Monday, March 05, 2007

Big Oil and Health Canada; together we're...getting cancer?

Big Oil and Health Canada; together we're strong?

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 alarm.

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.

"I am absolutely shocked that they would treat a physicians of this calibre like this. There's a deliberate attempt to beat him down or shut him up," the area's head nurse, George MacDonald, said.


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