Sunday, January 11, 2009

Agent Orange Alert

January 10, 2009
Press Release
Public Inquiry request submitted to Defence Minister
Agent Orange Alert ( activist Art Connollyhas written to the Honourable Peter McKay Minister of National Defencerequesting a public inquiry into the spraying of deadly defoliants atCFB Gagetown New Brunswick.
Connolly of London Ontario says that “The request has been madedirectly to Mr. McKay due to the fact that the National Defence Actconfers the power to call a public enquiry to the Minister of Defence.Since 2005 when the media released this story of defoliants beingsprayed at CFB Gagetown various advocacy groups have asked thegovernment for a public inquiry and have been ignored. It is now timeto ask those individuals who have the authority to initiate an inquiryand gauge their response.”
“It is my understanding that Peter McKay is well aware of thesuffering that veterans have experienced because of their exposure tothe spraying of over 1 million litres of liquid defoliants and 1million kilograms of dry chemicals from 1956 to 1984. Some of thoseveterans affected are his own constituents. It is time for Mr. McKayto show what he can and will do for his constituents”.
“The Conservative government has made a concentrated effort tominimize this tragedy and make it all go away. Prime Minister StephenHarper promised medical testing and compensation for “all victims” ofdefoliant spraying at Gagetown when he spoke during an electioncampaign rally in Woodstock N.B. prior to the 2006 federal election.That did not happen” Connolly said.
Connolly also stated that “Most victims have lost faith in thepoliticians and believe that only a public inquiry will bring forththe truth and allow closure for victims and their survivors. Itcertainly explains why there are over 3000 people in a class actionlawsuit against the government.”
287 Words
Please see attached letter to email
The Honourable Peter MacKayMinister of National DefenceHouse of CommonsOttawa OntarioK1A 0A6
January 1, 2009
Dear Minister MacKay,
I am writing to request that in your capacity as Minister of NationalDefence that you initiate a public inquiry into the spraying ofdefoliants that occurred at CFB Gagetown N.B. from 1956 to 1984.
In general the power to call a public inquiry rests with the Governorin Council; however, there are certain statutes that confer this powerto Ministers in certain circumstances.
The National Defence Act confers the power to call a public enquiry tothe Minister of Defence:
“45. (1) The Minister, and such other authorities as the Minister mayprescribe or appoint for that purpose, may, where it is expedient thatthe Minister or any such other authority should be informed on anymatter connected with the government, discipline, administration orfunctions of the Canadian Forces or affecting any officer or non-commissioned member, convene a board of Inquiry for the purpose ofinvestigating and reporting on that matter.”
It is my understanding Minister MacKay that you have spoken withveterans suffering from the effects of the defoliants sprayed at CFBGagetown.
As such, I must conclude that you are aware of the public's concernsraised by the lack of open transparency by the present dayConservative federal government's handling of this disaster.
In January 2006, Stephen Harper stated during his appearance at anelection rally in Woodstock New Brunswick that a newly electedConservative government would see that all victims of defoliantspraying at CFB Gagetown would receive medical testing andcompensation. That did not happen.
Of the 28 years in question (1956 to 1984) only the victims who wereharmed during a total of 7 day of spraying during 1966 and 1967 wereoffered compensation.
I am unaware of medical testing being received by any victims of theGagetown defoliant sprayings program.
At a committee hearing in November of 2005 present day Veteran AffairsMinister Greg Thompson stated that the federal Liberal government inpower at that time had implemented the Base Gagetown Fact FinderProject and that it was "...nothing more than an elaborate publicrelations exercise by the government to keep a lid on this AgentOrange issue...."
When the present day Conservative government was elected in February2006 it merely let the Base Gagetown Fact Finder Project continue onits course without any change.
Those two incidents alone have the Canadian public suspecting a "cover-up" by the various governments of the past 50 years regarding thespraying of defoliants at CFB Gagetown.
I urge you to implement a public inquiry to bring forth the truththereby allowing the victims and their families the opportunity toreceive the closure that is so desperately needed.
Now is the time to honour the veterans of this country with therespect that they deserve Mr. McKay.

Art ConnollyAgent Orange
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