Gov’t spends millions to stop litigation

New Brunswickers harmed by Agent Orange are having their lawsuit stalled

The federal government is undergoing a class action lawsuit from veterans, their families and residents of the area around C.F.B. Gagetown in New Brunswick who have had their health affected by Agent Orange, a chemical herbicide sprayed on the base from 1956 to 1984. So far, it’s spent $7.8 million on the lawsuit and Tony Merchant, the lawyer in charge of the case, says the government is doing all it can to stall the process in the hope that victims, many of whom have Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma, respiratory and prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes—diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure—will give up. “Victims should be infuriated that the government spends money, not on helping them or compensating them, but instead fighting even having the issue go to court,” he said. The government is spending the cash despite a promise from Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he would fight for full compensation for the victims. For his part, veterans affairs minister jean-Pierre Blackburn says he didn’t know about the cost of the suit and that he’ll now launch an investigation into the spending.

CBC News