Author Topic: Whistleblowers in Canada  (Read 12128 times)

Toedancer

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« on: March 05, 2007, 09:47:09 AM »
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A small Alberta community is rallying behind a local doctor they believe is being silenced by Health Canada because he raised concerns about high rates of cancer near the booming oilsands.

Health Canada officials have filed a complaint against Dr. John O'Connor.

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 Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons, Health Canada did not explain the action, but said the doctor was causing undue harm.

Meanwhile, physicians who work alongside O'Connor in Fort Chipewyan believe officials are targeting their colleague because his comments potentially threaten billions of dollars of investment in the province's oilsands.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/03/ ... 70305.html

An outrage!
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

deBeauxOs

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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2007, 06:20:01 PM »
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...Health Canada ... said the doctor was causing undue alarm...
 :roll:  Good grief.  His actions are based on preventing and ensuring that no harm be done to his patients.

Toedancer

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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2007, 06:36:28 PM »
Canwest is reporting from the oilsands all week and nary a word about Dr. O'Connor. I had to check when I found they were in Alberta.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

Croghan27

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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2007, 06:58:50 PM »
Quote from: Toedancer
Canwest is reporting from the oilsands all week and nary a word about Dr. O'Connor. I had to check when I found they were in Alberta.


Dr. O'Connor was my doctor while I lived in Fort McMurray - he was very well respected as a doctor even if hard to get hold of as he spent a lot of time working with the local reserves.

While, with a jovial 'bed side manner' (I still have some jokes from him) he was rather fearless in speaking out about things he saw as just wrong. Fearless can be translated here to mean blunt, he had little time for diplomacy.

Being a doctor and having done what he had, he championed better health care and more preventive health care for the various villages around the oil sands plants. Along with much needed improvement in the Wood Buffalo Regional Hospital.

The outside press, naturally, went to him first for a view and quote on anything. That CanWest did not speak to him is only a reflection of their general reportage. The Fort McMurray Today is a CanWest paper.  

(Irishman that he is, he was frowned upon me because I do not drink Guinness.)
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Holly Stick

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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2007, 07:18:55 PM »
Eric Denison was talking about it on Sounds Like Canada today.  It's on the main page now:  http://www.cbc.ca/soundslikecanada/ and may be in the past shows section tomorrow.

They mentioned talking about it a year ago, and they did talk to the doctor then, but said he could not talk to them this time.  The people of Fort Chip were talking about their wish for a health study; and it sounds like the government of Alberta (ETA: and Health Canada) have been screwing them around, like what else is new?
Economics is a human creation, borders are human creations and nature doesn’t give a damn about these things. - David Suzuki

Toedancer

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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2007, 07:21:48 PM »
I've just been told Dr. O'Connor is moving to Nova Scotia in the next few months.

Guinness - yuck and I'm Irish/Welsh, me best friend is French/Metis and she LURVS the stuff.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

deBeauxOs

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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2007, 09:07:19 PM »
Quote from: Toedancer
I've just been told Dr. O'Connor is moving to Nova Scotia in the next few months. ....
 :shock:  He got an offer he couldn't refuse?

Didn't mean to be irreverent about this but it could be, if he's been advocating in his patients' interests for years, that he and/or his family may simply be burned out.

Toedancer

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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2007, 10:12:04 PM »
I believe he is going to continue to practise at a medical centre in N.S. My friend thinks it might even be in his clinic, not positive though.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

kuri

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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2007, 01:48:45 AM »
And what happens to the residents of Fort Chip?

This is outrageous. Just another example of our governments total disregard for aboriginal health.

Croghan27

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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2007, 02:46:18 AM »
Quote from: kuri
And what happens to the residents of Fort Chip?
This is outrageous. Just another example of our governments total disregard for aboriginal health.


The uranium for 'the bomb' came from the Fort Chip area. Just to east of it, extending into Saskatchewan, is a huge and valuable body of uranium ore that is being mined open pit. The truck drivers cannot drive there more that three months at a time (so I have been told) for it takes only that long for their 'dociminators' to turn black.

The ore in the 40s was barged down river (actually up river) to Fort McMurray and then shipped to the state of Washington for up-grading at Hannaford.

One day a geologist for the Canadian government was strolling through Chip and watching kids play in an old rusted barge. He was just poking about and had his Geiger counter with him. As he approached the old barge the indicator went off scale.

It was one of the barges used to ship the radioactive materials south - now children were playing in it. It was altogether in the middle of town, rather a land mark - I had seen it the year before.

I understand the nuclear agency promptly did some about it. As well as following the trail of the uranium down to Fort McMurray (there were deposits all along the river and even in town).

I left before I heard the end result of the story - the small bit in the paper mostly said; "It's all right now."
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

Toedancer

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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2007, 08:54:20 AM »
Well CanWest tonight's 5 minutes report will be about needing at least 40 doctors. Shit I'm watching Canwest, I can't believe it. But I am curious on exactly what infor. they report on.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

deBeauxOs

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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2007, 09:40:50 PM »
Update about Dr O'Connor at CBC.
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The Alberta Medical Association has passed a unanimous motion supporting a doctor at the centre of an environmental controversy in northern Alberta.
...
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.

Toedancer

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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2007, 09:52:11 PM »
Thanks for the update Gorgeous.

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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.


I have several appointments coming up re: my eye with an eye surgeon, a full physical with an NP, and a host of other tie-up-the-loose-ends before I move. From now on, from this moment on I intend to ask every doctor that attends to me, exactly what their thoughts are on privatization and the public health care system. It's time the truth be told and put out there.

I am so angry!@

Notice how the Alberta WCB are conspicuously absent in investigating this doctor's claims? They spout in the media about health and safety prevention and pay for big glossy ads about workplace safety, but where are they now? - SILENCED by the oil industry.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

Holly Stick

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« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2007, 02:45:28 PM »
Andrew Nikiforuk on Dr. O'Connor:

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...Now, he finds himself the subject of an unusual investigation by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta that could compromise his future. A ruling could come down at any moment, and he feels that he's in such dire straits that he has decided to pack up and leave the province altogether...

...The "fearful" people of Fort Chipewyan, meanwhile, contend that they have voiced concerns about cancer rates and water pollution for years. When the wind is right, they can smell the oil-sands plants, and now carry filtered water into the bush when hunting...

...Five years ago, Mr. Ladouceur says, he sent 200 pounds of pickerel riddled with tumours, bulging eyes, crooked tails and pushed-in faces to Fort McMurray for testing he hoped would determine what has been going wrong.

But provincial officials didn't pick up the fish, he says, and they were left to rot in a truck.

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning Calgary journalist. Next month, he will be among the speakers at an Alberta Environmental Network conference on water in the Athabasca Basin, as will Dr. John O'Connor.


Goat & Snail
Economics is a human creation, borders are human creations and nature doesn’t give a damn about these things. - David Suzuki

Croghan27

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« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2007, 03:38:59 PM »
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...The "fearful" people of Fort Chipewyan, meanwhile, contend that they have voiced concerns about cancer rates and water pollution for years. When the wind is right, they can smell the oil-sands plants, and now carry filtered water into the bush when hunting...


That has been going on for years in Lake Athabasca. - it is a huge lake (it has slight tides) and the knowing fishers all go to the far south side over toward Saskatchewan. The Athabasca River water comes in the south west side.

On the north Saskatchewan side is an incredibly rich uranium body - the truck drivers and equipment operators can only work for about 4 months a year, so I am told, because they exposure metres turn black and federal regs say they cannot entre the area again that year.

As for Doctor O'Connor, he is a popular doctor and a very good one ..... but diplomacy is not his strong point. This is not the first time he has irked the oil money loving, and usually south residing, officials.
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

 

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