There is an increasing awareness and concern over the health issues in Fort Chipewyan, which some 200 kms. down stream from the Alberta oil sands. There are also Athabasca River basin water quality issues that are at issue.
I recently attended the Keepers of the Water Conference in Fort Chipewyan and got some first-hand information and insight about what is going on up there around water and health issues.
The issues received international attention when former Fort McMurray physician, John O’Connor commented on the high rates of unusual cancers in the Ft Chip residents. There is a controversy swirling around Dr. O’Connor coming out of professional complaints filed by Canada Health by he has support from the Alberta Medical Association.
Dr. O’Connor ‘s findings were the subject of a recent documentary film entitled “Downstream.” Well the O’Connor profile and the issues in the documentary are about to get a lot more international attention. The film was just short-listed for an Oscar in the “Best Short Documentary” category.
The Academy Awards are scheduled for February 22, 2009. I wonder how this film will fare in February.