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CFB Gagetown - Toxic Chemicals - 1956-1984

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Author Topic: CFB Gagetown - Toxic Chemicals - 1956-1984  (Read 8049 times)
Kenneth H. Young
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« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2009, 08:24:03 am »

http://static.canadaeast.com/archives/postgazette/20090606/XFP0606A0164.pdf

SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 2009

 

agent orange widow says protests won’t stop until there’s a resolution

 

Rally held in St. Stephen to demand full, public inquiry into toxic spraying

 

By GiLLiAn CHrisTie

This Week

 

The agent orange association of Canada organized a rally outside federal Veterans affairs Minister greg Thompson’s office in st. stephen to demand for one thing: a full, public inquiry into the toxic spraying at CFB gagetown between 1956 and 1984.

 

Fourteen members of the Military widows on a war path attended the rally, including founder Bette hudson from waasis. “i think a lot of attention was paid to the widows, actually,” hudson said. “we were there in a supportive capacity so that a united front was, sort of, shown.”

 

she said she is confident the message that they’re not going away was reiterated and heard that day.  “i do believe that somebody is listening and hopefully we’ll get our message out,” hudson said. “it won’t be dying down at all, not for the widows, because we will keep going on until we get some resolution. we want what they owe us; it’s as simple as that.”

 

This group of ladies has been excluded from the government’s ex gratia settlement for those who were affected by the toxic spraying at CFB gagetown during the summers of 1966 and 1967.

 

Their husbands had already died of illness caused by the spraying before the Feb. 6, 2006 date when the harper government assumed office. “They’re so busy paying out others that they’ve forgotten us. we’re going to fight on until we get a resolution and they have to realize that,” Hudson said. “we’re quite different because we’re all widows, we’ve all lost our husbands and we’ve been snubbed by ottawa. it’s time that they know that we are just not going away.”

 

she said, overall, the message of all who attended the rally and offered their voice to the cause was heard. “i think they definitely got their point across to which the government announced within 30 minutes that they were not going to have a public inquiry,” ,hudson said.

 

“That’s part of the arrogance. we can’t let it go and we’re not going to.” retired Cpl. ken Young travelled from nanaimo, B.C. to be at the rally last Tuesday. he is an active member of the agent orange association of Canada and said this rally was something he felt he had to be a part of. he said it wasn’t as attended as they would have liked, but despite a lower than anticipated number, they’re confident their message got out. “it was a very nice coalition of gagetown victims. That was nice to see,” Young said. “The funny thing is, the people of st. stephen were coming up to us and asking what we were doing. a lot of them had not even heard of agent orange being used in gagetown. The government, that’s the way they want it. if nobody knows about it, nobody’s going to complain.”

 

There was a large number of people who couldn’t do the walk but drove from the starting point to the minister’s office. Many are suffering from health issues that prevented them from being there at all. Young said this rally is just one of a number of projects planned to help elevate the awareness of this situation.

 

“This isn’t just a new Brunswick issue. The soldiers, by their very nature, came from all over the country and they were sent here,” Young said. “This is the combat arms school.” He said he’s sick of hearing the government’s excuses in limiting the payment to so few affected.

 

“Did they do their job when they registered [Agent Orange]?” he said. Another excuse Young doesn’t accept is the fact that the government claims they didn’t know the toxic dioxins were present in the chemicals they were spraying yet, contradicting themselves, have said that because the chemicals were produced in Canada they were made at a slower, safer rate and removed all of the harmful products before putting it into use.

 

“If I have a registered gun, does that mean I can shoot you?” Young said. Young said government reports have claimed both themselves and the chemical companies were not aware HCB and PCP dioxin in the chemicals.

 

“Why are they registering chemicals if they didn’t even know what’s in them?” he said. These Canadian chemicals were made in peace time so the manufacturers made it slower and there was less dioxin in it. If they didn’t know it was in there, how can they know they removed it? Why would they remove something they didn’t know was in it?” Young said.

 

“If I can figure that out, anyone can.” “There’s no going back. This has gone out of control,” he said. “The government has not even tried to deal with it. If anything, what they’ve done with the ex gratia payments, is they’ve tried to weasel it down to the smallest number of people they could possibly get away with paying, hoping it would go away. In doing so, they’ve insulted a great number of the people who were

involved.”

 

“When they came to power, they had the chance of cleaning it up without any guilt because they had absolutely nothing to do with it because it was the Progressive Conservatives and Liberal parties. For them to do what they’ve done, it was basically a big cover-up. They not only inherited but they’ve adopted the cover-up.”

 

next up for these protestors is a rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in October. Rally organizing group Agent Orange Association of Canada Inc.’s copresident Carol Brown Parker said they need to keep going in their quest to receive a full, public inquiry and they’re going to continue to do whatever they can to make that happen.

 

“There are so many people, even in this area, who don’t know or understand,” Brown Parker said. “There are a lot of misconceptions and they really highlighted it at the rally.” The AOAC has named June 15 as the deadline for the Greg Thompson to establish contact with them.

 

“I am willing to be a point person for an initial discussion on this topic and look forward to the Minister’s receptiveness,” Brown Parker said. “I’ll be waiting for Greg Thompson to communicate with me. I want a face-to-face, one on one conference to discuss the options and how we are going to go from here. It’s not a dead issue. Far from it.”

 

“I’m not looking for money,” she said. “I’m looking for that full, judicial inquiry. We need them to admit what was happening.”

 
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