A Winnipeg woman who was sprayed with a Agent Orange while living at CFB Gagetown, N.B., will receive compensation from the federal government that she was denied earlier in the year.
Debbie Bertrand, 57, is going through radiation treatments for lung cancer that may have been caused by her exposure to the deadly chemical. She lived at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in the 1960s when the Canadian government allowed the U.S. to conduct Vietnam War-related experiments.
Bertrand was originally denied a $20,000 payment promised by Ottawa to anyone who suffered ill health effects linked to the American tests. The deadline for diagnosis was June 30, 2011, but Bertrand's cancer, which is inoperable, was not diagnosed until August.
Ottawa said on Friday that it will pay compensation to 30 families whose claims were previously rejected, including Bertrand.
"One day you think yes I'll get it, one day you think no, I won't get it," she said. "What will be will be, but it's so nice to know that it's there now.
"It's going to mean less stress not as much worry about what everything's going to cost," she said. "Because you never know in the future … you plan but how far did you really plan?"
Bertrand's daughter Amy said the money will help her take a leave of absence from her work with the federal government to take care of her mother. Still, she said the money doesn't satisfy her.
"How can you put a number value on someone's life? Especially something so low," she said. "I'd rather have my mom than $20,000."