Saturday, December 29, 2018


We've all seen movies such as "The Firm" with Tom Cruise. Another movie that comes to my mind is "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford. To say that movies like this give an incredibly negative perception of the behaviour of corporate America (or corporate Europe etc.) is a huge understatement. Also I'm sure there are lots of fiction books as well that describe corporate behaviour that doesn't just border on psychopathic behaviour but leaps right into it. Surely corporate decisions around issues such as Thalidomide, Agent Orange, DDT, exploding gas tanks on Pinto cars, banning chemicals or drugs in North America while cheerfully selling them in third world countries would lead many of us to be highly suspicious of the phrase corporate ethics or corporate conscience.

Hence I'm going to ask the question regarding corporate behaviour here in Elmira, Ontario. Has our less than esteemed (in my opinion) Uniroyal Chemical, Crompton, Chemtura Canada or even the latest corporate name of Lanxess Canada ever behaved way outside the lines of "normal" corporate behavior? Specifically have they ever indulged in say psychological warfare? Have they gone beyond the bounds of client driven consultants writing self-serving reports that minimize the extent of environmental problems? Have our local polluters, as in the myriad corporate ownership changes, meddled in, oh for example, local environmental citizens' groups? Clearly any such meddling would be for the self-serving interests of the polluter. Could it be as simple as fairly privately bad mouthing one or two specific activists with local, naive politicians? Could it be as serious as attempting to entice local activists to the dark side so to speak? Could it go even further such as recruiting co-opted citizens to actively engage in undermining and disparaging other activists?

The very first indication I had of what I perceived to be peculiar or bizarre corporate behaviour along these lines occurred back in the spring of 1994. Granted a very senior APT person had previously suggested to me that they thought that Uniroyal might be bringing out a psychological expert to public meetings to gauge specific citizens regarding their commitment, flexibility, amenability to persuasion etc. Rich Clausi, Esther Thur and I had all departed APT Environment. This split was soon common knowledge including in the local media.

I was approached by Robert McBain who was working for Uniroyal Chemical as a a media relations person. He started complaining to me about Susan and Darrol Bryant. At the same time he flattered me unmercifully about how fact based my arguments were versus Susan and especially Darrol going on about "Mother Earth" and "Sister water". I found Mr. McBain's comments inappropriate and self-serving but also felt that he was testing to see how angry and upset I might be towards either APT Environment or the Bryants. Both of those individuals had been in India at the time of our (Rich, Esther & I) split from APT and I had absolutely zero animosity to either one and as far as APT went I was extremely disappointed with their poor decision to focus on Sylvia versus on the DNAPL issue. I was disappointed but understood their reasons.

Therefore Richard and I together met and talked to both Susan and to Sylvia Berg about this approach from Mr. McBain. I felt that this was an intentional attempt to drive a wedge between two local environmental groups and I wanted Susan, and even Sylvia who I had lost considerable respect for, to be forwarned. While I don't regret doing the right thing by telling them, I have to think in hindsight that neither of them would have done the same for Richard, Esther and I. I also wonder in hindsight if either Susan or Sylvia ever shared that private meeting with any other APT coordinators.


  1. Did this post have a purpose and or ending to it?

  2. Yes it did. Sorry you're too dumb to figure it out. Keep trying.