Author Topic: MP says he will fight for compensation claimant  (Read 1400 times)

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MP says he will fight for compensation claimant
« on: March 23, 2012, 08:08:59 PM »
MP says he will fight for compensation claimant

Published Tuesday January 3rd, 2012
Codi Wilson

Grant Pye was denied the $20,000 payment on the basis that his family's summer home, located on a property just outside of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, was not his primary residence. Pye, a 58-year-old man from Pleasant Villa, north of Hampstead, spent every summer at the property, including in 1966 and 1967 when the defoliant chemical was sprayed. He now has diabetes and nerve damage in both arms, which are conditions known to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange.

"He didn't qualify under the program, but I am going to try to keep pressing it and see if a solution can be found," the MP for New Brunswick Southwest said.

Williamson worked with Steven Blaney, the minister of Veterans Affairs, for the past few weeks to help resolve some of the cases under the program before the Dec. 30 deadline.

The government decided to issue payments Friday to 30 people who were previously denied under the ex gratia program but Pye was not one of them.

Williamson called Pye last Friday night to deliver the bad news.

"I did speak to Grant and his wife to say that I felt injustice had been done. As a result, I didn't think it was right to let it go," Williamson said. "But I pointed out as well, I don't have the power to go off and write a cheque or force the government to. I'm going to try to find a solution. I'm going to begin to next week when things start getting back to work in Ottawa again."

The New Brunswick MP said that the minister no longer has the power to issue payments since the program expired last week.

"At the end of the day, the last thing the minister wanted to do was appear to be uncaring or to not be helping people. This was a tough case for everyone and that is why my conversation with the Pye's was so late on Friday. Really, every effort was made to try to resolve this under the parameters of the program." Williamson said. "I know the minister and his officials were disappointed that it could not be resolved by the deadline."

Pye said he is disappointed that the program has ended with unresolved cases.

"I don't really think there should be a cut-off date for anyone who has been affected," he said. "We were hoping for a fair answer but so far, we haven't had one."

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