'To the Last Drop' documents ongoing David and Goliath struggles of small Canadian town
Construction in rural area is sending toxic material into water supply, documentarian says
The more things change - the more things stay the same, it would appear
for the small Canadian town of Fort Chipewyan. Documentary filmmaker Tom
Radford documented the struggles of this tiny community in northern
Alberta in his previous project, "Death of a Delta." Radford has
returned with his cameras to document the area's battle with the Tar
Sands project, "To the Last Drop."
Documentary filmmaker Tom Radford documented the struggles of this tiny community in northern Alberta in his previous project, 'Death of a Delta.' Radford has returned with his cameras to document the area's battle with the Tar Sands project, 'To the Last Drop.'
Radford said that in his first film, "Death of a Delta," the story then was the fight of the town of Fort Chipewyan to have a voice in the construction of a massive hydroelectric project on the Peace River, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam. "At stake was not only the survival of the oldest community in Alberta, but the protection of a World Heritage site, the Peace Athabasca Delta, a convergence of migratory flyways and the greatest concentration of waterfowl on the continent," he says.
"In the David and Goliath struggle that ensued, David won. Water was released from the dam and water levels in the Delta returned to normal. The unique ecology of the region was saved. The town survived," Radford says.
The township has since had to take on a new fight, Radford adds.
"The Alberta oil sands are arguably now the world's largest construction project. Its expansion will have an estimated $1.7 trillion impact on the Canadian economy over the coming decades. An area of boreal forest the size of Greece will be affected by industrial activity.
Radford points out that there is growing evidence of encroaching pollution brought on by toxic chemicals. "Fort Chipewyan has experienced an unusually high rate of cancer. Local fishermen are finding growing numbers of deformed fish in their nets. Residents and John O'Connor, the community doctor, worry there could be a connection to the oil sands.
In addition, "the Delta is once again becoming impassable because of falling water levels. This means the hunting, trapping and fishing rights guaranteed to his people in Treaty 8 are worthless."
Radford, however, is optimistic that justice will be rendered. "These days the powers that be are beginning to listen. The recent Oil Sands Advisory Panel, appointed by Jim Prentice, the former environment minister, stressed in its December 2010 report the importance of proper research and regulation. We have to know what is in the water.
"Maybe David has a chance to win again. Goliath would be better for it."
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Documentary, filmmaker, Canada, pollution, David and Goliath
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