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Was Agent Orange tested in Canada?

The Story

Agent Orange is one of the most infamous and dirtiest legacies of the Vietnam War. Ottawa always denied that it cooperated with the United States in testing chemical warfare agents for Vietnam. A recently released report states that in June 1966 the American army tested Agent Orange at Base Gagetown in New Brunswick. As two NDP representatives uncover the facts, CBC's Brian Stewart wants to know why it took the Canadian military so long to investigate. A 1970 report from national defence to parliament stated that "no research carried out by the Department of National Defence has affected the use of chemicals in Vietnam." Former defence minister Paul Hellyer says such tests were actually routine, but he attempts to downplay the issue by pointing out that Agent Orange was tested as a tactical weapon, not a chemical weapon. 

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Jan. 23, 1981
Guests: Simon de Jong, Paul Hellyer, Terry Sargeant
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Brian Stewart
Duration: 3:46

Did You know?

• Agent Orange was a chemical defoliant used in Vietnam for nine years. An estimated 19 million gallons of Agent Orange were sprayed in South Vietnam during the war, exposing thousands of soldiers and civilians to this harmful chemical.

• In a process deemed "territory denial," Agent Orange was sprayed on the dense jungle foliage, revealing the position of the hiding Viet Cong.

• The code name Agent Orange comes from the orange labels that were found on the storage drums. It is made up of the two chemicals 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T mixed with kerosene or diesel fuel.

• The dioxins found in Agent Orange can cause cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders, liver problems and genetic abnormalities.

• The Uniroyal plant in Elmira, Ont., was one of seven suppliers producing Agent Orange for the U.S. military.

• NDP defence critic Terry Sargeant questions defence minister Gilles Lamontagne about the government's denial of Agent Orange testing for Vietnam.


Vietnam: Canada's Secret War more