Did you know over one billion grams of Agent Orange, Agent Purple and Agent White were sprayed on Canadian Forces Base Gagetown and surrounding communities from 1956 to 1984 consisting of 3.3 million litres and kilograms of Dioxin, Picloram, 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T, and Hexachlorobenzene? Gov’t. sanction is revealed in DND documents. Another travesty where military people have been used as guinea pigs.
In a carry-over from yesterday’s guest post, Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret) goes on to talk about his fight with Veterans Affairs to acknowledge the harm and terrible illnesses the DND’s use of environmental poisons at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, caused military personnel and local civilians. Along with his experience, I’m also adding a comment from Nurse Tanya Smith Good who has seen the devastating results in her own family as well as other patients she has nursed.
Cpl. Kenneth H. Young CD (ret.): Yes, Bonnie, many very sick and dying Veterans and many civilians who had the misfortune to have lived close to or in the PMQ’s at Base Gagetown in New Brunswick, know only too well, if not the exact chemicals used, the medical effects from them.
Ottawa has spent more than eight million tax payers’ dollars so far, not as the media suggests to battle our claims in a court of law but to prevent us from ever getting Ottawa and the chemical industry into court. After close to five years of court procedures, we have not yet been given the right to launch a class action in our pursuit of justice as to the truth of Gagetown’s toxic chemical defoliation program.
Ottawa’s defence so far has been: “How can a veteran possibly prove that Dioxin was the cause of his medical conditions, when we also sprayed 26 other chemicals?” Then they (Ottawa) and the chemical industry also contend that they should not be held liable because they neither knew that there was Dioxin nor Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in the chemicals used and that, even if they had known, they didn’t know that these two by-products were harmful. Plus all the chemicals that they used in Gagetown were registered for use in Canada.
They also take the position that the chemicals produced in Canada were made differently and the Dioxin and Hexachlorobenzene was removed. In my opinion there are more then a few problems with all of these defences. One is, if they didn’t know that the Dioxin and HCB were in the final product, why would they remove it? The other point is, how would they ever know it was no longer there if they never knew that it was there in the first place?
But placing that aside, why would the Government department, which registered these chemicals for use in Canada, register them without knowing what they contained? And if they were known to be harmful, why does Ottawa feel that they are not responsible, when they are the ones who registered the chemicals?
Nurse Tanya Good Smith:
“I lost a brother to ALS in 1998. ALS is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He was diagnosed three years earlier, while posted at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, and left behind two young children – six and eight-years-old – and a young wife. He was a third-generation soldier – our father a WWII vet and our granddad a WWI vet – and my brother still serves in the Canadian Navy.
“I feel my brother, and all those service people who suffer from ALS, should be honoured with a monument when they die. Engraved on the plaque should be drawing of a soldier in a wheelchair followed by these words: DUE TO TOXINS USED BY THE MILITARY, ALS KILLED THIS SOLDIER.
“Dealing with a fallen soldier in battle is terrible, but it is even more difficult for loved ones, who are left with additional pain, grief and anger, because they know these young lives have been taken unnecessarily. Yet, governments, who expose troops to toxic chemicals, either by accident or deliberately, do not treat those who die of ALS as the true heroes they are.
“As a nurse, I have cared for patients with all forms of acute and terminal illnesses such as cancer and AIDS, but by far the worst is ALS. So many abilities are lost early in the disease. If someone in political power could stand at the bedside of a loved one dying with ALS in the end stages, I guarantee you would see this in a whole new light.
“I often flew across Canada to help care for my brother, wife and family, and their pain is tenfold knowing he didn’t have to die. To us, he is a hero. To the world, he – along with so many other soldiers and local civilians – is another ALS victim of the toxins the military used.”
On October 16, 2010, Canadian vets lost another champion to ALS. Brian Dyck, age 42. Brian succumbed to the disease in just over a year from diagnosis, and he will be forever remembered for his public appeal against the government to be awarded a full benefits package.
FROM THE CBC REPORT
A veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, Dyck rose to national prominence for taking the government to task for denying health benefits to veterans with the degenerative disease [ALS].
Dyck said the United States recognizes a link between higher-than-usual rates of ALS among servicemen and women, particularly those who served in the Gulf War, and offered full disability, lifetime health and death benefits regardless of when or where they served. But Canada was still handling cases on an individual basis, he said.
“My advice to the ministry is if you are not willing to stand behind the troops, feel free to stand in front of them,” Dyck had said in August at a news conference alongside Pat Stogran, Canada’s outgoing ombudsman for veterans.
In February, his claim for benefits and a pension for his wife and daughter was rejected, but weeks before his death, his appeal was allowed.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also said in a television interview in September that he had instructed officials to investigate how to address the handling of cases involving ALS and promised that there would be “action on that in the not-too-distant future.”