Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Telling the truth about Tar Sands cancers? Expect to fight...

The doctor who does not speak of treating both the symptom and the cause of disease is one who sees your lung cancer and does not tell you to quit smoking, or who offers you a beer while explaining you have liver failure.

This doctor-- John O'Connor-- is getting the backlash of a desperate attempt to quash the story as to what is being done, as always, by Canadian colonialism to indigenous nations that get in the way of industry. This time, however, the "industry" is the largest industrial plan in the history of human life on planet earth, with the possible exception of the Pyramids many thousands of years ago.

Rather than treating the massive death rates occuring to the nations living in and around Fort Chipewyan,it is much much easier to treat the doctor. Attack him, sue him, break his credibility, take him to court-- all of that is not only good business sense, it is the only possible reaction for many of the oil corporations who have no clue (since it isn't possible) how to take tar sand oil without destroying the land and people who live with it.

All anti-colonial organizations and environmental movements should support Dr. O'Connor, a brave man whose only weapons have been the words of truth about a quiet petrocidal assault on the health of people living downstream of the projects.

Those who support him among indigenous governments are even those who support the existence of the tarsands. The truth must win out. We must support Dr. John O'Connor against the threats to shut him down, through pressure tactics and more that will only increase if we do not give him support and he is left to stand alone.


Alberta doctors support outspoken peer

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | 1:11 PM CT
CBC News

The Alberta Medical Association has passed a unanimous motion supporting a doctor at the centre of an environmental controversy in northern Alberta.

In February, Health Canada officials filed a complaint against Dr. John O'Connor, who raised concerns about high rates of cancers and other illnesses in a community downstream from Alberta's oilsands developments.

Dr. Gerry Keifer, the Alberta Medical Association's president, said Monday that doctors have a right to voice concerns.

"We want to make sure the federal minister of health and public authorities are aware of a physician's professional obligation and his right to speak out when he observes something."

A letter of support for O'Connor has been sent to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, as well the the federal and provincial health ministers, Keifer said.

O'Connor alerted the media last year to what he believed was a disproportionately high incidence of colon, liver, blood and bile-duct cancers in patients who live in Fort Chipewyan, a small community downstream from major petroleum refineries.

In filing the complaint against O'Connor with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, Health Canada did not explain the action, but said the doctor was causing undue alarm.

First Nations back O'Connor

The complaint has made O'Connor a celebrity of sorts. His name is mentioned at environmental rallies and on internet blogs. Opposition parties, both federally and provincially, have taken up his cause, as have First Nations leaders.

Chief Jim Bouchier, who speaks on behalf of the Athabasca Tribal Council that represents the five First Nations in northeastern Alberta, said O'Connor repeated concerns First Nations people have raised for years.

"In our estimation, Dr. O'Connor is doing things in the best interest of his patients," he said.

"Health Canada as well as other health care providers in the region have failed in their duty and responsibility with respect to ensuring that the interests of the First Nation people are taken care of."

Health Canada still won't talk about why it thinks O'Connor is unduly raising concern, while O'Connor can't talk until the complaint with the the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta is resolved.

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