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Commission issues recommendations in wake of Agent Orange exposure at Canadian base

Members of the Gagetown Harmful Chemical Study Commission say it's time the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department takes care of National Guardsmen and women sickened by their exposure to toxic chemicals at the Canadian military base.

The Commission presented its recommendations to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee last week.

"It's a very painful journey. Veterans give up when it's really hard for them to try to get compensation and recognition. They are already suffering. They give up. To have a system that would support them along with their friends and family would go a long way," says Jan McColm, the wife of a Canadian soldier who died of cancer after exposure to Agent Orange while training at the base in Gagetown, New Brunswick. "I think you've got an opportunity here to help the people from Maine, maybe from Connecticut and Massachusetts, who have served at Gagetown and been exposed to chemicals. To find out what's really going on there and why people are suffering and to get them the compensation and recognition that they really deserve."

The recommendations include a joint resolution to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, calling for it to provide health care and services to Maine National Guard soldiers. The Commission also calls for a review of a Canadian study on Gagetown that critics say was manipulated, and establishing a registry of all National Guard members who served at the base.