‘Everyone … has a sob story’: Thalidomide survivors say they were belittled by disabilities minister
Source: CBC News
Author: Catharine Tunney
Members of a thalidomide survivor group say they felt belittled and are appalled after meeting with Kent Hehr, the federal minister for persons with disabilities, and accuse him of making repugnant statements about their life expectancies.
The minister flat out denies at least one of their claims and said he has apologized if some of his comments were misinterpreted.
Fiona Sampson, a thalidomide survivor who attended the Oct. 19 meeting, told reporters on Tuesday that Hehr degraded those in attendance with his remarks.
“In response to members of the group reading really heartfelt testimonials, Minister Hehr — apropos of nothing — commented, ‘Well you don’t have it as bad today as adults as you did when you were kids,'” said Sampson, a human rights lawyer and chair of Thalidomide Survivors Task Group.
“Then he went on to say, ‘Well you don’t have it so bad. Everyone in Canada has a sob story.'”