Gord Brown disappointed Health Minister refuses to help Thalidomide survivors

October 26, 2016

Ottawa – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, says he is disappointed that the federal Health Minister is refusing to take steps to help Canada’s forgotten Thalidomide survivors.

On Tuesday Brown today hosted on Parliament Hill, 14 Thalidomide survivors including Gananoque’s Terry Bolton, to highlight the problems they are having acquiring compensation from the government.

“In 2015 our Conservative government established a compensation program for Thalidomide survivors and handed the responsibility to serve them to Crawford Class Action Services,” explains Brown. “A number of them have been rejected by Crawford without an examination or an in-person interview.”

The program failure was first brought to the MP’s attention by Bolton in the spring so Brown asked a question about it in the House of Commons and was assured that Crawford was reviewing all cases across Canada.

“Terry received a rejection letter this summer, so I asked Health Minister Jane Philpott again to explain why these survivors are not being compensated,” notes Brown.

She stated: “An objective review process was used to assess individuals to determine who was eligible for support.”

And she added: “Additional survivors may yet be identified as some applications remain under review.”

But all these folks have already been rejected.

Brown and the survivors held a press conference Tuesday morning on Parliament Hill and again asked the Minister to intervene and demand Crawford review these files and include a personal interview and medical examination.

Tuesday in Question Period Brown again asked the Minister to change her mind.

She refused.

“I also invited her to visit with these survivors to hear their stories and she refused to do that as well,” he added.

He explained that he has not given up the fight on behalf of the survivors.

Their story will air on an episode of W5 later this fall and he will continue to press the Minister on their behalf.