Friday, March 24, 2017


On the face of it that doesn't have to be a problem or issue. If you are a recent grad say of a hydrogeology course and you want to get some experience with hydroG reports and with a local groundwater issue then by all means volunteer your time to a past CPAC or TAG. That is a win-win. You get to add volunteer experience to your resume that is relevant to your hoped for upcoming field of work. The environmental committee dealing with groundwater issues gets the benefit of your training and insights into groundwater issues and problems.

Lets say however that you are working with a public advisory committee dealing with local soil, ground and surface water contamination courtesy of a very recalcitrant polluter. A polluter with immense power and money and a bad attitude into the bargain. This attitude may be all about playing the game. Spend big bucks on consultants and lawyers and even on public relations firms. This firm as part of their PR program will join their industry association and even go through the process of receiving certification as a *Responsible Care company.

The chemical industry as a whole have been responsible for a number of horrible explosions, fires, chemical disasters and human suffering worldwide. To a certain extent it is the nature of the business. To a certain extent it's not. They have certainly learned how to market and package their attempts to appear to be good corporate citizens and indeed some of their members probably are. But not all. In an industry of this size and power "captured" regulators are a fact of life. Certainly the Ontario Ministry of Environment give every indication of having been "captured" by large corporate polluters in this province. The M.O.E. would far rather negotiate and cut deals than end up in court fighting adversaries with much greater legal budgets than they have. Little guys no problem.

Is working directly or indirectly for the M.O.E. an indication that a person is corrupt? Depends on what you are doing. If you are working at arms length inspecting shallow wells getting paid by an intermediary body such as the Region of Waterloo perhaps not. If on the other hand you were doing your professional work such as editing reports for the polluter's client driven consultants then yes. If you were sitting on an Advisory Panel for the Canadian chemical industry of which the local polluter is a member and you are receiving personal benefits from this work then yes it is wrong. If you are totally and completely unqualified to advise the chemical industry on anything but you were recommended to this Advisory Panel by your local polluter then yes it is wrong.

If both of you were offered all expense paid plane travel to another country to unnecessarily show you a landfill then it is most likely nothing more than a bribe. If you are receiving any kind of benefit whatsoever from a "captured" regulator such as the M.O.E, or from the polluter or his consultants then something is very wrong. By accepting any of these perks you have put yourself in a conflict of interest position. When you sit on a CPAC or TAG whose interests are you really looking out for? Are you prepared to jeopardize both present and future benefits by either speaking or acting in a manner contrary to those who have been giving you either employment, free travel, prestige, access and status and any other perks directly or indirectly? That is why it is called a conflict of interest and it is rife here in Woolwich Township.

Access is part of the local bribe. Do us this solid on this issue and we will offer you lifetime access to us. We will sit down forever more with you and acknowledge your right to talk to and discuss your environmental concerns with us. This access has been denied to CPAC precisely because we would not go along with the polluter and his captured regulator's agenda. The ACC or APTE-Chemtura Committee was the promised land access for a couple of citizens who under the new Woolwich Council lost their CPAC seats after the 2010 municipal election.

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