Readers may recall a controversy in Alberta in 2006 where Dr. John O’Connor, a Nova Scotia physician then working in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, alleged that an epidemic of cancer was occurring in northern Alberta—and because of the oilsands operations there.
The Frontier Centre has been supportive of what we call a “Smart Green” approach to the environment, where science and empiricism is taken seriously over advocacy, be it on climate change, the effect of resource development on the environment and people, or any number of issues; to fail to do so harms real environmental progress.
Thus, in the interests of a sounder debate about such matters, Frontier has decided to post the College of Physicians and Surgeons investigation of Dr. O’Connor, which it and several media outlets have obtained. (Dr. O’ Connor refused to allow the College to release their findings; the report was leaked).
The background on this investigation is that after Dr. O’ Connor made his claims about higher incidence rates of cancer in Alberta’s oilsands, three other physicians complained to the College of Physicians of Alberta in January 2007 about Dr. O’Connor.
In its November 4, 2009 Investigation Report, the College finds:
- Dr. O’Connor failed to inform public health officials and the Alberta Cancer Board of the identities of and clinical circumstances of patients whom he’d diagnosed with various types of cancer in a timely manner.
- Dr. O’Connor did not respond to multiple requests for information after he had made public his concerns about the incidence of cancer in the community of Fort Chipewyan
- Dr. O’Connor made a number of inaccurate or untruthful claims with respect to the number of patients with confirmed cancers and the ages of patients dying from cancer
“The message that Dr. O’Connor and others may take from this review is the need for advocacy to be fair, truthful, balanced and respectful,” writes the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The Frontier Centre has published the original College investigation of Dr. O’Connor here:
The National Post published a story about the report here: