History Time-Line

The birth of Canadian Forces Camp Gagetown came at a heavy price for over twenty communities and the people who lived there.

"...Disturbance of the civilian population was a factor of considerable importance. Expropriation of the CFB Gagetown property meant that between two and three thousand people had to move. The evacuation of the area also affected the surrounding territory's economy causing markets to reduce and even resulting in the disappearance of small businesses..." - quoted from the DND website

In 1952, expropriation orders were issued for the following communities.

Armstrongs' Corner, Clones, Coote Hill, Dunns' Corner, Enniskillen, Fowlers' Corner, Hamilton Mountain, Hibernia, Lawfield, Loisville, New Jerusalem, Olinville, Petersville, Speight Settlement, Summer Hill, Greenfield Settlement, Lauvina, Shirley, Tweedsmuir and Victoria Settlement.

Partial Communities Expropriated were: Byard's Crossing (Welsford area), Clarendon, Mt. Douglas, Blissville & Haneytown

The Base Gagetown Community History Association has a wonderful site located at


It tells the history of the communities that were surrendered to the government to make CFB Gagetown. It is filled with pictures of the people who lived there, their geneaologies, school lists and shows what these communities looked like before the government took away everything that was their lives.

August 23, 1952
- "Petersville Community Hall was filled last night with one of the largest crowds it ever held. An estimated 300 persons crowded in to hear Government expropriation measures, with connection to development of an army base. Explained by Frank D. Millar, Ottawa. Here Mr. Millar is shown speaking to the packed rows of men and women.(picture) Scores stood throughout the meeting, some sat on the floor, others unable to push into the hall pressed close to open windows. Mr. Millar said that in most cases, life for those within the camp's boundaries will go on as usual for a year or more. Temper of the throng was even and no one was critical of the government's decision to take over about 800 square miles for a training centre. The hundreds were reminded Canadian soldiers were fighting in Korea now and the nation faces the possibility of another world conflict." - Source - St. John Telegraph

1952 – Canadian Forces Base Gagetown opens. Most deforested areas are originally cleared mechanically.

1956 – Attempts to maintain cleared areas brush-free by means of chemical herbicides begin. Most applications are of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, and are distributed by fixed-wing aircraft.

1964 – National Defence approaches the Department of Fisheries and Forestry regarding alternative methods of brush control.

August 8, 1964 – Daily Gleaner runs front page story - Headline reads:


A spraying accident resulted in heavy quantities of 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T (Agent Orange and Agent Purple) being deposited on both sides of the river on the civilian communities of Burton, Maugerville, Sheffield, and other communities downriver, a distance of 19 kilometres. This spray accident wiped out all the market gardens' produce. DND paid a claim from the farmers for over $250,000. This accident was officially recognized by DND and stories were substantially covered in subsequent weeks by the Daily Gleaner.

The Government did a quick study of the produce through the Food and Drug Directorate, Department of National Health and Welfare in a Halifax laboratory, and on August 13, 1964, less than one week after the accident was reported, the Government gave the all clear for the produce to be eaten.

August 13, 1964 - Daily Gleaner runs article - "Specialists say Sprayed Crops Can Be Eaten" - "are completely safe to consume either in the raw or cooked form"

August 27, 1964 - Daily Gleaner runs article - "Health Laboratory Conducting Tests On Area Tomatoes" ..."the laboratory study will determine whether the amount of spray which landed on the crops has contaminated them to the point where they are unfit for human consumption. McCready's Ltd., Saint John, is waiting for the outcome of the tests before purchasing its normal large quantities of green tomatoes from the area for use in making pickles."

September 1, 1964 - Daily Gleaner runs article -"Crops Given Clean Bill of Health By Federal Agency" ..."the government laboratory says the vegetables are fit for human consumption and will do no harm. Companies holding harvested crops in storage have been given the go-ahead to process the produce without worry."
Produce OK.jpg

The all clear is given to the general public to consume the toxic vegetables and clearance is given to McCready's to make their pickles. Pickle makers such as McCready's sold their pickles and relishes to hundreds of thousands of people across Canada.

"Their products were shipped across country"
- quotation from New Brunswick Museum, funding for the exhibit by Heritage Canada.

Originally a producer of vinegar and pickle products, McCready's Ltd. diversified its line with a number of bottled table sauces and fruit syrups. Their products were shipped across country, thus the all clear is responsible for poisoning hundreds of thousands of Canadians who ate the Dioxin contaminated produce and pickles.

(Click Here) For a picture of McCready's Pickling Tanks circa 1952

1965 – All future applications of chemical herbicides are done by helicopter, which has more controlled targeting.

1966 and 1967 – Tests emanating from DND’s request to DFF are finally carried out (in conjunction with the Province of New Brunswick). Herbicides tested include six containing 2,4,5-T and nine containing picloram.

1965 - 1984 – Spraying of over 3 million litres and kilograms of Tordon 101 & Tordon 10K, containing Hexachlorobenzene. (Agent White)

1981 – January 22, NDP MPs Terry Sergeant and Simon de Jong table "Technical Memorandum No 141, Defoliation Tests in 1966 at Base Gagetown, New Brunswick, Canada" in the House of Commons.

1985 – Canadian Forces personnel give members of the New Brunswick cabinet a briefing on the use of herbicides at Gagetown, in which Major Mike Rushton admits the government knew and was concerned by the dioxin in 2,4,5-T already in 1964.

2000-2005 – 25 applications are made to Veterans Affairs for a disability pension relating to Agent Orange. Three pensions were awarded in December 2000, June 2004, and November 2004. Of these, two related to Vietnam, while one, to Brigadier-General Gordon Sellar, was attributed for exposure to Agent Orange at Base Gagetown.

June, 2005 – Special cabinet committee is formed on the issue of Agent Orange.

June 23, 2005 – DND holds a public meeting (video) at CFB Gagetown (video) to assuage public fears, trying to downplay the spraying of herbicides.

July 12, 2005 - A class action lawsuit is filed by Merchant Law Group, against the Federal Government for damages for the class members' health problems, death of relatives of the class members, loss of income, loss of companionship, negligence and DNA and dioxin testing. See Dobbie v. Canada in the Merchant Law link on our menu.

August 16, 2005 – DND’s response to Agent Orange is finally announced: an Outreach Coordinator and three fact-finding tasks to be contracted out. Vaughn Blaney is named as coordinator.

September, 2005 – Veterans Affairs Canada reports it received 925 requests regarding Agent Orange, with just over 100 completed applications returned. Of the 45 reviewed, only 1 was approved for a pension.

October 4, 2005Outreach coordinator of the Base Gagetown and Area Fact Finder Project (BGAFFP), Vaughn Blaney resigns.

October 16, 2005 - The Agent Orange Association of Canada Is Officially Formed.

November, 2005 -, Ms. Chandra Pasma and her colleagues with in Dave Mackenzie MP's office put together a timeline of the events that happened at CFB Gagetown, covering 1952- December 2006.

The AOAC thanks the Office. These efforts are truly appreciated!

November 16, 2005 -
Dr. Dennis Furlong announced as New Fact-Finding and Outreach Coordinator of the Base Gagetown and Area Fact Finder Project (BGAFFP)

November 17, 2005 - The Standing Committee of National Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs (SCONDVA) in Parliament summon Gloria Sellar, Kenneth Dobbie, John Chisholm, Wayne Cardinal, Jody Carr and Art Connolly to appear before the Standing Committee to
testify regarding (Transcript) their knowledge of the defoliants sprayed at CFB Gagetown.

January 12, 2006 - Stephen Harper promises Agent Orange Compensation.

"...A Conservative government will stand up for full and fair compensation to persons exposed to defoliant spraying during the period from 1956 to 1984.." he said.

"...We will disclose all information concerning the spraying to veterans and civilians, and will provide medical testing to any person who may have been exposed...."

January 13, 2006
- Agent Orange Association of Canada (AOAC) holds press conference and announces that an additional 2 million lbs of dry chemical defoliant containing Hexachlorobenzene and 2,4-D was sprayed during the same time frame in addition to the 1. 3 million liters of Dioxin, Picloram, 2,4-D + 2,4,5-T.

June 1, 2006 - Base Gagetown and Area Fact Finder Project (BGAFFP) holds "by invitation only" press conference and releases first two reports to media.
All Reports

July 14, 2006 - Base Gagetown and Area Fact Finder Project (BGAFFP) releases report "Final Report" Fact Finding Task #1

July 28, 2006 - Dr. Al Rowland of the Molecular Biosciences Institute of Massey University in New Zealand releases
results of a study that shows New Zealand soldiers who had been exposed to the "rainbow hebicides", Agents Orange, Purple and White while serving in Vietnam suffer from severe DNA damage. The study goes on to say that damage is passed on to the children and grandchildren of the soldiers.

October 13, 2006 - Veterans' Affairs Minister Greg Thompson
announces he hopes to present a compensation package to parliament this fall.

December 7, 2006 - Base Gagetown and Area Fact Finder Project (BGAFFP) releases report Final Report Task 3a-1 Tier 2

2006 - Louise Elliott of the CBC wins award for her
story that covered the Agent Orange Story of Ken Dobbie May 2005 (Video)

Early 2007 - Sheila Woods, that special lady that handles the superb Letters to The Editor Committee announces that, “468 letters to the editor were sent out during 2006, and 138 were printed!”

January 14 - Some members of AOAC met for coffee in Gagetown. Ironically, the meeting was held at the Tim Hortons that was frequented by the staff of the BGAFFP. The staff of this Tim Hortons supported AOAC by donating coffee cups for a picture of how all AOAC members share in meetings (

January 14 - It was reported by an AOAC member that CBC Good Morning announced that compensation for exposure to deadly herbicides at CFB Gagetown may come as soon as February.

February 23 - A member of AOAC produces the BULL#@&% Deflectors that can be worn over the ears (picture).

March 28 – Newfoundland newspaper The Telegram reports on the Agent Orange Class Action lawsuit.

Late March - The NDP’s Peter Stoffer begins to speak up strongly in support of veterans.

April 10
- Searchable database made available at BGAFFP site.

April 17 - UK veteran Keith Pilmoor receives pension from British Department of Veterans Affairs for exposure to Agent Orange for trainng in CFB Basetown during the summer of '66

April 23 - Publication of Agent Orange story in Esprit de Corps magazine.

June 8 - Former Veterans Affairs Minister, Albina Guarnieri, speaks in the House of Commons in support of Gagetown victims.

June 7 - AOAC Member Kelly Franklin published in Dialogue Magazine.

June 21 - The BGAFFP releases their faulty final report on the Gagetown sprayings.

June 26 - Green Party leader Elizabeth May takes aim at the recent Agent Orange report.

July 20 - NDP, with members of AOAC, have a media conference in Fredericton.

July 19 - American vets win court appeal on Agent Orange exposure.

August 1 - The Agent Orange Class Action Lawsuit is certified in Newfoundland courts.

August 11 - The government seeks a ‘leave to appeal’ the Class Action Certification in Newfoundland, to be heard in court on September 18.

August 13 - Monsanto also appeals the Certification.

August 15 - PM Harper shuffles his cabinet, leaving Greg Thompson as Minister of VA and appointing Peter MacKay as Defense Minister, replacing Gordon O’Connor.

August 20 - Interview with activist Gloria Sellar is published in Macleans.

August 21 - Dr. Furlong presents the most recent findings with regards to testing and use of herbicides at CFB Gagetown.

August 21 - Interview with AOAC President Kenneth Dobbie is published in Macleans.

September 2 - BGAFFP website data is moved to the DND’s website.

September 12 - With much fanfare, the "totally inadequate" Agent Orange compensation Package is announced.

October 13 - AOAC members adopt their new Constitution.

October 15 - The VAC Ombudsman is announced and will take office on November 11.

October 23 - The Class Action Certification, in front of the Manitoba Courts, had been appealed by the government. The Government, Dow and Monsanto loses their appeal and the Certification of the class action lawsuit can now move forward. The decision against the defendants is unanimous by the three appeals division Justices.

November 1 - John Cannis, Liberal MP, speaks up in the House of Commons in support of the victims of chemical spraying at CFB Gagetown. Apologies were required for unparliamentary remarks during a heated exchange.

November 7 - Applicants for the ex-gratia Compensation Package begin to receive cheques.

November 9 - AOAC elects a new executive, expanding from three to five persons on the executive. New committees are formed and expanded. A new constitution is written and voted on by members who accept the hugely expanded set of bylaws.

November 30 - Peter Stoffer, NDP MP, speaks on behalf of veterans in the House of Commons.

December 3 - Peter Stoffer, NDP MP, and John Cannis, Liberal MP and others speak for veterans in the House of Commons.

December 13 - AOAC received word that the Class Action will move forward in Newfoundland. Justice Leo Barry lifted a stay he put on the case in August.
We await further information.


March 5 - The Official Agent Orange Association of Canada Website goes online

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