Government will work with thalidomide victims: Ambrose

Meeting with health minister came same day as House of Commons unanimously supported a New Democrat motion of support for the victims

OTTAWA – Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the federal government is eager to work with thalidomide victims to ensure they’re properly supported.

Ambrose met Monday with representatives from the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada.

In a statement, she says all Canadians empathize with the pain and suffering thalidomide survivors have endured since the 1960s.

She adds that it’s clear their health needs have changed and they require ongoing support, but she is not announcing anything specific in terms of a government action plan or financial support.

Thalidomide victims have called for more financial support from Ottawa. All the victims were born to mothers who took the government-approved anti-nausea drug in the 1950s and 60s without knowing of its disastrous side-effects.

The meeting came the same day as the House of Commons unanimously supported a New Democrat motion of support for the victims.

“Thalidomide victims have waited 50 years to get the government’s support,” said NDP Health critic Libby Davies. “We wish it had come sooner, but we’re pleased that they will finally receive the compensation they deserve thanks to our motion.”

Ambrose called Monday’s meeting “a step forward in building a partnership to find a solution.”

“Our government is committed to working with the Thalidomide Victims Association of Canada to determine how we can best support their health needs going forward.”

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