18, 2008
Oromocto, New Brunswick
The Unveiling Of the Agent Orange Association of Canada Legacy Quilt
For the full story in the Oromocto Post on this quilt and Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown please click on the two following links:
1st Page Oromocto Post Oct 18-08
2nd Page Oromocto Post Oct 18-08
For some time now, we have been making a quilt to honour those in our Association who have had family die because of being poisoned by Agent Orange, Agent Purple and Agent White as a result of their exposure at CFB Gagetown and surrounding communities. This quilt was painstakingly put together by Carol Brown Parker.
October 14, 2008
The thought-provoking and inspirational paintings of a Fredericton cancer survivor, Barbara J. Gill with be hosted at Viktor's, 604 Main Street Woodstock, NB
Gill is a cancer survivor currently recovering from a rare form of the disease.
"The painting really came as a result of the illness," Gill said. "It evolved right around the time of my first cancer and that became a natural way for me to express all of my emotions at the time."
The exhibit, called The Colour of Reckoning, is described as the healing art of a woman's journey. On her Web site, Gill writes "It allows me to reckon with my spiritual, emotional and physical self."
Gill, a self-taught artist, said the painting helped her heal and move on.
There will be prints of the paintings available for sale, and part of the profits will be donated to the oncology unit at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton, as well as the Agent Orange Association of Canada.
"They're working hard to show the connection between illness and dioxins," Gill said. "The cancer I've had is directly linked to Agent Orange."
Gill was in the Maugerville area during the time of the spraying in the 1960s. "It's almost inconceivable that what can be so close to us can be so harmful."
Gill said her work isn't necessarily to make a statement, but to get people thinking.
Gill is also a writer, and self-published a book called Soul Gifts, a self-help book consisting of personal stories and artwork. On her website, Gill said the book is meant to help people "find that vulnerable place in their soul."
The reception will be held Oct. 16 at 6 p.m., and the exhibit will run from Oct. 16 to Nov. 14. For more information about Barbara Gill and her work, check out her Web site at www.shandarrah.com.
October 13, 2008
Please remember and VOTE tomorrow.
We look forward to the results.
October 9, 2008
The Agent Orange Association of Canada is holding a press conference tomorrow, Friday, October 10th at 1 PM.
The location is the Royal Canadian Legion, 284 Restigouche Road, Oromocto.
October 5, 2008
Sometimes we have to look at past news events to once again refresh our memories. This is one of those times. Please remember the Agent Orange Association of Canada remains apolitical and holds no offical party ties.
Compensate Agent Orange victims, Green Party says.
(MONTREAL, Monday, 5 December 2005) - It is a national disgrace that the Liberal government has continued to drag its feet on the issue of compensation for Canadian soldiers exposed to Agent Orange and Agent Purple in the 1960s at CFB Gagetown, said Green Party of Canada leader Jim Harris today after a meeting with veterans in Oromocto, New Brunswick.
It is a reminder that government accountability doesn't stop at the sponsorship scandal that has tarred this government; it also means protecting the very lives of Canadians.
"There are people living in New Brunswick and beyond today who were exposed to these cancer-causing agents at the behest of the American military who have yet to see a single cent of compensation, " Mr. Harris said. "Canadians have been used against their will as test subjects for American chemical warfare tests. What else will it take to get this government to act on their behalf?"
The history of Agent Orange (and the more potent Agent Purple) at Gagetown is as long as it is sordid. In conjunction with the American military, Canadian Armed Forces performed tests of the herbicides and defoliants there in the 1960s. Though the current government will only admit to a three-day testing period in 1966 and four days in 1967, media reports have suggested repeated experiments as early as 1956 and 1964 as well.
These tests - and there may have been more - exposed Canadian military personnel to the effects of the chemicals. Thousands of American military troops and an untold number of Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and the high instances of health problems and birth defects among them are well documented. Despite this, the Canadian government in a recent report states that "the health effects of Agents Orange and Purple exposure remain unclear."
Successive Canadian governments, including the most recent Liberal government, have hampered the compensation process for Canadian military. Some 40 years after CFB Gagetown was sprayed, Defense Minister Bill Graham admitted in June this year that his ministry still didn't have a comprehensive list of those who may have been exposed.
Even more insidious is that the testing of Agent Orange and Purple was done at the behest of the Americans - much like the testing of unwitting Canadian citizens at Montreal's Allan Memorial Institute by the CIA in the 1960s. "It's shameful that Canadians were used as Guinea Pigs by the U.S. government. Even worse is that in the case of CFB Gagetown, the government still has yet to own up to it and accept responsibility for it."
Green Party denounces Agent Orange "settlement"
OTTAWA – Too little, too late, a cheap cover-up of a shameful episode in Canadian history and an insult to Canadian veterans and their families.
That's how Green Party leader Elizabeth May described the federal government's compensation package for servicemen exposed to chemical defoliants such as Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick.
Veteran Affairs Minister Greg Thompson and Defense Minister Peter MacKay announced today that the government will make a one-time lump-sum payment of $20,000 to people who suffer health problems caused by exposure to the toxic chemicals during testing by the US military over seven days in 1966 and 1967.
But Ms. May said the settlement does not reflect the full extent and timeframe of herbicide spraying in the area. "We need a public inquiry to establish exactly what happened and who it happened to.
"For 50 years, successive Conservative and Liberal governments have covered up this scandal and ignored the suffering of the Gagetown victims and their loved ones," said Ms. May. "Today's announcement is just more of the same."
October 4, 2008
Statement of Defence filed by the federal government. Over three years late.
The federal government has filed its Statement of Defence, a scant 47 pages. In any court in Canada, the defendant has 30 days to file a statement of defence, otherwise the plaintiff can obtain a summary judgement against the defendant.
However, in this case the governrnent stalled for over 38 months in filing their defence for the class action lawsuit filed on July 12, 2005.
Their Statement of Defence leaves out most of the issues and generally does little to address the original Statement of Claim.
See the Statement of Defence in the Merchant Law Class Action link in our menu
October 2, 2008
Christchurch, New Zealand
No New Zealand doctor had penned "Agent Orange exposure" as the cause of a Vietnam veteran’s death – until last week when Sergeant Rakai-Paka "Pat" Hauwai died of cancer.
On his death certificate his doctor attributed the 65-year-old’s death to Agent Orange.
National Returned Services Association spokesman Stephen Clark says the RSA believes it’s the first time such a cause of death has been listed.
For decades Mr Hauwai, his wife Cavell and his family had been fighting the Agent Orange battle alongside his Vietnam veteran mates and the Returned Services Association. They wanted the government to recognise the health effects of the veterans’ exposure to the herbicide and defoliant while fighting with the New Zealand Army in Vietnam.
In May this year the government apologised to the Vietnam veterans for their treatment and acknowledged the suffering of men like Mr Hauwai and their families.
Many veterans suffered from leukaemia, soft tissue sarcoma and similar diseases. Their descendants suffer similar problems as well as spina bifida, cleft lip, cleft palate and adrenal gland cancer among others.
But Manurewa RSA Malaya and Vietnam branch president Theo Brunt says the government acknowledgement was too little and for Mr Hauwai too late.
"So many of our guys passed away, same symptoms as Pat’s but no doctor acknowledged their deaths’ connection to Agent Orange.
"The government now acknowledges it a little, but of late a lot of the guys have been getting sick," Mr Brunt says.
A grieving Mrs Hauwai says she wants her husband’s death to give "a huge push" to the veterans’ fight.
"I am relieved his doctor has the guts to put Agent Orange on his death certificate. It now will force the government to recognise its effects on these veterans and their families,” she says.
Most of the 4000 New Zealand military personnel who were part of the 1964-1972 New Zealand campaign in Vietnam were exposed to the powerful herbicide whose dioxin component increased their risk to various types of cancer and genetic defects.
“Over the years many of our mates have died without really knowing the truth about Agent Orange.
“The medical profession got used to the government’s statement of denial and doctors hid behind a veil of bureaucracy to deny our mates and their loved ones the truth about the cause of their death.
September 17, 2008
The News, Pictou Co., N.S.
Re: Continuing The Fight by Adam Richardson
Sandy Skipton, Auburn, N.S.
Sandy from NS writes:
I am surprised that someone is sticking up for McKay as it pertains to the Gagetown tragedy.
Compensation was offered for ONLY the summers of 1966 and 1967 when the Americans sprayed chemicals at CFB GAGETOWN, yet, the chemicals were sprayed starting in 1956 and DND sprayed 3,326,000 litres and kilograms, of 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T, dioxin, picloram & hexachlorobenzene on CFB Gagetown until 1984. These numbers are taken directly from DND documents.
Agent Orange, Agent Purple, Agent White.. all names given to the markings on barrels of CHEMICALS, to make them quickly identifiable to the solders that uploaded them for spraying. So Agent Orange is NOT a name of a chemical.... the very chemicals that were in the barrels were sprayed for several years and the government, including Peter McKay, don't want the full story to be exposed so 'they' chose to hide behind the barrel identification name of Agent Orange... I would NOT call this supportive
Perhaps SOME victims were given a token cheque for $20,000 as ex-gratia compensation for their exposure (a life is worth $20,00??). The victims who died prior to the magic date of Feb 6, 2006 are swept under the carpet and their estates can not apply even though their families suffered right along side of them during all the years they were ill. The handicapped children and many victims still live on in pain but are not recognized because NOT all illnesses fit into the incomplete list that the government set for the compensation... btw, Feb 6, 2006 is the date that Lord Harper and his group were installed as our government.
Harper promised in January 2006, during the last election “Our government will stand up for full compensation for persons exposed to defoliant spraying during the period from 1956 to 1984. We’ll disclose all information concerning the spraying to veterans and civilians, and will provide medical testing to anyone who may have been exposed.”
It never happened, he LIED... and he continues to make promises during this election that he will find a way to squirm away from....
Please educate yourselves, on this topic of Chemicals at CFB Gagetown, by reading the information posted at www.agentorangecanada.com
|Gail Radford-Ross from Saskatoon, SK writes: |
Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have down-played this issue since we found out we'd been poisoned on May 15, 2005. They refer to the two years, 1966 and 1967 when the US military were allowed to spray us with Agents Orange, Purple and White. But it was our Canadian government who gave them permission - a foreign country! - to spray us - men, women, children, and babies!
Our Canadian governments kept the spraying a secret for 50 years. Then they downplayed the news by telling us that the chemicals disappeared before they hit the ground. Later tests in areas of Camp Gagetown showed levels of dioxin that were 143 times the CCME levels - decades after the chemicals were sprayed! One MP told us that we were lucky they sprayed the defoliants, otherwise tree branches might have broken off and injured the soldiers!
Harper et al also continue to treat this as only a local issue in NB. Obviously nobody told him that military families MOVE - constantly! We're located all over Canada.
Wonderfully treated by the government? NOT! Supported by the goverrnment members? NOT!
This is a tragedy affecting hundreds of thousands of people, those of us still alive, that is. The government seems to hope that we'll all go away by dying off.
But what about our ill, diseased, and/or deformed children and grandchildren? They're going to get the justice that many of us will not live to see. And they're going to ensure what so many of us are attempting to do - to see that this kind of government betrayal and lying and killing of Canadian citizens never happens again in Canada!
September 13, 2008
From 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday, September 20th, the Agent Orange Association of Canada will have an information table at the Oromocto Shopping Centre. Members will answer questions about the extent of the sprayings, help people with ex-gratia paperwork and aid veterans in their appeals to DVA..
Part of this initiative is also to assist people who wish to join our Association.
Look for us, talk with us, join us.
Agent Orange Association of Canada
September 6, 2008
The Western Star, Newfoundland
It’s Time To Retire Agent White
Learn to look for it, and you’ll spot it far more often in this province than you might expect. And once you see it, it can’t help but make you wonder if there isn’t a better way.
From just above Portugal Cove South on the Avalon Peninsula until Cape Broyle, it’s just about as obvious as can be: on both sides of the road, sometimes right back into the tree line, all of the plants are dead, their leaves curled and orange-brown or black long before the first nip of frost.
The dead and dying plants are grouped in a strange and unnatural pattern: they’ve died off almost in square boxes, boxes that end abruptly within a few metres of any stream or watercourse, and then start up again on the other side. Sometimes, the edges of the box are raggedy: sometimes, fully-grown birch trees are shot up along one entire side with rusty dead leaves, like the tree has been exposed all along one side to the heat of a brush fire.
But it’s not a brush fire: this is a chemical burn.
Many people may be familiar with a herbicide known as Agent Orange. A chemical defoliant, Agent Orange used to be used not only as a military weapon, but as an industrial herbicide to restrict brush along power lines and roadsides.
It was vintage “better living through chemistry”: the active chemicals in the mix actually disrupted the internal mechanisms of plants, leading them to essentially starve themselves to death.
But even if you know Agent Orange, you might not be as familiar with its cousin.
What’s being used in this province is a chemical called Tordon 101 — a chemical, by the way, that used to be known as Agent White.
Tordon is a mixture of two active chemicals: picloram and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, better known as 2,4-D.
And as you look at the dead and dying vegetation on both sides of the road, you have to wonder if the end justifies these particular chemical means.
The Sierra Club, for example, has said that some 97 per cent of 2,4-D applications eventually end up in ground water. Denmark and Norway have banned its use. Spray opponents have pointed out that picloram is remarkably long-lasting in the environment, and that 2,4-D has been connected to reproductive effects in humans and may be connected to cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, as well.
This year’s spray program is apparently the leftover pieces from budgeted work last year: in all, across the province, the provincial government has spent $371,756 to spray a whopping 448 hectares of roadside land with Tordon.
That’s slightly more that 1,100 acres that has been chemically stripped of vegetation.
The money’s being spent to improve highway sightlines — primarily, to give drivers a better opportunity to spot moose.
It’s presumably cheaper than cutting back brush.
Interestingly, though, while the province went through an environmental assessment process before aerial spraying Mimic to kill hemlock looper, or Avietiv to control balsam sawfly, there doesn’t seem to have been any effort to go through the process before spraying this time.
Even if you’re cutting down trees for a hiking trail, you have to go through the environmental assessment process.
The thinking is probably that, since Tordon has been used for so long in so many jurisdictions, there’s no real need to examine whether we should be spraying with a chemical whose fundamental action is to disrupt normal cell biology in plants and essentially make them kill themselves.
Then again, for years, fire extinguishers were filled with carbon tetrachloride — before, of course, it was widely known that the chemical caused liver and kidney damage, and increased cancer risks. Now, government agencies advise you to properly dispose of any carbon tetrachloride you might still have in your house somewhere.
Times change, to put it simply — and the impression a good spraying with Tordon leaves with anyone passing through is far from a pleasing one.
Drive by Goobies on the Trans-Canada Highway, where whole swaths of alders, fireweed and other plants are now festooned with black and withered leaves, and ask yourself if we shouldn’t be talking about finding a better way than depending on a mutagenic chemical to do our dirty work for us.
August 26, 2008
The Daily Gleaner
Re: Story entitled "Veterans Affairs Minister Thompson trades barbs over Agent Orange money."
Both MP Andy Scott's and Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson's statements in the Michael Staples story are hypocritical.
The Liberals did nothing but deny the facts of what happened at CFB Gagetown, stonewall and set up an ineffective "for political show only" fact finding mission office in Oromocto to oversee an investigation of itself. Both MPs are playing politics in bright red letters, again at the expense of the victims.
Greg Thompson had a chance to do the right thing and fulfill the promise that Prime Minister Harper made in Woodstock when he pledged that his government would ensure compensation to "all" affected by the spraying from 1956-1984.
They didn't keep that promise.
Had they kept their promise and done the right thing, they would never have discriminated against two groups of victims by establishing a political cut-off date. They would have included "all" who died due to exposure to "all" the chemicals sprayed, not just to Agent Orange.
They also would have lengthened their list of diseases attributable to exposure to not only Agent Orange, but also to Agent White, Agent Purple, Hexachlorobenzene and numerous other toxic chemicals that the Department of National Defence itself sprayed over those 28 years.
By DND claiming it has lost employment records, medical reports and other pertinent information, it is telling the victims essentially that, "Since we don't have those records, you weren't there." This is another slap in the face.
Those who lost loved ones prior to this political cut-off date of Feb. 6, 2006 aren't even given a chance to prove their residency during those years, because this cut-off date has eliminated them totally from the process.
DND created the unacceptable criteria for the compensation package, so it certainly is possible for them to change it.
Only until they do this can this government truly say that they acted compassionately, kept their promise and did the right thing.
We will remember their broken promises when the next election is called.
August 21, 2008
Ottawa under pressure to change criteria for Agent Orange compensation
FREDERICTON — Federal Liberals are calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government to be more generous with compensation for victims of Agent Orange testing in New Brunswick.
Andy Scott, the Liberal MP for Fredericton, says it's unfair that so many people have been eliminated from compensation due to the government's decision to limit payments to people still living on Feb. 6, 2006 - the date the Conservatives came to office.
Scott says that due to the time limitation, less than half of the $95 million compensation package has been claimed.
A group called Widows on the Warpath also is pressuring the Conservative government to change the arbitrary date.
The group says as many as 20,000 widows would be eligible for the one-time $20,000 compensation payment if the time limitation was removed.
Ottawa announced the compensation program last year to help people whose health was damaged by the testing of Agent Orange and other defoliants at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in the 1960s.
We, at the Agent Orange Association, have been slamming the government since last September, when the Conservatives made their totally inadequate compensation package available. Yet no one has taken any notice.
We did not hear anything from the Liberals, despite phone calls and letters to their leader, Mr. Dion, and his cabinet critics and more senior members of the Liberal Party.
What has to be remembered here is that both Liberals and Conservatives allowed and condoned the sprayings for 28 years and BOTH parties covered it up for over 50 years.
Both Mr. Thompson and Mr. Scott are showing their political colours once again now that there are rumours of an election.
We have to ask, what have you been doing for the last year Mr. Scott? Why has this suddenly become an issue now, when it should have been an issue when the compensation package was announced almost one year ago? Did the widows scare you into thinking you might lose your seat?
In our opinion, for you to get off your rear end after one whole year and bring this up now smacks of opportunism, rather than real concern for your constitutents. You ought to be replaced in the next election because you do not deserve your seat.
And Mr. Thompson, you stated it was the best you could do. God, if it is the best you could do, you should stop pretending to be a cabinet minister and let someone who knows what they are doing take over the positon and do a REAL job at expanding the compensation issue. Go somewhere else and pretend.
August 11, 2008
AGENT ORANGE ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE TO HOLD ANNUAL MEETING IN N.S.
Executives of AOAC from all across Canada including British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will be holding their annual meeting near Pugwash, N.S. next week.
The meeting will cover the previous three years achievements, planning and strategy for the upcoming year and a possible visit to CFB Gagetown.
August 10, 2008
New York Times
Agent Orange Linked to Increased Risk of Prostate Cancer
Researchers examined prostate cancer incidence and disease characteristics in those exposed to Agent Orange compared to those who were not exposed. They found that twice as many men exposed to Agent Orange were identified with prostate cancer.
In a study first presented during the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA) in May 2008 and published in the September, 2007 issue of the journal Cancer, researchers examined prostate cancer incidence and disease characteristics in those exposed to Agent Orange compared to those who were not exposed.
They found that twice as many men exposed to Agent Orange were identified with prostate cancer. Agent Orange-exposed men were also diagnosed younger and were more likely to present with aggressive or metastatic disease. Other prostate cancer risk factors - race, body-mass index (BMI) and smoking - were not statistically different between the two groups.
This increased evidence suggests that exposure to Agent Orange should be considered a risk factor for developing prostate cancer,
About Agent Orange
Agent Orange is a combination of two synthetic compounds, 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T, known to be contaminated with the dioxin tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin (TCDD) during the manufacturing process. Named for the color of the barrel in which it was stored, Agent Orange was one of many broad-leaf defoliants used in Vietnam to destroy enemy ground cover. It is estimated that more than 20 million gallons of various chemicals, also known as "rainbow herbicides," were used between 1962 and 1971; approximately half of the herbicides were Agent Orange. In 1997, the International Agency for Research on Cancer re-classified TCDD as a Group 1 carcinogen, a classification that includes arsenic, asbestos and gamma radiation.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
Currently, digital rectal examination (DRE) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests are used to detect prostate cancer.
DRE: The physician inserts a gloved finger into the rectum and examines the prostate gland, noting any abnormalities in size, contour or consistency.
PSA Test: The PSA test is usually performed in addition to DRE and increases the likelihood of prostate cancer detection. The test measures the level of PSA, a substance produced only by the prostate, in the bloodstream.
Prostate cancer can be treated in a number of ways, including surgery, radiation and hormonal therapy. Some cases of prostate cancer may not need immediate treatment; active surveillance may be a viable option for these patients.
When should a man start regular prostate cancer screening?
Both prostate specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal examination (DRE) should be offered annually, beginning at age 50 years, to men who have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. Men at high risk (those with a family history of prostate cancer should consider beginning testing at an earlier age.
August 2, 2008
Minister of Veterans Affairs, Greg Thompson, changes standards for Agent Orange pension approval.
I believed it was a no brainer, a slam dunk when I presented my case for the second time before a Veterans Affairs Appeals Board hearing for the loss of my right lung due to what I believe was caused by my exposure to Agent Orange, Purple and White while living and training at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick in the sixties.
I presented references of five other similar appeals cases for Agent Orange exposure which were approved, even though the claimants could show no direct contact with the above mentioned chemicals.
They simply did what any good solder would do while training in Gagetown, we crawled, ate, slept and lived in dioxin and hexchlorobenzene contaminated ground for weeks at a time day in and day out year after year.
I bombarded the hearing with documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act which proved conclusively that Agent Orange, Purple and White were sprayed in quantities that would stagger the mind from 1956 to 1984
And not just the two and a half barrels sprayed by the Americans during 1966 and 1967 that the Harper Government and Greg Thompson would have you believe.
Even though after being denied a pension on my first go around with Veterans Affairs, I still qualified for and received the Government' s $20.000 ex-gratia package.
So why was I denied yet a second time for a pension by VAC?
Simply put, Greg Thompson has changed the rules. He has tipped the scales in the Governments favour, totally abandoning thousands of Gagetown chemical victims by saying only the chemical mixers and the applicators and only if they could prove they were involved in aaccident such as a chemical spill will be considered.
Mr Thompson's new pension approval guidelines will not affect those who have already been approved for pensions for exposure to Agent Orange, at CFB Gagetown such as the five similar cases which I presented the Appeals Board in my case, but it will definitely affect the Governments bottom line as it was intended.
July 27, 2008
Ken Young, Nanaimo, BC, published Internationally by the Agent Orange Working Group, USA
Canada's Dirty Dark Vietnam War Secret
It was shocking to many Canadian Veterans to find out that the Canadian Department of National Defense (DND) under the orders of the Canadian Government began testing Agent Orange, Agent Purple and later Agent White at CFB Gagetown starting in 1956, long before it was ever used by the US Military in Vietnam.
Now to be fair, the Canadian Government (Ottawa) claims that it wasn't actually testing these chemicals and that they were in fact conducting a defoliation program and even went so far as to claim that it was being done for our own good; so a branch wouldn't fall on our heads while training.
Ottawa went on to claim that the chemicals which they used weren't Agents Orange, Purple and White but let's face it the US hadn't coined the names of the Rainbow Chemicals yet and technically there never has been any chemical product registered under these names, and besides it was a Military designated name because of the paint strip around the barrels for easy identification in a time of war, which just happened to stick.
Now I have indicated that I believe Ottawa was testing these products on their own troops and that of the US and British military at Canadian Force Base (CFB) Gagetown in New Brunswick, Canada due to Ottawa's own words. Government Officials have stated that they neither knew that the chemical products contained (TCDD) Dioxin or (HCB) Hexachlorobenzene (both known carcinogens and without much doubt two of the most deadly man-made chemicals known to mankind),
nor even if they had that they didn't know that these two chemicals were harmful.
This clearly indicates that if these chemicals were in fact registered (not yet established) that little or no testing was done on behalf of the Canadian people by Health Canada and that the testing was actually being done at CFB Gagetown for both the Canadian and US Military, on our own Military personnel and with no regards to the collateral damage it might wreck on the surrounding civilian
Ottawa kept this 29 year defoliation program, or at least what chemicals they were using, secret for over 50 years and to this writer it was a far better kept secret then the nuclear weapons testing being done world wide. This Government secrecy had the effect of compounding the problem which as many as 350,000 possible victims
were facing as they began to become sick with all sorts of exotic and rare medical conditions, which most if not all Canadian doctors had neither experience nor knowledge of. Soldiers ,if they became too sick, were just discharged to the public sector and to civilian doctors ill-prepared to recognize or treat chemical contamination, and soldiers couldn't even give the doctors the heads up on the
possibility of toxic chemical exposure being a factor.
The US military is not innocent in this fiasco either as they accepted a Canadian invitation to test their sprays in 1966 and again in 1967 where they chose to spray chemicals on their allies which they had already stopped spraying on their enemies in Vietnam because of health concerns and chemicals which were illegal to spray in the US.
Ottawa has so far done very little for the victims which they created at CFB Gagetown even though over 3.3 million liters and/kilograms of toxic chemicals were sprayed there by Canada. This would most likely make Gagetown the second most sprayed area in the world and, because of it size or lack thereof, may actually contain more liters/kilograms per acre then most places in Vietnam and where concentrations of as much as 14,300 % above (CCME) Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment acceptable guidelines for dioxin was found only last year, forty years after the last chemicals claimed to contain dioxin were in fact sprayed.
What Ottawa (Canadian Government) has done for Gagetown victims is to offer a $20,000 one time Ex-grata (meaning they accept no guilt or responsibility) payment for soldiers and civilians who lived within a 5 klm radius of the Base in the summers of 66 and 67, while excluding any claims for compensation to anyone who had the bad form to have died before November 6th 2006--and then only if they can prove a
limited number of medical conditions for Dioxin contamination- - placing the blame squarely on the shoulders US Military's 2 and 1/2 barrels of chemicals while totally ignoring the over 6,500 barrels and over 1 million kilograms of Canadian sprayed chemicals of identical composition.
At this time there are as many as 4 Class Action Law Suits ongoing here in Canada, relating to CFB Gagetown and the chemicals used there, Ottawa refuses to call
for a full public and judicial inquiry, soldiers continue to train in a dioxin soaked training area and Veterans of the cold war Chemical weapons testing continue to die.
July 25, 2008
Mrs. Vera Dakin
Published today in the Daily Gleaner
Feb. 6, 2006 stands between widow, Agent Orange payout
In 2007 after hearing on television and reading in newspapers about help for people who were exposed to Agent Orange, and after listening to Greg Thompson's promises, I sent in an application for the Ex Gratia payment.
My husband had been in CFB Gagetown during the spraying of 1966 and 1967 and many years before and after. When I received my letter telling me that I was denied the Ex Gratia payment, I was shocked.
My husband died in 2004, and because the new government came into power in 2006, all claims for soldiers who died before then were denied.
I couldn't believe the new government could decide that a simple date - Feb. 6, 2006 - could separate my husband and soldiers like him from the same treatment as others.
My husband suffered from many things, cancer being the most deadly. A list of illnesses was made to determine who would be eligible. My husband had inoperable lung cancer, cancer of the brain, spinal cord, and prostate, ulcers, and other health issues.
He served his country for 25 years and was willing to die for it. We, as military widows left out and ignored by our government, are not willing to let this go by the wayside.
If there are any other widows with similar stories out there or anyone who can help us fight this cause in any way, please go to our website: www.widowsonwarpath.com
We, in the Agent Orange Association of Canada, encourage anyone reading this to visit the widows' website, then write to your M.P. Add your voices to the growing chorus of outrage.
Only by continuously telling this so called government how they have victimized the victims all over again by setting their date of coming to power as the cut off date for Ex-gratia compensation will justice be served. Make your voices and your votes count. Write letters, make phone calls and above all, increase your numbers of complaints about this odious and inadequate time-stamped compensation.
We call it a disgusting attempt to further cover the truth.
July 24, 2008
I am responding to Mike Staples' article in The Daily Gleaner, July 23rd:
"Ottawa will pick up the leftovers from Agent Orange fund".
When DVA put together their inadequate compensation package that only applies to a small number of Agent Orange victims, they came up with a projected figure of 4,500 claimants for the $20,000 ex-gratia payment and put aside $95.6 million for these claims. DVA has issued only 1,500 cheques. If 3,000 applications were denied, then over $60 million dollars is still in the kitty.
The responsible thing to do would be for PM Harper to keep his promise of compensation to all exposed to the chemicals that DND and the Americans sprayed over 28 years and distribute these monies to the widows of those who died prior to his self-imposed political cut-off date of February 6, 2006. To not do so is telling the surviving widows that their loved one's life is worth nothing because they had
the misfortune of dying prior to the date the Conservatives took power. What kind of logic and compassion is this?
Contrary to what Mr. Thompson says, his government has not taken responsibility.
This is not an American issue. The Americans sprayed Agent Orange for 4 days in 1966 and 3 days in 1967.
DND sprayed Agent Orange, Agent White, Agent Purple (more deadly), plus other
toxic chemicals, for 28 years, long before the Americans arrived and long after they left.
Why does Thompson's compensation package not include compensation for health issues arising from exposure to Agent White and Agent Purple and dozens of other chemicals, not just the Agent Orange that the Americans sprayed for a total of seven days?
I am amazed that Mr. Thompson doesn't think he could have done better. While in Opposition, he demanded that the Liberals call a Public Inquiry at least four times and criticized them for nvestigating itself.
Once elected, nothing changed. He had his chance to do better and he didn't.
Mr. Harper had his chance to keep his promise and take responsibility for what our governments did. He did neither. We will continue our fight until they do.
Wednesday July 23rd
By Michael Staples
The Daily Gleaner
Ottawa will pick up the leftovers from Agent Orange fund.
Any unclaimed money left over when the Agent Orange compensation program expires in 2009 will likely be returned to the government pot.
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said his department won't get to keep leftover funds. "Normally, under any of those types of programs, the money wouldn't actually go back to Veterans Affairs (but) to general revenues," Thompson said.
The federal government announced a $95.6-million compensation package last fall for veterans and civilians affected by the U.S. military's spraying of Agent Orange at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown during the 1960s.
Those who qualify and meet a number of medical requirements are eligible for a one-time, $20,000 ex-gratia payment. But payouts are only considered for primary caregivers of individuals who died on or after Feb. 6, 2006 - the date the government of Stephen Harper took office.
To date, more than 1,500 Agent Orange-related compensation cheques have been issued by Veterans Affairs Canada to those affected by the deadly chemical at CFB Gagetown.
Thompson's statement that leftover funds will end up in the government's general revenue account dampens the hopes of many groups, such as Military Widows on a War Path.
The Lincoln-based group has been working on ways to be included in the compensation package. Spokeswoman Betty Hudson said members of her group don't fall into the parameters established by the government, and they feel that's unfair. "He (Thompson) can run, but he can't hide," Hudson said. "We are not fighting this because of the money. We are fighting because of the principle. To send it back to general revenue is another swat in the face - not that I would want their leftover money."
Hudson said the government is doing nothing but patronizing her and other members of the group. "We're staying in his face," Hudson said. "We will not give up. We are just a small group, but we are picking up some members across the country."
Thompson said it's practically impossible to move beyond the dates the government has established.
He said the problem in making the compensation package perfect has to do with the 40-50 years that occurred between events." At the end of the day, it's good and I don't think we could have done any better," Thompson said.
"We take responsibility from the dates we announced and it's very difficult to move off those dates. I think the package we came up with is probably in the 80-90 per cent range in terms of perfection."
July 22, 2008Kelly Porter Franklin
London Free Press
Of bees, bats, birds, frogs, fish and kids
What do bees, bats, birds, frogs, fish and kids have in common? Bees, bats and frogs are dying in such record numbers that the word "extinction" is often connected.
Other amphibians, birds and fish are also all dying in record numbers. There is an explosion in the number of children getting cancer, asthma and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, among other serious health problems. More girls are now being born than boys.
All of this is well documented. Is there a common cause?
All of these phenomena have arisen since the widespread use of pesticides began in Canada.
Let's take one pesticide that has been available for 35 years - Roundup, made by Monsanto - and put it under the microscope. One of the ingredients in Roundup that we're allowed to know about is called glyphosate.
We are not told what the other ingredients are because it's a trade secret. WHY?
In 2003 scientists in Canada began expressing alarm because glyphosate caused the
toxic fungal mould Fusarium to proliferate in harvests of wheat and barley.
There were 50 scientific papers published demonstrating the link.
What is causing the deaths of so many bees, bats and birds? They are all pollinators and are associated with our agriculture. If you type "Colony Collapse Disorder" and "Pesticides" into Google, you get almost 100,000 hits. The decline of frogs and fish is due to their location downstream from the killing fields.
And the kids? They are right in the middle of it all wherever they go, whatever they eat and inhale.
It is time for us to tell our pesticide-pushing Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to stop lying to Canadians. There is no sane reason for us to trade our health and ecosystem for dollars.
July 19, 2008
London Free Press
Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (Ret'd)., Nanaimo, BC
The Agent Orange Association of Canada (AOAC) are doing what both Ottawa and Veterans Affairs (VAC) should be doing for Gagetown toxic chemical victims.
Even though Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson's compensation package for CFB Gagetown is ludicrously inadequate, both Ottawa and VAC have added insult to injury for the 1% of victims of Gagetown they were designed to deal with.
This has left the Agent Orange Association of Canada as one of the only sources of advertising and information for the eligible victims when the DVA closed their office on Restigouche Road in Oromocto.
AOAC member Marilynn Kirchgessner said,
" I'm getting more and more phone calls (thanks to our ad in the Oromocto Post) from elderly people who are sick and dying, wanting to know if they qualify for the $20,000 compensation money and how to get the application forms. Most don't have a computer. I've been printing them off and mailing the application to them and don't mind doing that at all. That's what we're here for."
What AOAC members are angered about is that the DVA closed their office on Restigouche Road 9 MONTHS before the deadline of April 2009 for the filing of applications.
The AOAC is now doing their job and is picking up the tab for advertising - which should have been the responsibility of OTTAWA.
Problem is that with limited finances, and the cost for advertising, the AOAC is only capable of paying for a limited coverage area.
AOAC executive member Sandy Skipton stated,
" We can only afford to advertise in that area and not across Canada, as the DVA should be doing."
Keeping it local is something which Ottawa would dearly like. But like most all of the other CFB Gagetown questions, it is once again totally unfair to the victims, who Ottawa created through what seems to have been neglect when registering chemicals for use in Canada and in this case not even caring if they were registered at all.text