Friday, October 14, 2022


 Yesterday's article in the Observer by Leah Gerber was titled "Environmental studies that look at impact on Indigenous groups". The first time that I read it yesterday I was flabbergasted. I felt that any discussion of Indigenous groups in the same article as the pretend cleanup of the Canagagigue Creek was way beyond irrelevant  and ridiculous. I read it again yesterday and was less offended and disgusted. A third reading this morning has further reduced the shock value and instead has me trying to minimize the somewhat weird comparison and instead look more closely at what the purpose of the article is. What exactly is its' message?

 If author Leah Gerber wants to suggest that minority groups in general are ignored and minimized by the Risk Assessment process as well as the overall environmental cleanup process, then I do not disagree. However I can't find that statement anywhere in her article. The fact is that Uniroyal Chemical cheerfully located here for three reasons. They had unfettered access to a soon to be on-site toxic waste sewer (Canagagigue Creek).  The downstream residents consisted of twenty-two Old Order Mennonite families who using the somewhat crude expression "would not say sh.t if their mouths were full of it." In other words they would not take Uniroyal Chemical to court or even publicly harass or condemn them for their both legal and illegal environmental activities. Thirdly Uniroyal had to have been assured by the local politicians that every possible method  would be used to run interference for the company as they destroyed the local environment.

Ms. Gerber and the Observer failed to interview opposing viewpoints for this article for which I am disgusted. She asked for and received from me a relevant recent report on sediment and fish testing in the creek. I expected once she had read it a followup interview or questions. Instead nothing although her article does interview Tiffany Svensson, Chair of TAG. Tiffany is paid $1,000 per meeting either by Woolwich Township directly or by Lanxess indirectly and she is not unbiased. 

There are multiple inaccurate and misleading statements in this article such as the inference that direct comparisons occur between soil, sediment and fish tissue toxic contamination and "...established acceptable levels for these chemicals...". ALL of these acceptable levels/criteria are grossly exceeded in and around the Creek.  Also the Risk Assessment for the Creek does NOT reflect the "...unique consideration..." of the Old Order Mennonites living along the Creek. It purports to and gives lip service only to them. Just like the ridiculous results of the Risk Assessment in Pictou Landing Nova Scotia advising that environmental and human health risks were acceptable so to does this homegrown perversion of honest Risk Assessments do the same. Both Risk Assessments have been done a half a century AFTER the toxic dumping ended and huge health effects have already taken lives. The same thing has happened at Grassy Narrows in northern Ontario with provincial and municipal governments delaying for decades to allow the contamination and human misery to wash away. 

Tiffany claims that "...Western risk assessment method allows for [unique populations to be represented] but it does require people who inderstand the uniqueness of the people group (receptor) to contribute in the review process." This is utter bullsh.t  and if true merely shows how a polluter led risk assessment can be perverted and twisted into saving millions of dollars of necessary and appropriate cleanup. 

So Woolwich Observer what is your message? Are you yet one more apologist for Uniroyal Chemical and corporate successors or are you  raising awareness of the deplorable state of Risk Assessments locally?

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