‘Everyone … has a sob story’: Thalidomide survivors say they were belittled by disabilities minister

“He said to us, ‘So you probably have about 10 years left then now. That’s good news for the Canadian government.’

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  • andycanuck

    Hey, it was one of the things that helped promote abortion on demand so why wouldn’t a Liberal minister say that?

  • Martin B

    Liberal ministers to thalidomide survivors: “Hurry up and die, you’re costing us money”

    Liberal ministers to Omar Khadr: “Here’s your 10.5 million tax-free dollars, sir”

    • Maggat

      Pretty typical liberal, I’d say.

    • Millie_Woods

      We need a Minister For Uncompensated Terrorists. The government is letting them down big time.

  • Frances

    Am old enough to remember the thalidomide issue; had a classmate who was worried in case she had taken the drug – turned out either she hadn’t or her kid was just lucky. But it was heartbreaking for the parents who were confronted with deformed babies and no idea why.

    The drug was approved by Health Canada (or whatever the name was back then) and became available as a “sample” in late 1959. West Germany and the UK withdrew the drugs by 2nd December, 1961, but Canada didn’t follow suit until March, 1962, and some pharmacies still had the drug available until mid-May, 1962. That meant a lot more mums were prescribed the drug as a safe solution to serious morning sickness than would have happened had the officials at Health Canada not been so dozy when the first reports of serious deformities began coming through.

    Ironically, the USA didn’t have this problem; Dr Frances Kelsey (a Canadian), a reviewer for the US Food & Drug Administration, refused to authorize thalidomide for US use because of concerns about its safety. Thanks to her, the US dodged a major bullet.

    Kent Hehr’s story is tragic, but that is no reason for him to dis the thalidomide survivors. He is disabled because of being at the wrong place at the wrong time; the thalidomide survivors are disabled because the government (Health Canada or its predecessors) approved a drug which was to prove extremely toxic to the unborn. Given their mother took the drug only because of government approval of same, it is right and just that the government help them live out their lives in dignity.

    • shasta

      “Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada released a statement distancing itself from Tuesday’s bombshell news conference.

      “These survivors are not members of the original thalidomide
      survivors task force and did not participate in the work that went into developing the settlement program that was announced in 2015,” said executive director Mercedes Benegbi.

      “While no amount of financial support will ever be enough to
      compensate these individuals for the pain and suffering they’ve endured,the program that exists today is making a significant difference in the lives of thalidomide survivors and is allowing them to live with dignity.”

      Also; “the thalidomide survivors are disabled because” “of being at the wrong place at the wrong time” – the same as Kent Hehr.

      • Frances

        Then who were these people who met with Kent Hehr? Were they perchance thalidomide victims who did not feel themselves properly represented by the organization Ms. Benegbi speaks for? I watched the news, and the spokeswoman seemed to have no disabilities from thalidomide – which had me wondering – but it is not unheard of for splinter groups to come forward.

        • The Deplorable Rosenmops

          The blond woman speaking in the video at the link? Her left hand and wrist seem to be deformed.

          • Frances

            Didn’t notice that.

        • shasta

          “who were these people who met with Kent Hehr”

          People who were not satisfied with the 2015 agreement I suppose.
          FYI- I found an article on the original agreement and it said;

          “More than 70 per cent of Canada’s Thalidomide survivors will receive $75,000 tax-free per year, along with inflation adjustments. The need for that amount will be reassessed every five years, Benegbi said.
          Others are eligible for either $25,000 or $100,000 per year.
          Survivors will also have access to an emergency medical assistance fund of $500,000 to cover large expenses such as specialized surgery and vehicle or home adaptations, Ambrose announced.
          The total funding package amounts to $180 million of support. Canada now joins Britain and Germany in providing annual, lifetime support for its Thalidomide survivors.”

          The article stated that there were 95 known survivors in Canada at the time.

          • Frances

            Thanx for clarification.

  • pike bishop

    My brother is disabled with MS. He has met Mr. Hehr and the feed back I get is that he is all sweetness and light while the media perform their spin. After they are gone he reverts to being a pompous asshole.

    • David_Martin

      That behaviour is typical of most 2nd term or more politicians?

  • JJ Hunsecker

    If only they’d got it by marrying their first cousins he’d have been throwing money at them.