Where were Alberta’s Chief Medical Officers of Health, including Dr. Nicolas Bayliss? Where was Dr. James Talbot’s “tremendous passion and knowledge” refusing to help Albertans poisoned by fracing, not warning others they’re next?

Alberta on hunt for new chief medical officer of health by Keith Gerein, June 17, 2015, Edmonton Journal
Dr. James Talbot, the province’s chief medical officer of health, will be leaving the post when his three-year contract expires at the end of this month.

A written statement released Thursday by Alberta Health did not give a reason for his departure. Talbot was appointed by the Progressive Conservatives in 2012.

Talbot was most often in the public eye during flu season, when he gave updates on the severity of the virus and urged Albertans to get immunized.

Under his watch, the province dramatically increased its order of seasonal flu vaccine doses to around two million, only to learn later the vaccine was largely ineffective this year. At least 103 Albertans died this season after contracting the flu, the highest number since reliable records began being kept in the 1990s. It is expected Alberta will order a high number of doses again this year.

Talbot was also involved in the response to North America’s first death from H5N1 avian flu, which occurred in early 2014 to an Alberta woman who had just returned from China.

Talbot has “demonstrated tremendous passion and knowledge about public health issues,” the statement said.  The department said it has begun searching for a replacement. Deputy chief medical officer of health, Dr. Ada Bennett, will serve in the role temporarily. “This will be a good opportunity to review roles and responsibilities in the area of public health ensuring Albertans continue to be well-served in the years ahead,” the statement said.

Concerns have been raised in the past that Talbot’s role conflicted with similar public health positions at Alberta Health Services.

Under the terms of his contract, Talbot earned $350,000 a year as his base salary. [Emphasis added]

2015 06 19: The latest version of the PSE database analysis, which includes all peer-reviewed publications from January 1, 2009 – June 16, 2015 that are directly applicable to assessing the various impacts of shale and tight gas development, is now available

1. As of June 16, 2015, there were 555 publications. This includes studies, commentaries, and reviews on everything from methane emissions to economics (see 12 categories in database). This does not include papers on drilling strategies, reservoir evaluations, and other technical papers that are not directly relevant to measuring the impacts of shale gas development.

2. Of the 555 publications, nearly 80% (438) have been published in the past 2.5 years (since January 1, 2013).

3. Of the 555 publications, over 50% (296) have been published in the past 1.5 years (since January 1, 2014).

4. Health: 84% of original research indicates potential public health risks or actual adverse health outcomes. When review articles and commentaries were included this became 94%.  

5. Water: 69% of original research indicates potential, positive association, or actual incidence of water contamination.    

6. Air: 88% of original research indicates elevated air pollutant emissions and/or atmospheric concentrations. 

[Refer also to:

2015 02 19: British Columbia’s Ministry Health withholding data, report of scientific research on how oil and gas operations are affecting human health in northeast communities; Refusing to release even under FOIP: “could be harmful to the financial interest of a public body”

2007 05 08: Ernst testifies in Ottawa to Parliamentary Committee and beseeches the government to implement CEPA (1999) and enforce chemical disclosure of all toxic oil and gas industry drilling, fracing and servicing fluids. As of June 19, 2015, the Harper government still has not yet implemented CEPA or enforced the disclosure of toxic chemicals used in oil and gas wells and associated facilities.

2006 12 08: Alberta Health Chief Medical Officer of Health Nicolas Bayliss steps down (he didn’t help or warn Albertans poisoned by fracing either)

2006 09 20: Ernst asks Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Nicolas Bayliss, to help her and the Rosebud community deal with drinking water contamination after Encana frac’d their aquifers. Ernst received none. As of June 19 2015, no federal or provincial health or energy regulatory agency in Canada has provided any help.

2002: Council of Canadian Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and Dr. John Cherry (ten years later, in 2012, appointed Chair of the Council Canadian Academies frac panel) release their report warning about unconventional oil and gas industry impacts and recommending baseline hydrogeological investigations to track oil and gas industry contaminants.

Thirteen years later, this is still not happening anywhere in Canada. (The “baseline” data collected in some jurisdictions (only to protect industry and corrupt regulators?), after many decades of leaking oil and gas wells and facilities is not “baseline”)

April 2014, D. John Cherry and his Council of Canadian Academies frac panel experts mysteriously left the report out of their frac report, knowing that what Cherry recommended 12 years earlier is not happening anywhere in Canada. Yet, they recommended nearly word for word, what Cherry recommended in 2002. “Expert” propaganda to frac us all with.

Some time after October 2014, after Ernst repeatedly pointed out the gross failings of the Council of Canadian Academies’ frac report, the CCME removed their important report from their website.

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