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TOPIC: CFB Gagetown (Question period)
#229
CFB Gagetown (Question period) 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
Veterans Affairs
[Table of Contents]

Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, two Fridays ago, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs gave a very cold and deliberately misleading statement to my question on agent orange.


I would now like for the parliamentary secretary to stand, look in the camera and tell Agnes Conrad of Nova Scotia, Rose Gravelle of New Brunswick, Chris Young of Ontario, Fredrick Weaver of British Columbia and thousands of others who have been denied agent orange assistance even though the Prime Minister and the Minister of Veterans Affairs promised that they would get it.


Would he please stand, face the camera and tell those people how happy they should be on what you did on agent orange compensation?

(1155)

[Table of Contents]

The Speaker:
The hon. member maybe was intending to address his remarks to the Chair and may have addressed the parliamentary secretary instead.


The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

[Table of Contents]

Mr. Greg Kerr (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure, in the way the member phrased his question, that he was intent on getting a serious answer on what has been a most serious issue facing many Canadians who were around CFB Gagetown in the years 1966-67.


The fact is that was 40-some years ago and it has been looked at and studied. The previous Liberal government totally ignored dealing with the issue. I think even the member would acknowledge the fact that it was our government that stepped up. We provided ex gratia payments because it was so difficult to get the records all straight. We responded to the issue--

[Table of Contents]

The Speaker:
The hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore.

[Table of Contents]

Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore, NDP):
With great respect to my colleague from Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, it was not 40 years ago. The spraying in Gagetown happened from 1958 to 1984. He knows that very well. He also knows that the Minister of Veterans Affairs, when in opposition, promised on four separate occasions to call for a public judicial inquiry to get all those documents and call for the facts of this. He also knows that the Prime Minister was in Gagetown in 2006 and promised that everybody from 1958 to 1984 would be looked after. That is simply not what has happened.


Will the parliamentary secretary now rise in his place and do two things: first, extend the compensation deadline for agent orange--

[Table of Contents]

The Speaker:
The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

[Table of Contents]

Mr. Greg Kerr (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, it is most unfortunate that the member, who should have knowledge of the veterans as much as anybody should in the House, would deliberately point out something that is absolutely erroneous.


The program that was put in by this government was for people who were hit in 1966-67 by agent orange. The program has been very effective. Over 2,100 people have been recognized and have in fact been sent cheques.


I would also point out that, as emotional as the member gets, it is a shame that his leader and party have not supported any of the programs for veterans in Canada.

* * *
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#231
Re:CFB Gagetown (Question period) 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
Dear Mr. Greg Kerr (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, CPC),

I once again listened to your responses, I say responses because they sure were not answers to Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore, Veterans Affairs Critic for the NDP) questions on March 27th 2009 concerning CFB Gagetown and the Toxic Chemicals used there which regardless of how many times you say 66 & 67 actually took place from 1956 through 1984 or a full 28 years and to the tune of more then 3.3 million pounds/liters of dioxin and HCB contaminate chemicals.

I will acknowledge the fact that it was your (Party) government that stepped up... up to a point... the point being Mr. Harper's campaign speech in Woodstock NB., before the 2006 election where He promised Canadian Veterans and their families that he would (if elected) make sure that all (ALL) victims of Gagetown Chemical use from 1956 through 1984, would be compensated and that all people who believed that they were affected would be tested for the chemicals. I also give credit to Mr. Thompsons calls for (again before the election) a full public and judicial inquiry into Gagetown Chemical spraying. But that Sir is as far as I will give the present government credit for.

The ex-gratia Gagetown payment were and are still designed to divide and conquer and if it were not for the internet Canada might even have believed that your Government had actually dealt honestly and fairly with the issue, "Except for the internet!!!" However those days where Ottawa can tell Canadians anything they please and the citizens can not check to make sure is as dead and gone as many of the victims of Gagetown are.

You go on to claim that because it was 40 years ago (more honestly between 51 & 23 years ago) that Ottawa and the DND are unable or more likely unwilling to furnish documentation that the ex-gratia package is the best you could do. When it is in fact the duty as well as the responsibility of Ottawa and DND to maintain historical Military documentation for precisely situation like this. There is no excuse for lost documents and furthermore instead of eliminating 95.5% of the possible victims, should in fact strengthen their claims with VAC and because of the government and DND 's incompetent loss of documentation it may well be the reason why VAC has chosen to ignore the Veterans Act by refusing to Give Gagetown Victims the benefit of the doubt as mandated in that Act.

It seems to many Canadians that the same Ottawa who didn't do their jobs when registering toxic chemicals, refused to do their jobs by informing the soldiers when they did realize that the chemicals were contaminated and then refused to do their jobs when it comes to taking care of the sick and dying from this their 28 year mistake are now wishing a be given a, "get out of jail free card," for not having done their jobs in maintaining the documentation required by law. Is anyone in Ottawa suffering for these mistakes? No, it was then and still is now the Veteran who is being asked to grin and bare it. We die because of Ottawa's mistakes and now we have to listen to pompous statements in the house as to how good we got it and that we are not entitled to any compensation because Ottawa can't find their paperwork.

The program that was put in by this government for 1966-67 is meaningless because the program for the toxic defoliation chemicals in question used at Gagetown by the government was from 1956 through 1984 and has in fact only compensated one half of one percent of the possible victims as reported by their own BGAFFP.

I will admit that nothing was done by the previous Liberal government, but also the conservative government before it and so on rotating liberal and conservative governments all the way back to the Liberal, St.Laurent Government of 1956, so Mr. Kerr your government needn't be so smug today and in fact shares the blame as much as any of other government before them. This is however not a time for blame and should have been look at and dealt with as a golden opportunity to correct atrocities of the past and yet here we are once again with Ottawa denying and lying until we the Veterans do the dying.

It must even to you be self evident that the registration of these chemicals by Ottawa when they neither knew what was in them nor their medical consequences was a mistake and a mistake which leaves Ottawa liable for damages. It must also be apparent by now that Ottawa chose not to give the Veterans the medical heads up so that they could seek medical help when Ottawa did find out about the problems associated with TCDD and HCB in Gagetown which in turn caused even further medical damage, once again leaving Ottawa liable. But pulling the somewhat worn out, "The dog ate my homework," as a reason why the rest of the soldiers will just have to suffer and die on their own, is beyond contempt even for the Conservative Party Of Canada.

I can now in many cases see that many MP's constituents elect them to office to keep them off of the streets of their home and why.
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#243
Re:CFB Gagetown (Question period) Press release 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
-----Original Message-----
From: NDP/NPD Communications
Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 1:52 PM
To: NDP/NPD Communications
Subject: NEW DEMOCRATS DEMAND JUSTICE FOR AGENT ORANGE VICTIMS / LES NÉO-DÉMOCRATES RÉCLAMENT JUSTICE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 31, 2009

NEW DEMOCRATS DEMAND JUSTICE FOR AGENT ORANGE VICTIMS

FALL RIVER, NS - The victims of Agent Orange, defoliant, and herbicide spraying at CFB Gagetown are being let down by the federal government. New Democrat Veterans Affairs Critic Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore) is urging the federal government to keep its promise to compensate victims who were exposed not just to Agent Orange but to all the other toxic herbicides and chemicals sprayed by the Department of National Defence from 1956-1984 and to call for a public inquiry into the sprayings.

"The Canadian government poisoned its own citizens from 1956 to 1984 and needs to make good on its promise to look after everyone," said Stoffer. "Tragically, many thousands of people do not qualify for Agent Orange ex gratia payment because of severe eligibility restrictions put in place by this Conservative government."

In 2005, Harper promised that if Canadians elected a Conservative government, they would provide full compensation for those exposed to spraying from 1956 to 1984. The government's program however, restricts compensation to veterans and civilians who served between June and September of 1966 and 1967 and also excludes the families of victims who died before February 6, 2006.

April 1 is the last day individuals can apply for the Agent Orange ex gratia payment but compensation has only been paid to less than half of those expected to be eligible for even this limited program.

"I am now very concerned that the government will close the book on this issue and forget about the many thousands of Canadians still suffering from ill health or those who lost a loved one because of the spraying," Stoffer added. "I urge the government to extend the deadline for the ex gratia payment and lift the restrictions on this program."

"While in opposition, Minister Thompson called for an independent public inquiry into the CFB Gagetown sprayings several times. Now that he is in a position to act, he must follow through."

-30-

For more information, please contact:
Holly Brown, Office of Peter Stoffer, 902-861-2311
George Soule, Caucus press secretary, 613-850-3448 or souleg@parl.gc.ca


****

POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE
31 MARS 2009

LES NÉO-DÉMOCRATES RÉCLAMENT JUSTICE
POUR LES VICTIMES DE L'AGENT ORANGE

FALL RIVER (Nouvelle-Écosse) - Le gouvernement fédéral abandonne les victimes de l'agent Orange, de défoliants et d'herbicides vaporisés à la base des Forces canadiennes (BFC) Gagetown. Peter Stoffer (Sackville-Eastern Shore), porte-parole néo-démocrate pour les affaires des anciens combattants, exhorte le gouvernement fédéral à tenir sa promesse d'indemniser les victimes qui ont été exposées non seulement à l'agent Orange, mais à tous les autres herbicides et produits chimiques toxiques vaporisés par le ministère de la Défense nationale, entre 1956 et 1984, et à ordonner l'ouverture d'une enquête publique à ce sujet.

« Le gouvernement du Canada a empoisonné ses propres citoyens de 1956 à 1984 et doit maintenant honorer sa promesse de veiller au bien-être de ces gens, a déclaré le député Stoffer. Et ce qui est tragique, c'est que des milliers de personnes ne sont pas admissibles au programme d'indemnisation de l'agent Orange en raison de critères d'admissibilité rigoureux imposés par le gouvernement conservateur. »

En 2005, M. Harper avait promis que si les Canadiens élisaient un gouvernement conservateur, il indemniserait entièrement les personnes exposées aux produits vaporisés de 1956 à 1984. Toutefois, le gouvernement a restreint le droit à l'indemnisation aux anciens combattants et aux civils qui ont servi entre juin et septembre de 1966 et 1967 et exclut les familles de victimes décédées avant le 6 février 2006.

Le 1er avril est la dernière journée pour faire une demande d'indemnisation relative à l'agent Orange. Or, à peine la moitié du nombre estimé de personnes admissibles à ce programme déjà limité ont reçu leur argent.

« Je crains que le gouvernement ne relègue la question aux oubliettes et fasse fi des milliers de Canadiens qui sont toujours malades ou qui ont perdu un être cher à cause de la vaporisation de produits chimiques, a ajouté M. Stoffer. J'exhorte le gouvernement à repousser l'échéance pour faire une demande d'indemnisation et à supprimer les restrictions qui s'y rattachent. »

« Lorsqu'il était dans l'opposition, le ministre Thompson avait aussi exigé à de nombreuses reprises l'ouverture d'une enquête publique indépendante sur la vaporisation de produits chimiques à la CFB Gagetown. Maintenant qu'il est du côté du pouvoir, il doit passer à l'action. »
-30-

Pour de plus amples renseignements :
Holly Brown, bureau de Peter Stoffer, 902-861-2311
George Soule, secrétaire de presse du caucus, 613-850-3448 ou souleg@parl.gc.ca
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#244
Re:CFB Gagetown (Question period) Press release 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
Dear Cpl. Young,



Thank you for your follow-up email concerning the unfair treatment of Agent Orange victims by the federal government.



I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the NDP’s ongoing work on this matter. On behalf of our party, NDP Veterans Affairs Critic Peter Stoffer has been working with the Agent Orange Association of Canada (AOAC) and pushing the Harper Conservatives to strengthen its Agent Orange compensation package and make good on their promise to call a public inquiry.



Last year Peter held a press conference with representatives of AOAC on the status of those veterans and civilians not eligible for the Agent Orange ex gratia payment and those seeking more answers through a public inquiry. He stated: “The onetime payment the government has offered to Agent Orange victims is astoundingly low. The payment does not adequately compensate veterans and civilians for the high health care costs they may incur over their lifetime. The Conservatives must meet their original promise to provide full compensation to those exposed to defoliant spraying at CFB Gagetown for almost thirty years.”



I want you to know that the NDP will continue to demand that the Harper government treat the Agent Orange victims with fairness. We think a full public inquiry into the handling of the Agent Orange issue and the defoliant sprayings at the base from 1956-1984 is necessary.



Again, I appreciate hearing from you on this appalling issue. All the best.



Sincerely,





Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)

Leader, Canada’s New Democrats
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#245
Re:CFB Gagetown (Question period) Press release 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
I have sent out letters to each of the leaders of the Federal parties in Canada. This is so far the only responce. I will post all replies when and if they come.
It is time we knew where our parties lie on this question.

Ken
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#246
Re:CFB Gagetown (Ombudsman) 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
Hi All,

This may be a reminder/ repeat to some or it might be the first time you've been made aware of the link below.

The OVO is looking for your feedback. I thought you might use your networking to ensure all veterans/veterans families are aware of this outlet to voice their/your beefs, findings, constructive criticisms, experiences etc. etc.. Don't be shy. No beef/observation is too small. Anyone of them might identify a systemic problem that has been an irritant to a great number for many, many years.

I realize there are some who may be tired and frustrated after all the years of speaking out and feeling no one is really listening. Understandable. However, what's one more time, if it will help one of our own?

It's my belief that we seize every opportunity. Who knows? I won't stop speaking out to whomever has an ear and especially if someone asks for my opinion. That's rare 'cause most times I'm offering it to a great many who wish I wouldn't bother. Until every veteran has been taken care of, what choice do we have?

All the best...Claudia
www.ombudsman-veterans.gc.ca/highlights-...es-processus-eng.cfm
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#249
CFB Gagetown Rally and March of Thompson's Office 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
To anyone with concerns about Gagetown Chemicals,

Many groups will be demonstrating and marching on Greg Thompson's Office and all are welcome to participate.

The date and time for the protest will be May 19th. at 2 P.M. in St Stephan NB.

120 Milltown Blvd, (Main Office)
St. Stephen, New Brunswick
E3L 1G6


In attendance will be Legion members from across NB and NS,
AO Victims and their supporters.

So far I have been able to get commitments from the Conservation Council of NB who will be sending representatives to speak to the environmental and health issues of Gagetown.

Peter Stoffer has been invited to speak but he has not confirmed as yet.

Also we are trying to have the Black Watch fired up as well.

A letter will be presented to Thompson's riding office and a few speeches will be given.

This is going to be an historic event. Come one come all and I sure hope you can make it. It is time we stood up for ourselves and let Ottawa know exactly what we expect of them.


Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret)
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#250
Soldiers' widows won't abandon fight 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
dailygleaner.canadaeast.com/cityregion/article/623007

Soldiers' widows won't abandon fight

Published Thursday April 2nd, 2009

By GLENNA HANLEY
For The Daily Gleaner

Widows denied Agent Orange compensation by the federal government say they aren't giving up their battle despite the passing of the deadline for filing applications for compensation.

About 15 members of Military Widows on a Warpath and a handful of supporters demonstrated at the main gate to Canadian Forces Base Gagetown on Wednesday. Another half dozen waved signs at motorists at the Gateway Drive traffic circle.

Signs, some borrowing the slogan "Yes We Can" from U.S. President Barrack Obama's campaign, illustrated the determination of the women to force the federal government to drop a cut-off date that excludes them from $20,000 compensation payments.

Widows can only get compensation if their husbands died on or after Feb. 6, 2006, the day Prime Minister Stephen Harper took office.

Warpath founder Bette Hudson's husband died of lung cancer in January 2004.

Veteran Affairs Minister Greg Thompson has been inflexible, she said, and told them the cut-off date will not change as long as he is minister.

The policy affects 80 widows in New Brunswick and a possible 20,000 across Canada.

The Canadian military was testing Agent Orange, used in the Vietnam War, and other herbicides for the U.S. military in the 1960s.

Compensation is being paid to members of the military and civilians who worked on the base from June 1 to Sept. 30, 1966, and June 1 to Sept. 30, 1967, and are sick with a disease believed to be related to exposure to Agent Orange. People living within five kilometres of the base are also eligible.

Hudson said when the widows are gone, their children will take up the fight. Some widows' daughters were among the demonstrators.

Susan Weatherbee, whose military dad died in May 2000, was standing in for her mother, who is in a nursing home.

"I am carrying on on her behalf," said Weatherbee.

Thompson said the date won't change in part because there's missing evidence for many of the cases.

"Previous governments have refused to deal with this because it is too complicated," said Thompson in a phone interview from Ottawa.

His government took it on and did the best it could with something that dates back 40 years.

"I'm pretty proud of what we've done," said the MP.

Comment:

As of Wednesday, 3,200 applications were received and 2,200 were approved. There are still more to be processed and more might come in before the end of the day, said Thompson.

I don't know how this government can think that it is fair to only compensate widows whose husbands passed away after 2006. My father died before the "magical" date. He served in Gagetown during the 60's. His cancer is directly linked to Agent Orange. How much in an uproar would the government be if Maple Leaf had only chosen to compensate a portion of the listeria victims? My mother is now fighting for what is rightfully hers, but she shouldn't have to. She supported my father by being a great military wife when the governments of the past needed his service. It is time for governments to truly honor their servicemen. Instead, they have reduced the worth of the 28 years my father served to one day....the day he died. And in their eyes....it wasn't worth anything.

Audrey Vaughan, Moncton on 02/04/09 06:48:05 AM ADT
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#251
Gagetown widows merit compensation 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
This is a good article except they got the years of spraying wrong...ending in 1967! This is our problem. The media is not investigating and getting their facts right.

timestranscript.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/623075

April 2, 2009

Gagetown widows merit compensation

Published Thursday April 2nd, 2009

Wednesday a group called Military Widows on a Warpath demonstrated in Oromocto at the gates to Camp Gagetown to protest their exclusion from federal compensation for victims of chemical spraying at the military base between 1956 and 1967, including use of Agent Orange. Their pleas should be heeded.

Ottawa put an arbitrary and unfair deadline on payment of claims and an arbitrary cutoff date for compensation. Victims had to have died after 2006 or no compensation will be paid. If they died earlier, and many did, their families are out of luck. Ottawa is abdicating its responsibility to its own citizens whom it allowed to be harmed in the first place, whether from deliberate action, negligence or pure ignorance.

We are regularly asked by our government to support our troops, yet it won't support the families of troops harmed in the past. That's wrong.

Canada is spending many millions to train a police force in Kandahar, Afghanistan in a dubious effort to make the city and its province secure; an effort that has produced no significant results and may never do so. If we can do that, surely the government can accept its moral duty and fairly compensate families that suffered harm from its own chemical spraying. If we don't first take proper care of those who served our country in the past, why should today's troops have any faith Canada will support them when it matters most?
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#252
Peter Stoffer 8 Years, 8 Months ago  
Peter Stoffer will be attending and speaking at the Gagetown protest rally in St Stephan. On the 19th. of May 2009
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