Compensation denied

Hundreds who claim they were sickened by Agent Orange testing don’t qualify for $20,000 payment

Two years ago, the federal government announced a $95.6-million compensation package for veterans and civilians who were unknowingly sprayed when the U.S. military tested Agent Orange at CFB Gagetown in the mid-1960s. To date, more than 3,000 people have applied for the one-time $20,000 “ex gratia” payment, providing Ottawa with medical proof that they contracted illnesses linked to the powerful herbicide, such Hodgkin’s disease, prostate cancer, lymphoma, respiratory cancers and Type 2 diabetes. But the Department of Veterans Affairs is being very picky about who deserves the cash. More than 800 people have been turned down, including a New Brunswick woman who has applied four times. “I’ll perservere,” says Barb Gill, who is recovering from her second battle with liposarcoma, a malignant tumour condition. “I can’t let it drain me emotionally, because if it does, that will affect my body.”

The Fredericton Daily Gleaner