Exposure to Agent Orange, Agent Purple, and other defoliants caused long term and progressive health problems including cancer, diabetes, chronic
pancreatitis, liver disease, brain atrophy, and other diseases, Canada's House of Parliament heard yesterday. Veterans and civilians at a New
Brunswick military base were exposed to toxic defoliants under a deal Canada cut with the US military in the early 1950's to test the toxins. Victims
and survivors in dead victims' families are testifying before Parliament.
"As a result of my poisoning, I have diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, liver disease and brain atrophy, among other diseases," said Ken Dobbie, who had
a summer job cutting brush at the base near Fredericton as a teen. ...The Canadian military agreed to help test the defoliants on behalf of the U.S.
military, which later sprayed the chemicals to strip leaves from trees in Vietnam.
John Chisholm, a soldier at Gagetown in the 1960s, recalls coming home doused in defoliating chemicals on a regular basis. ...His first wife, who used
to wash his clothing every night, later died a horrible death of cancer, he told the committee in emotional testimony. ..."When you see the people
that we see and we know, and you see the condition their bodies are in today, after being in that area, it's absolutely horrifying," said. ..."I've
got a friend that's sitting out there in Vancouver, out there on Victoria Island, with half his guts sitting in a bag on the side of his hip. And he
was with me."
Testimony like Chisholm's left members of the parliamentary defence committee shocked. ...One of them, NDP MP Bill Blaikie, says he will fight to
force the government to call an inquiry into the way the case has been handled over the decades.
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The effects of these toxins are similar to the chronic disease that is epidemic in the world today. As with chronic disease, there likely is no direct
cause and effect relationship between the disease and a specific toxin. The health effects most likely result from the complex interraction of various
The people now testifying before Parliament probably won't see justice until dogma catches up with science, and the planet and human body are
as complex systems.
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