Wednesday, May 7


Unfortunately my computer has been down for past couple of days. Here's copy of the letter sent to the Herald mentined in last.

I like to be positive but the sight of a few hundred dead birds on toxic oilsands tailings pond near Fort McMurray is just the iceberg tip. It could be people. Syncrude has apologized and know what needs to be done. We must note as noted in the papers and as long suspected this is not the first incident of loss of life there. It’s reported that up to “15 species of wildfowl and 22 other species of birds as well as other wildlife”, have been affected over the years. Hopefully this is the last sad occurrence.

The ponds’ size has been compared to Sylvan Lake and 50,000 sq. kms. Let’s not forget to add roadways and the affected outer perimeter. (Another comparison we could use is Ireland at 32,000 sq. miles approx. or 83,250 sq. kilometers which is well over half the size of Ireland which sustains over 5 million people). With continued development the affected area will expand. We need to be alarmed at hearing it’s not just the oil residue in the water but “clay, sand, bitumen, mercury, arsenic, naphthalene acids and other toxic chemicals” extracted from the tar sands. There’s also the inability of organisms to live or produce there.

One legal-mind noted the incident has legal as well as moral ramifications; a tragedy occurred and corrective action is needed. A question is; does our Provincial or Federal Government have the political will to enforce the law? Also, we all need to change how we think and act so we will discourage reckless abuse of our resources and environment. We need responsible governments whose major focus is not on the bottom line and profit but people and sustainability and please don’t think I’m against reasonable returns.

We need governments that lead from vision and look further than just deregulation and profit which can encourage disrespect for laws and regulations which were developed for good reason. It’s incomprehensible that a government would plan to spend 25 million dollars to convince the owners of the resources that they should speed-up development and sales. Such amount could almost take care of the library and two schools complex that will accommodate several thousand students in West Lethbridge. The dead birds are reflective of the Stelmach government’s full-speed-ahead oil sands development policy that fails to consider environmental consequences and tarnishes our reputation. It confirms the image of the oil sands as “dirty oil”. We need to be responsible however, self-reporting is “akin to the fox guarding the henhouse”.

The tragedy highlights major issues the Harper Government has little regard for, environment and water. I’ll address them in the near future. The kind of leadership Canadians want is that we ensure a richer, fairer, greener Canada that will sustain us, our children and grandchildren so that again we can be the light and example our troubled world looks to.

Michael Cormican,
Federal Liberal Candidate
Lethbridge Riding Association

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