This video tells the incredible story of the struggle thalidomide survivors in Canada, who have sought justice after decades of neglect by the federal government. I was honoured to work on this issue with the Thalidomide Victims’ Association of Canada — including presenting a motion to Parliament, that passed unanimously in December 2014. Thalidomide survivors are still working to gain full compensation based on the motion.
For more than 50 years, Canadian thalidomide survivors lived in silence while facing unimaginable difficulties. In desperate need of help because of their deteriorating health conditions and the lack or loss of family support, many of these individuals shared a simple desire: to live their lives with dignity. Behind the Scenes is a 25-minute video documentary that includes exclusive, personal testimonies from more than a dozen legal and health professionals, lobbyists and media specialists who either formed or collaborated with a unique task force in 2014 to help the survivors. Together, they worked tirelessly on a campaign called Right the Wrong in order to harness the attention of Canadian journalists and politicians who also appear in this video and share their stories about many of the obstacles that were encountered. As a direct result of the task force members’ expertise and the survivors who bravely stepped forward to share intimate details of their lives with the public, Right the Wrong succeeded in its mission to inform Canadians and the Government of Canada about the challenges that survivors faced — and continue to endure. The video is a tribute to the dedication and determination of a small group of people who prompted a historic, unanimous vote by the federal government to provide urgent assistance for the remaining Canadian thalidomide survivors.