Saturday, February 26, 2011

Canadians Growing Rage Over Use of Agent Orange

Premier accuses Tories of hiding Agent Orange use

MPP Gilles Bisson (Timmins, James Bay) wants the Ministry of Transportation to look into its use of Agent Orange to clear roadside brush across the province. TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

Feb 24 2011 - Premier Dalton McGuinty chastised past Conservative governments for failing to warn people about the province’s widespread use of Agent Orange as controversy surrounding the cancer-causing herbicide spread to the Ministry of Transportation.

“Why is it they didn’t disclose that during those years in terms of danger and who it was might have been affected?” the Liberal leader asked Thursday in Barrie.

McGuinty said his government will make every effort to discover why the issue was buried for decades. The Progressive Conservatives, meanwhile, say blaming them for something that occurred years ago is “offensive.” {continued}

MNR sets up Agent Orange hotline

Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey

February 25, 2011 - After hearing of a historical herbicide spray program which used toxic chemicals on Northern Ontario forests, Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey knew she needed to act quickly.

"I was obviously concerned. We don't know a lot about it, so I wanted to try and get all of the info I could as quickly as possible," Jeffrey said in an interview Friday with The Daily Press.

"I've spoken to the chief medical officer of health, along with representatives from the Workplace Safety Insurance Board, to get as much health information out there in the public as we can."

Media reports uncovered the use of the herbicide commonly known as Agent Orange on the Gordon Cosens forest between Hearst and Kapuskasing.

The spraying took place in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. {continued}

Ontario Hydro sprayed Agent Orange to clear corridors

Sidney Roger, 75, of Beamsville is a former Ontario Hydro supervisor in charge of chemical spraying projects. GLENN LOWSON

Feb 26 2011 - Ontario Hydro used Agent Orange to clear power line corridors across the province — through city backyards and thick rural brush.

Hydro’s own records, obtained by the Star, boast that in one 12-year period, the power company dropped enough chemicals in Ontario to cover a 30- metre-wide swath travelling “four-fifths the distance around the world.”

The Ontario Hydro revelation moves health concerns over the government’s widespread use of the toxic chemical closer to highly populated areas of the province — through hundreds of thousands of kilometres of hydro corridors looping through parks and farmers fields.

For months at a time, summer students and salaried hydro labourers would fan out across Ontario equipped with metal knapsacks filled with poisonous chemicals strapped to their backs. The company also loaded hundreds of gallons of herbicides onto all-terrain vehicles, helicopters, army half-trucks, swamp tractors and even horses to help workers access every nook and cranny, according to the Star’s ongoing investigation.

“Every power line in Ontario was sprayed,” said Sidney Rodger, a former Hydro supervisor who worked in Eastern Ontario from 1958 to 1968. “All this spraying was done in urban and rural areas with no regard for creeks and streams or residents and wildlife.” {continued}

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