US veterans demand justice from Agent Orange spraying at CFB Gagetown (II)

Agent Orange Association of Canada supports US action, demands end to impunity. Part II in a series; for Part I, visit here

CFB Gagetown locator map.3(Mike Staples, Daily Gleaner NB) – THE co-president of the Agent Orange Association of Canada Inc. is applauding an announcement last week by the State of Maine to have the U.S. federal government recognize environment hazards associated with military training at Gagetown.

Carol Brown Parker said it’s encouraging to see Maine Gov. Paul LePage involved.

“To see this official action at this level of authority in the U.S. can be likened in Canada to the premier of New Brunswick, David Alward, going to Ottawa to get help and assistance from our federal government through the National Defence and Veterans Affairs departments,” Brown Parker said.

Last week, LePage signed a resolve requesting recognition of environmental hazards and the resulting health risks and disabilities suffered by certain members of the Maine National guard while training at Gagetown.

In a news release, the Maine government said the U.S. Department of Defence, along with Veterans and Emergency Management, has been pursuing the recognition of the environmental hazards that Maine’s service men and women may have been exposed to at Base Gagetown with the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2005.

“This resolve will support federal legislation that has been submitted in the House and Senate by Maine’s Congressional Delegation,” the release said.

“For decades members of the Maine National Guard trained at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick. In 2007, the Canadian government admitted to working with the United States military in testing the herbicides Agent Orange, Agent Purple, Agent White and other unregistered pesticides at locations around the base in the late 1960s and began paying one-time settlements to its own veterans who served on the base.”

In 1966-67, defoliants, including Agent Orange, Agent Purple and Agent White, were tested at Gagetown. The sites were located in a remote, 33-hectare forest containing both deciduous and conifer trees, the report stated.

The base and the U.S. Department of the Army conducted the tests to determine how best to remove vegetation in training areas.

The news release said the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has not recognized any correlation between the symptoms experienced by Maine National Guard soldiers and their exposure to harmful chemicals used at the training base.

But, LePage said, Maine’s military members have sacrificed so much in service to both the State and nation.

“It is our duty as a country to take care of these brave men and women when they return sick or injured and I urge the Department of Veterans Affairs to act swiftly on righting this wrong,” LePage said.

Brown Parker said the Maine National Guard initiative is asking for ongoing health care and compensation for those exposed to the toxic chemicals and not a small one time payout.

In 2007, the federal Tory government announced an Agent Orange compensation package for veterans and civilians affected by the spraying of the lethal herbicide at Base Gagetown during the 1960s. Those who qualified received a $20,000 ex gratia payment.

Brown Parker said the Agent Orange Association of Canada Inc. has obtained two different DND documents that show evidence of other spray periods of Agent Orange and/or 27 other dioxins sprayed at the CFB Gagetown excluding 1966 and 1967. These documents indicate active spray programs from 1956 to 1984.

“Our people who worked and lived near CFB Gagetown from 1956 to 1984 and who were exposed to these toxic herbicides are deserving of better health benefits, compensation for their illnesses and suffering at the hands of our governments,” Brown Parker said.

“Hopefully, it will not take another country to show Canada the appropriate way.”

Aside from U.S. and Canadian soldiers who served at Gagetown, Brown Parker said people should also not forget the 16,000 British soldiers who trained every summer too.

“Where and what is the government of Britain doing to help their soldiers? ‘Nothing’ is the reply from British soldiers who have contacted our association.”

Brown Parker is encouraging concerned citizens to write their local MLA, as well as get the premier, their MPs and the prime minister involved.

“This is exactly what our neighbours in Maine are doing.”

Co-President Agent Orange Association of Canada Inc.

Head Office Westfield, N.B.

http://www.agentorangecanada.com

agentorangecarol@yahoo.ca

8 Comments

Filed under History, No Harbour for War (Halifax)

8 responses to “US veterans demand justice from Agent Orange spraying at CFB Gagetown (II)

  1. Pingback: U.S. veterans demand justice from Agent Orange spraying at CFB Gagetown | Tony Seed's Weblog

  2. Hi Carol,

    I saw your comments in The Daily Gleaner yesterday! Just wanted to let you know that the NDP asked a question in the “HOUSE OF COMMONS” yesterday about Agent Orange (Please see below). “Please feel free to distribute to your e-mail lists if you wish.”

    Holly Brown
    Assistant to Peter Stoffer, MP
    Official Opposition Critic for Veterans Affairs
    New Democratic Party | Nouveau Parti démocratiqu
    2900 Hwy #2 Fall River, NS B2T 1W4
    Phone: (902) 861-2311 | Email: stoffp0@parl.gc.ca

    –Oral Questions–(House of Commons, Ottawa)-3 p.m. NDP – Jack Harris St. John’s East, NL

    Mr. Speaker, veterans are not the only ones being forgotten by the government. Decades of Canadian Forces members and civilians who were exposed to the toxic defoliant Agent Orange are also being ignored. It is not so in the U.S., where the Governor of Maine is working with the U.S. Department of Defence and veterans affairs to help Maine national guard members exposed to Agent Orange at Gagetown get ongoing compensation and health care.

    When will ALL Agent Orange victims in Canada see this kind of help and full compensation from their government?

    Veterans-Oral Questions 3 p.m. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Conservative

    REPLY–Rob Nicholson Minister of National Defence -Mr. Speaker, we are in fact the only government that ever worked on this file and fixed it.

    That being said, just as in this instance and carrying forward, we will make the best interests of our men and women in uniform and our veterans a priority for this government. I am very proud of that.

    REPLY FROM– Carol Brown Parker, Agent Orange Association of Canada Inc.
    The reply from Minister Nicholson is the same old same old repsonse that the Conservative Government has been giving since Ex-Gratia was terminated by them and did not cover the full years 1956-1984. Once a Action Plan is started it needs to be completed and the Agent Orange File is far from completion. Write Minister Nicholson and let him know he dropped the ball on the Agent Orange file. This is your opportunity to be heard. Let’s keep the momentum going!

    Like

  3. John McCulligh

    We laid to rest another veteran exposed to Agent Orange this past weekend in Petawawa, Ontario. To date his Agent Orange related application for benefits has not been processed by Veterans Affairs.

    Like

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  6. Pingback: U.S. veterans demand justice from Agent Orange spraying at CFB Gagetown (I) | Tony Seed's Weblog

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