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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

water is boss.

Next week, a group of American journalists will be going on a public relations tour to visit the EnCana Carbon Sequestration test site and the Athabasca oilsands operations, care of the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC -- but that's not all that is happening along the Athabasca River this week.

For the past month, members of the Keepers of the Athabasca Watershed Society (KAWS) have been traveling the of the Athabasca River Basin and holding conferences in communities along the river in order to raise awareness about the importance of the river and the effects contamination and overuse of water by oilsands operations. KAWS' tour will culminate at a large conference in Fort Chipewyan, downstream from Fort McMurray's oilsands operations, whose residents have seen an increasing number of cancer rates in recent years. Fort Chipewyan's former Doctor, Dr. John O'Connor, will be delivering the keynote address. at the conference.

In 2006, O'Connor publicly raised concern that an increase in cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan may be the result of the copious amounts of arsenic dumped into the water by oilsands operations along the Athabasca River. Instead of increased support to deal with this medical concern, Alberta Health and Wellness and Health Canada brought forward professional misconduct charges against O'Connor (three of which have been dismissed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta).

In 2007, the Alberta Medical Association unanimously passed a motion in support of Dr. O'Connor and the Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution calling for whistleblower protection for doctors like O'Connor. Though they leveled charges of professional misconduct against O'Connor, the government is currently conducing a comprehensive report on cancer rates in the region.


Marnie Tunay said...

Oooh...the Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution calling for whistleblower legislation. I bet the Tories are trembling in their boots. After all, worthy eminences have only been passing similar resolutions without effect for the past fifteen years...Any time now, I'm sure we'll have strong and effective legal protection for whistleblowers...yep...uh huh...

Anonymous said...

Notice how the regular Conservative commenters are quiet on this one?

Anonymous said...

Off-topic but maybe some of your readers will be interested Dave. It's like a political public service announcement:

The Edmonton - Mill Woods - Beaumont NDP are holding a contested nomination on Monday, August 25th. Details are in that link above. There are currently two candidates fighting to carry Jack Layton's banner there. Anyone who lives in that riding has until the end of Monday, Aug 18th to become a party member if they wish to have a vote at the meeting.

Thanks, we now resume your regular partisan wars. ;)

Oh and to come back on topic, don't you think Alberta will end up paying out some huge damages to people one day? Folks that drink the water and get awful cancers? Watch the movie Erin Brockovich and tell me how our province is headed for anything other than giant lawsuits. Way to go Ed, not.