Author Topic: Nanaimo man unhappy with government (Agent Orange)  (Read 1924 times)

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Nanaimo man unhappy with government (Agent Orange)
« on: March 23, 2012, 08:10:04 PM »


Nanaimo man unhappy with government
 
Franklin says he has suffered multiple health problems due to spraying of Agent Orange years ago

 
By Walter Cordery, Daily News January 4, 2012
 
 

Nanaimo's Kelly Franklin isn't satisfied that Ottawa has loosened the purse strings and will now compensate more people who suffered health problems due to the spraying of Agent Orange in Gagetown, N.B., up until last year.

Franklin grew up in Gagetown after his father was stationed at the Department of National Defence base located there in 1958. He arrived at CFB Gagetown when he was a year old.

Almost immediately, Franklin started suffering from asthma and experiencing terrible allergic reactions.

"Right after we moved there, I developed asthma and severe allergies and nobody in New Brunswick could tell my parents why," said Franklin, now 54. "Finally they had to take me to a doctor in Bangor, Maine."

The specialist in Maine thought Franklin had been breathing in insecticides "but we didn't know about the Agent Orange or other herbicides because the Canadian government wanted to keep that a secret."

Though Franklin's family left Gagetown in 1964, he continued to suffer multiple health problems. He said he spent as much time in hospital because of his health woes as he did at home.

"I had a horrible childhood really. I was in every hospital in every town we ever lived in."

Because his family left Gagetown in 1964, Franklin is not eligible for any compensation Ottawa is offering to victims of the herbicide defoliant.

A member of the Agent Orange Association of Canada, Franklin has been fighting for compensation for victims of the indescriminate spraying of the chemical for years. He said the $20,000 that will go to 30 new individuals is "embarrassing."

NDP critic for veterans affairs, Peter Stoffer, agrees with Franklin that the government's relaxed compensation rules are embarrassing.

"The unfortunate part is, they are leaving out hundreds of thousands of other people who may have qualified."

The government is restricting compensation to those who may have been exposed to Agent Orange in 1966 and 1967, when Ottawa agreed to test the chemical for the United States military for use in Vietnam.

Franklin said that's unrealistic because documents prove that Canada was using the defoliant years before the Vietnam War.

"The 'Gagetowners' are every bit as poisoned as the Vietnamese," he said. "My own nation continues to deny and cover up the largest intentional use of biological warfare weapons by a democracy on its own citizens in history. The fact I was sprayed with Agent Orange years before the Vietnamese were didn't bother them at all."

WCordery@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4237
? Copyright (c) Postmedia News


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