Harper on Tar Sands: Money Matters -- Not Cancer
A study by the Alberta Cancer Board confirmed that the people of Fort Chipewyan are experiencing higher than normal rates of cancer. Deformed fish, declining numbers of waterfowl and strange tasting water have added to the residents' concern.
Stephen Harper says he received a mandate from Canadians to protect our economy. If members of First Nations communities and other Albertans get cancers, that is regrettable. But that's not his government's problem. Anyone who doesn't like the Tar Sands should just move. Money grows our economy, and not reducing cancer rates, according to the position of the Stephen Harper government.
When Dr. John O'Connor, a local doctor, began to voice his concern about the increasing number of cases of a rare form of cancer in Fort Chipewyan, the response was to launch an investigation of him and discredit his findings.
The controversy surrounding the impacts of the Tar Sands on local communities and the government's failure to respect Aboriginal rights and title to their land is growing. The Beaver Lake, Chipewyan Prairie and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations are all suing Alberta over the destruction of their traditional hunting and fishing grounds.
Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation elaborates:
“Both the federal and provincial governments have failed our Aboriginal community for the sake of money, for the sake of corporate interests and for the sake of increasing energy exports to the United States. We are seeing disheartening toxicity levels in our animal life and have now received confirmation of unacceptable cancer rates to people in our community. As a people who have been here for thousands of years, we are sad that no one will listen and that government sits back and issues denials and publicity campaigns without substance."
Well, I guess that the price of "economic success" and capitalism.