Residents of Northern Alberta are not in Favor of Provincial Proposal

People of northern Alberta town are not in the favor of a provincial proposal to have the oilsands industry participate in a health study on cancer rates.

The proposal says that members of the industry would sit in the supervision of committee, which will manage the study.

“If there are people sitting on the oversight committee that are connected (to industry), they’re going to have instructions as to what steps they have to take to look after the best interests of who they’re serving”, said Steve Courtoreille, a councillor of the Mikisew Cree First Nation.

After going through the reports from the Alberta Cancer Board in February 2009, which claimed that in Fort Chipewyan cancer rates were 30% more than the predictions, the provincial Government showed its interest in the study.

On August 4, the physician-health working group sent its recommendations to the Nunee Health Board. It included a chart, which shows the management oversight committee comprises the Alberta and Federal Governments and the community.

A Fort Chipewyan physician, Dr. John O’Connor, who first noticed the strange rates of cancer and other sickness in the community, said that he and his colleague, Dr. William Griffin is a part of the task force.

Health Minister of Alberta, Gene Zwozdesky has said in his statement on Friday that he did not have any idea about the involvement of the industry.