Here are four unusual details about the debate surrounding TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline proposal:
Who are Health Canada’s experts assessing human health impacts of oilsands development? And why has the federal government never done a comprehensive study of health impacts in the region after more than half a century of industrial development?
These are among the questions I asked Health Canada in early July as part of my research for this oilsands story published this week.
I’ve just concluded a six-week stint at the Ottawa bureau of the Toronto Star.
Here are some of the stories we published over the course of this contract:
FORT McMURRAY, AB – A new study from the University of Manitoba will soon challenge industry and government claims downplaying environmental health impacts of oilsands development, said the chief of a First Nations community Friday.
“When that report comes out, it’s going to blow the socks off industry and government,” Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation told native and non-native supporters gathered at a campsite for an outdoor weekend retreat near major oilsands projects. “We went ahead and did our own independent studies and we found some very stunning results.”
Ten days ago, I asked Environment Canada whether any of its scientists would be available for interviews about their research.
The department hasn’t yet answered this question along with others.
Canada’s national energy regulator estimates it will spend about $21 million over two years – more than new funding announced to improve its existing oversight of pipeline companies – to move into its new Calgary offices.
The total moving costs add up to $20.7 million, say National Energy Board records tabled in Parliament. Those include about $12.4 million in 2013-2014 and about $8.3 million in 2014-2015 to relocate within Calgary into a building on a site that was previously affected by a large sinkhole.
OTTAWA-Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott took turns Monday criticizing efforts by governments to make polluters pay for greenhouse gas emissions.
Abbott, who is visiting North America, and Harper, both said their respective governments weren’t trying to avoid dealing with the problem, but suggested they were trying to avoid damaging the economy.
GATINEAU-The looming elimination of Australia’s watchdog for government information and transparency has sparked some surprise and possibly anxiety within the office of its Canadian counterpart.
Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault told her office’s employees at a special strategy meeting Wednesday that news of the demise of the Australian information commissioner’s office was a shock since it had been praised around the world for promoting openness and transparency.
“I’m bewildered by what happened in Australia,” said Legault, the federal watchdog in Canada who monitors whether the government is respecting its legal obligations to grant the public access to its records and information. “Obviously, I don’t know the circumstances of what happened there. I’m very surprised.”
Some 300 scientists are urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to reject a report that recommended approval of a major oil pipeline to the west coast of British Columbia, describing it as a “flawed analysis” that downplayed key environmental impacts.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a strong case for parents to accept scientific evidence about the effectiveness of vaccines.
“We do have scientists and medical professionals who do great work and verify this and I just think its a tragedy when people start to go off on their own theories and not listen to the scientific evidence,” he told the CBC in an exclusive interview.
“Don’t indulge your theories, think of your children and listen to the experts.”
Within his own government, scientists and professionals who do research and gather evidence, are urging the prime minister to take a second look at his own theories.