Showing 'local' but serious climate impacts with an identifiable individual was a key finding in our research.
WHAT IT SHOWS: Dr John O'connor has spent years working in First Nation communities downstream of the tar sands industry. He started to find unusual rates of rare cancers amongst the locals. One cancer in particular, Cholangio carcinoma (bile duct cancer) normally affects 1 in 100,000 people. John found 6 cases in Fort Chipewyan a community of 1200 people. When Dr O'Connor raised his concerns and a possible link to the tar sands industry, he expected the government to launch a community wide health survey. The governments reaction was to charge him with four cases of professional misconduct. 1. Engendering mistrust. 2. Blocking access to patient files. 3. Billing irregularities. 4. Raising undue alarm in the community. John spent four years fighting to clear his name and was eventually completely exonerated of all charges by the Board of Physicians of Alberta. This shot shows John with one of his patients, Clara Mercer. Clara is currently battling a rare kidney cancer and has had half of both her kidneys removed. she has lived in Fort McKay, downstream of the tar sands mines, all her life.