Canada’s Toxic Chemical Valley (Full Length)

First Nation of Aamjiwnaang’s burial ground. These people have been here
for hundreds of years. And about 70 years ago, they got
some great new neighbors. This is the Chemical Valley. The first thing you notice
when you visit Sarnia, Ontario, is the smell. Imagine a mixture of gasoline,
melting asphalt, and a trace of rotting egg smacking you in
the face and crawling up your nose every time you breathe. It’s a cocktail that made me
unpleasantly high and dizzy. That smell is the Chemical
Valley, where 40% of Canada’s petrochemical industry is
located in a 25 kilometer squared area. The Chemical Valley is
responsible for the production of gasoline, plastics,
pesticides, fertilizers, cosmetics, and a whole bunch
of other chemicals that our society relies on. It’s estimated that in 2013
alone, the Canadian petrochemical industry will
generate $24 billion in sales. Two years ago, thanks to the
60 petrochemical plants and oil refineries that operate in
the Chemical Valley 24/7, the World Health Organization gave
Sarnia the title of the worst air in all of Canada. To make matters worse, a First
Nations reserve called Aamjiwnaang, where just under
1,000 people live, shares a fence line with the
Chemical Valley. This is a serious health concern
for the people of Aamjiwnaang, as their community
has consistently claimed to have higher cancer
and miscarriage rates than the national average. And yet, the government has not
launched a proper health study to investigate
their allegations. Tensions between the First
Nations Community of Canada, the government, and the
petrochemical industry have been running high for
a very long time. Regular participation in highway
blockades and protests are the norm for many First
Nations communities in Canada, who are pushing back against
environmental damage to their native land. -You’re fucking cowards! -What happened is that Anthony
W. George was killed. His relatives insisted he
was a peaceful man. PATRICK MCGUIRE: One of the
major issues the residents on Aamjiwnaang need to deal with
are chemical leaks from the plants themselves. Oftentimes, these leaks
go unreported. And in the first half of 2013
alone, there were three spills of hydrogen sulfide. One of them sent several small
children form Aamjiwnaang’s day care to the hospital. Once we heard about
Aamjiwnaang’s struggle, we knew we had to go visit the
Chemical Valley ourselves to try and get a better sense of
how the relationship between the First Nations and the
petrochemical industry is being handled, what’s being done
to ensure the safety of the people of Aamjiwnaang, and
what the future of the Chemical Valley holds. We visited Sarnia while a high
profile energy conference was being held. Political leaders and energy
executives had converged on the city to discuss how more
money could be squeezed out of Canada’s most valuable
resource, our oil. As you might imagine, the people
of Aamjiwnaang were not happy to hear that more
industry would be coming their way. -Clean water, clean air,
healthy families. -No more chemicals
in the valley! -No more chemicals
in the valley! -Clean air, clean air– PATRICK MCGUIRE: While the
protesters demonstrated outside of the conference, the
energy industry discussed a plan to build new oil pipelines
all across Canada. In response, Vanessa Gray, a
20-year-old activist from Aamjiwnaang, was there to
cause a disruption. VANESSA GRAY: I have the right
to clean air and fresh water. If you guys feel that money is
more important than having water, then there’s something
really fucked up here. Thank you. PATRICK MCGUIRE: When you were
on stage, there were probably about six different people that
came up to you trying to get you off stage. You didn’t say a word
to any of them. Is that a difficult thing to do,
just keeping a stone face? VANESSA GRAY: Yeah, this lady
came up to me and said that I was taking her right away to
enjoy the conference in peace. PATRICK MCGUIRE: How did
you feel about that? VANESSA GRAY: I feel that she’s
taking my right away to breathe air and drink water. PATRICK MCGUIRE: After chatting
with Vanessa outside of the energy conference, we
figured we should go meet up with her in a less stressful
setting. That didn’t exactly happen. She brought us to a site
in the valley right by Aamjiwnaang called the
Blue Water Plaque. It commemorates a middle class
white community who was evacuated from the area because
of the unsafe living conditions that Aamjiwnaang’s
residents still live with. You’re getting involved in
these very important, big issues at a really young age. What was it that first drove
you to try and make a difference? VANESSA GRAY: I’ve just been
affected by cancer in my family and my friends and
loved ones so much. And I would like to see Chemical
Valley exposed more than it is now. I’d like some more health
studies to be done. People all over can see how
fucked up the situation is because it’s something that
a lot of people don’t understand, and they don’t
see every day. PATRICK MCGUIRE: We went over
to the reserve’s well kept baseball diamond that sits
directly across from a massive refinery to speak with
Christine Rogers. Christine is a mother of three
daughters who were affected by Shell’s hydrogen sulfide leak
in January of 2013, a leak that was discovered by the staff
of Aamjiwnaang’s day care center and the children
they were caring for after they all noticed a rotten
egg smell in the air. Several children were sent to
the hospital as a result. And because Shell did not
properly alert the community, the kids were wrongfully
diagnosed for having colds or flus when really they were
suffering from hydrogen sulfide exposure. CHRISTINE ROGERS: You
feel like a failure. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Why? CHRISTINE ROGERS: As a parent,
you do everything you can to protect your children. You do everything that you can
to make sure that your children are safe. And when something like that
happens that’s beyond your control, you just feel like
you’ve lost control. What if it had been
a bigger spill? You think you’re prepared. But really, you’re not. And I don’t– honestly, it feels helpless. She had gotten the crusted
eyes at that time. And her eyes were bloodshot
for three days. And I had to take her to the
doctor to make sure there were no infections. PATRICK MCGUIRE: And how do
you think these industries need to step up and help this
from not happening? CHRISTINE ROGERS: If you want
to operate here, then you should have top of the
line technology. You should be putting safety
above your dollars. It’s going to cost too much. It’s going to cost too much. That’s what you hear
all the time. And I don’t care. I don’t care how much
it costs to you. That’s my child’s safety. They would do it if their
kids lived right here. There’s a funny thing that my
kids, they came up with. You see the smoke coming
out over there? PATRICK MCGUIRE: Yeah. CHRISTINE ROGERS: Yeah, they
used to think that those were cloud makers. PATRICK MCGUIRE: That’s
cute, but also– CHRISTINE ROGERS: I had
to tell her, no, no, that’s not a cloud. That’s pollution. That’s the bad stuff that
we’re breathing in. So they came up their own
saying, the more clouds in the sky, the more people will die. As a parent, that is
heartbreaking that my kids think about where they
live like that. PATRICK MCGUIRE: I’m here
outside of the Shell Oil refinery, which is one of the
largest refineries in the Chemical Valley. The air fucking smells like gas,
and this plant alone has been responsible for three
different leaks of hydrogen sulfide in the past five
months since the beginning of 2013. And if you’re not already
familiar with hydrogen sulfide, it was actually used
as a chemical weapon by the British in World War I. So you
know it’s really good for you. When oil was first discovered
near Sarnia in the mid 1800s, mass industrialization
was not far away. To support the war effort, in
the early 1940s, Sarnia became a major center for the
petrochemical industry. And from there, business
began to boom. Sarnia’s proximity to the United
States quickly made it an exporting hot spot for
Canadian petrochemicals. And to meet the demand,
companies were quick to buy up land from the people of
Aamjiwnaang back when the concept of environmental impact
didn’t really exist. Then, during the ’60s and ’70s,
Sarnia prospered as the industry exploded
with business. All of a sudden, the Chemical
Valley was being heralded as a wonderfully exciting
development. Because of this, no one should
be under any illusion when it comes to the existence of
the Chemical Valley. We asked for it. The operation of our society
relies on petrochemicals. This is an issue that all of
us are responsible for. I went to speak with Mayor
Mike Bradley, who’s been running Sarnia for over 25
years, to discuss the history of the Chemical Valley, what
can be done to improve its emissions, and the industry’s
impact on the people of Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia
at large. MIKE BRADLEY: It doesn’t
matter where you go in North America. You will find toxins
and other things. The question always in this
community and anyone that has an industrial complex is, what
does the cluster do? Health Canada came to the
community and said, we’re willing to do this
health study. And it’s going to
cost millions. And then, within a very short
period of time, they removed themselves from the process. And so that’s been the issue
of how can you fund it? Because it is not an inexpensive
process, to make it credible. I don’t believe the
study should have any money from industry. And yet, it is going to be
funded in part by industry. PATRICK MCGUIRE: What do you
think the valid reasons, if any, are for Aamjiwnaang
to mistrust government or industry? MIKE BRADLEY: The first
oil company came here over 100 years ago. What really accelerated the
industry was they needed to be on the water during the
Second World War. So the big plant [INAUDIBLE]
came here, located here, that made rubber. Then, all the other plants
grew around it. Well, the natural place to go
to was where the Aamjiwnaang reserve was. So over the years, it’s been
eroded by industry and, I understand, by the city
just taking it away. History hasn’t been fair
to the Aamjiwnaang. There’s no question of that. But what I’ve been trying to
do is make sure that this generation’s life will be better
by doing what we can to make sure that that relationship
is more stable it’s been in the past. You would not do this today. You would not locate industry
close to a city. You would not locate industry on
reserve lands in the way it was done 30, 40, 50,
60 years ago. PATRICK MCGUIRE: We heard a lot
about a scientist named Jim Brophy who used to work very
closely with Aamjiwnaang and the workplace victims of
Chemical Valley who developed serious health conditions from
their jobs in the plants. Jim has since been chased
out of Sarnia and now lives in Windsor. We went to visit Jim to discuss
what the Canadian government and the petrochemical
industry need to do to protect the people of
Aamjiwnaang and the blue collar workforce of the Chemical
Valley itself. All right, I’m here with Dr.
Jim Brophy here in Windsor. And across the river there,
we’ve got a three story tall one city block long pile
of petroleum coke. Can you maybe explain
what that is? JIM BROPHY: That’s the end stage
of refinery process. And in that particular
case, that’s bitumen tar sands crude. PATRICK MCGUIRE:
Yeah, so that’s coming out from Alberta. JIM BROPHY: And it’s going to
a large refinery, a Marathon refinery, in southwest
Detroit. Southwest Detroit and Sarnia,
Aamjiwnaang, are classic examples of the environmental
racism. The whole environmental justice
movement was in response to these types of
egregious, really criminal, situations where poor
communities find their neighbors are these large
industrial complexes. And there’s little or no
protection from the kinds of exposures that these
people get. So let’s remember, who’s the
highest populations at risk? It’s First Nations communities
on the fence line. It’s blue collar industrial
workers. It’s the poor working class and
poor people who live in south Sarnia. Not the CEOs. And it’s the same in
southwest Detroit, right across from Marathon. It’s the poorest people
in the city. PATRICK MCGUIRE: It’s clear that
the energy industry has a habit of letting the poorest
neighborhoods inhale the majority of their pollution. It was obvious in Windsor, as
we stared at the coke pile. And it’s very obvious in
Aamjiwnaang, where refineries surround the community. We went to see Ada Lockridge,
a local hero in Aamjiwnaang, who has continually battle
against industry, to go for a toxic tour of the
Chemical Valley. ADA LOCKRIDGE: Listen to this. [TRADITIONAL MUSIC PLAYS] ADA LOCKRIDGE: So these guys are
allowed to put out so much into the air. And if they don’t put it all
out, they can trade those credits or sell the credits to
another company so they can pump out more. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Whoa. So one clean company is doing
well, and they’re staying under their regulated
emissions. They can sell that excess to a
really bad company who can then extend–? ADA LOCKRIDGE: Yeah. We used to come back here. And we would– Solidarity Day, which is the
national aboriginal day. So we would come back here,
have canoe races. Everybody would go canoeing,
and then whatever. They’d tip, aha ha, it was
all fun and games. PATRICK MCGUIRE: We’re
all wet not. ADA LOCKRIDGE: Until we found
out what was here. And we were like, oh my god! So we had to quit having
those games. PATRICK MCGUIRE: So it’s
mainly mercury in here? ADA LOCKRIDGE: That was what was
found in the sunfish and stuff like that. We got concerned about
the animals, too. Because they’re coming
here and drinking. They don’t know how to read. PATRICK MCGUIRE: No. They don’t know what
that sign means. ADA LOCKRIDGE: Mm-hm. And see our poor geese? They’re all messed up. They don’t know how to fly. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Yeah, that’s
not a V at all. ADA LOCKRIDGE: Do you know
how they’re supposed to– yeah, yeah. I think they’re trying
to tell us something. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Not only has
Ada been outspoken about pollution in Aamjiwnaang
throughout her adult life, she actually does her own air
testing with an apparatus called the bucket brigade
that she uses to catch unreported leaks. Ada was cool enough to show me
how the bucket brigade works. ADA LOCKRIDGE: Let me stick
this part under there. So that’s kind of like a lung. Think of it as a lung that,
whatever, so many minutes worth of breathing. PATRICK MCGUIRE: So you’ve
detected quite a few different leaks here. The most recent one was the
hydrogen sulfide from Shell. So can you maybe walk through
that discovery? ADA LOCKRIDGE: My daughter
showed up– she lives in Corunna, just south
of the reserve here. So she came about 10 to 8:00. I was out here on my porch
having my coffee. And she showed up. She says, oh, Mom, it’s
terrible out there. It’s really bad. It smells like rotten eggs. I said, all right. So I hurried up and
got on the phone. I got Spills Action Center,
SAC, on speed call. So I called them up. Hey, something’s leaking here. So that was five to 8:00. By 8 o’clock, it was
on the radio. Shell’s calling a Code 8. PATRICK MCGUIRE: They already
know that they’re leaking. Why haven’t they already
said something? ADA LOCKRIDGE: A lot of times,
we are the ones who notify the company somethings– PATRICK MCGUIRE: You
are the siren? ADA LOCKRIDGE: Yeah. We usually say, hey,
something’s happening over there. I called in one time. And they go, what’s the
wind direction? OK, the wind is coming from– and they go, what’s
the wind speed? PATRICK MCGUIRE: Oh, let
me go check my– ADA LOCKRIDGE: I said,
um, hang on. I’ll lick my finger, open up the
window, and we’ll count to see how long it takes to dry. JIM BROPHY: We live in a
situation now in Canada where the oil industry has
tremendous power. I mean, some would say that they
literally have a lock on the federal government. It falls, then, to the Ada
Lockridges of the world to stand up to this. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Yeah. JIM BROPHY: And so
what does Ada– I mean, think about
this for a second. There’s Ada Lockridge. And in the past, it’s been
other members of the environment community with her,
standing there with this plastic bucket and a filter in
it, trying to register what’s in the air that you can’t see,
sometimes you can smell it. And then, sending this filter
off to California to get it analyzed, and then being
given a report. What is going on here? ADA LOCKRIDGE: I’m Ada
Lockridge, but they like to tease me. They call me Ada Brockovich. I’ve been called lots
of names lately. Well, like the canary in
the coal mine, and all this kind of stuff. Normally, there’s the clash
between natives and non-natives. And there’s no reason for it. PATRICK MCGUIRE: No. ADA LOCKRIDGE: The chemicals
don’t care what color you are or anything anyway. So this is a human being
thing, and it’s not a native thing. PATRICK MCGUIRE: While the
citizens of Aamjiwnaang have to worry about chemical leaks
on a daily basis, so do the blue collar workers in the
Chemical Valley itself. We went up to north Sarnia,
which looks like a pretty nice place to live, to meet with Jim,
a veteran employee of the Chemical Valley. Jim invited us in his garage to
sit in front of his bright red duster and discuss his
lengthy career in the petrochemical industry. A lot of what we’ve been hearing
is that some of the major problems from Chemical
Valley are legacy issues. They’re problems that happened
in the ’60s or the ’50s, and we’re still just
cleaning it up. But do you find that companies
have been taking ownership of those issues? JIM TAYLER: I don’t
believe so, no. I think they take ownership like
it’s OK to say, I didn’t take the cookies. But when you get caught with
your hand right in the jar, they can’t deny it. So when they get caught with
their hand in the jar, they take responsibility. When the cookies are gone,
there’s just a couple crumbs sitting around, it wasn’t me. PATRICK MCGUIRE: I’m outside
the Sarnia Lambton Environmental Agency. We’re going to go inside and
speak with Dean Edwardson. Basically, anytime you send an
interview request to an oil company to talk to them, he’s
the guy they refer you to. So we’re going to go in and
speak with him about some of the concerns the
community has. DEAN EDWARDSON: We’re an
overarching organization that looks at environmental quality
from an ambient air shed, watershed perspective. Companies have their own
environmental people that look at their sites specifically. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Well, one of
the problems we’ve heard about time and time again is that
these sirens that these plants have don’t go off in time. There was that leak in January
where a daycare called in, terrible smell, bunch
of kids went to the hospital with red eyes. The hospital didn’t know what
to do about it because they hadn’t heard about the leak. And like four hours later,
Shell admitted to a leak. So if we’re allowing the plants
to do the monitoring, and this is a real example of
something that happened earlier this year, do you
think that’s a problem? DEAN EDWARDSON: Emergency
response issues, oftentimes communication is one of
your biggest problems. And in that case, I will freely
admit that we had a communication problem. And clearly, it was
unacceptable. And I think if you asked Shell,
they would say it was unacceptable. PATRICK MCGUIRE: I’d love to. They told me to talk to you. DEAN EDWARDSON: Well, I’m going
to tell you that they would tell you it was
unacceptable. Any of our plants will tell you,
impacting the community is not acceptable. And we’re looking at things
to try and improve that. PATRICK MCGUIRE: But there were
two more hydrogen sulfide leaks in the next four
months after it. And one of them was only
discovered by Ada Lockridge and her bucket testing. I mean, if you’re saying there
was a communication problem in January, by May when there was
another hydrogen sulfide leak, shouldn’t they have learned
from their mistake? DEAN EDWARDSON: Again, I can’t
talk to you about that. It’s under legal investigation
right now. PATRICK MCGUIRE: OK, so
what communication breakdown was it that– DEAN EDWARDSON: We had a
communication breakdown between what occurred at Shell
and the response for sounding our sirens. And we’re trying to fix that. PATRICK MCGUIRE: We heard there
were fish with tumors swimming around the Chemical
Valley which is alarming, because many scientists see
fish as an early indicator that something is very wrong
with the environment. So we went down to Aamjiwnaang’s
fishing dock to speak with a fisherman
who caught one of these toxic fish himself. PATRICK MCGUIRE:
Oh, shit, yeah. KEVIN PLAIN: You can see all the
lumps, the lumps and stuff that are on it. And it was all over the tail. There was a big chunk. All these here– you can see them right there. See them all growing? PATRICK MCGUIRE: Yeah, yeah. In 2002, as a response to
Suncor’s attempts to build the country’s largest ethanol plant
in the Chemical Valley, an environment committee was
founded in Aamjiwnaang. We went up to meet with Wilson
Plain, one of the founders in the environment committee,
to discuss the community’s struggle. WILSON PLAIN: There was always
some interest in having a body that monitors what’s going
on around here. Personally, I have a post on
Facebook that puts up wind direction and temperature
and what’s happening. My interest is ongoing with
respect to the environment. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Now, we
were in the cemetery. And it’s an alarming
juxtaposition between the Suncor refinery and
the cemetery. WILSON PLAIN: Not
a healthy place. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Yeah. WILSON PLAIN: We could have a
funeral procession there. And we would get caught by those
emissions in the air. PATRICK MCGUIRE: A lot of times
when we hear about a leak, the plants will maybe be
able to blame each other because they’re both emitting
that pollutant. And one says, well, it
be the other one. Does that kind of thing
happen a lot? WILSON PLAIN: I think the
Ministry of the Environment needs to monitor the direction
of the wind. If we started off with a bag of
pollutants, just from one, what would it be like if we had
five different sources? PATRICK MCGUIRE: Yeah, if you
had a bag, and I had a bag, and we both opened our bags– it’s a bigger bag up there. And who’s watching
the big bag? Nobody. WILSON PLAIN: The cumulative
issue is the main issue in Aamjiwnaang. But there needs to be an ongoing
monitoring of the worst offenders of
those pollutants. And benzene being the
top one, I think. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Even though
the Ministry of the Environment didn’t return our
phone calls, they can and will step in to prosecute industry. In 2005, the Nova chemical plant
had a serious benzene leak that lasted more
than 15 hours. It was so severe that
Aamjiwnaang was completely evacuated, and Nova was fined
over half a million dollars. JIM BROPHY: The health effects
of benzene are well documented in the scientific literature. The International Agency on the
Research of Cancer, IARC, designates it as a definitive
human carcinogen. It’s connected with leukemia,
all kinds of blood related cancers. And what we have are thousands
of tons of this very toxic chemical being released
in Sarnia every year. Nobody is really tracking the
communities that are getting the biggest exposure. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Would you say
that the amount of benzene is higher in Sarnia than
most other places? DEAN EDWARDSON: No,
I would not. PATRICK MCGUIRE: So despite
having plants in Sarnia that emit benzene, there’s no higher
emissions quality here? DEAN EDWARDSON: We
are consistent. The level of benzene that we
saw on our ambient monitors are consistent with what you’ll
find in other urban centers in Canad and
the United States. WILSON PLAIN: My grandson, he
used to live about one and a half have kilometers basically
west from here, died as a result of leukemia. He’s not with us anymore. He was 13. So I don’t know where my
grandson took a deep breath or took several deep breaths. But benzene would be the
cause of that leukemia. PATRICK MCGUIRE: Why should
these industries be trusted? DEAN EDWARDSON: I don’t think
anybody’s asking anybody to trust industry. Trust has to be earned. And I think that our companies
are trying to earn that trust. Obviously, trust oftentimes
is predicated on your performance. You can be a great guy, but
you go murder somebody. All of a sudden, you’re
a murderer. PATRICK MCGUIRE: You’re
probably not a great guy, then. DEAN EDWARDSON: Pardon me? PATRICK MCGUIRE: You’re probably
not a great guy in that circumstance. DEAN EDWARDSON: Well obviously,
but it’s like everything else. You do the best you
can to operate. But as soon as you have
an incident, it causes people to maybe– PATRICK MCGUIRE: Think
you’re a murderer? DEAN EDWARDSON: Well, yeah. PATRICK MCGUIRE: We’re walking
through a park that’s completely fenced off because
of all the asbestos contamination. So this only happened
a few weeks ago. The park’s basically abandoned
as a result, which is a bummer because it’s right in the
center of the city. And it’s definitely
a beautiful spot to spend some time. It’s really serene and peaceful
if it weren’t for the mass amounts of pollution,
contamination, and fencing. So even though this park is
totally contaminated with asbestos, there’s no actual
signage from the city anywhere indicating that. But there are these two little
handwritten notes. It says, this is a memorial
for those that died and suffered because of
Chemical Valley. It’s behind a fence because the
government found out that this park is also polluted
by toxic chemicals. So that says it all. After worrying about whether or
not we inhaled any airborne asbestos in Centennial Park, we
met up with Sandy Kinart, one of the founders of the
Victims of Chemical Valley Foundation to discuss how the
Chemical Valley continues to negatively impact Sarnia, and
how the workers of the industry who fall fatally
ill are treated. SANDY KINART: People
liked Blaine. He just had a way with people. I feel that I am truly blessed
to have married this man. I fell in love with this man
when I was in grade five. And I got to marry him. And that doesn’t always
happen in life. He was always good natured. He came home from work one day
and said, I can’t breathe. It was a hot, humid day. And I just though, OK. But realizing he was having
a hard time breathing. Got him to the doctors. So they admitted him, drained
seven liters of fluid from his lung, with his heart and trach
pushed to the side. And they didn’t know why
he was still alive. They finally diagnosed him
with mesothelioma. You have four months to live. Get your life in order. This was the feature section in
“The Globe and Mail” called “Dying for a Living.” If it
takes one man to use his picture to change what’s
happening, then that’s a good thing. And that’s what he wanted. He wanted to take
his shirt off. He wanted to show people what
asbestos will do to you. And he said, I want
people to know. I didn’t go to work to die. He died in 2004. When he got sick in 2002, my
brother-in-law came to the house to say, as a man would,
don’t you worry. We’ll make sure everything’s
OK for her. November that year, my
brother-in-law who came to the house was diagnosed with stomach
and bowel cancer. So in total, we’ve lost five
people in my family to mesothelioma, and that does
not include all the other types of cancers that have
come into the family. I think people don’t talk about
it because that’s where dad worked. That’s where grandpa worked. And you’ll hear this from
a lot of the men. Well, I had a good life. I made great money. And I guess it’s my time. Well, you shouldn’t be dying
at 57 years old. I don’t know if you’ve been
down to the Chemical Valley in the night. Take the drive down Vidal
Street and how all the lights are there. Well, as a child, that
was part of a Sunday evening, go down. The lights are all there. They’re all on. And boy, that just looked
like fairyland to us. All the sparkly lights, and
wasn’t that pretty? My father was an electrician. And back in the day,
those tanks were kept pristine looking. The gardens were beautiful. It was lovely to see. And we were proud that we lived
in the Chemical Valley. And it wasn’t until, gosh,
after my husband died, it was like, duh! We don’t see that anymore. the flowers are dead. The trees are all dying. The drums are all scungy
down there. It looks derelict down there
because they don’t have to keep up the pretense anymore. The gig is up, and
the word is out. And it is what it is now. It’s a chemical valley.

100 Replies to “Canada’s Toxic Chemical Valley (Full Length)”

  1. Whenever there is an issue between the natives and any other group of people, the natives should get say. They were here first, their land was stolen from them, the least they can do is accommodate the natives. This isn't going to happen though because big business is driven by money, profits, and greed. It dips into their profits to accommodate the natives, so it's not going to happen unless the government forces them to. The government isn't going to do this because most of the government officials are paid off by big business to side with them in every matter possible. When things are as bad as they are now, sometimes you have to resort to other less legal means to force accommodation. Another way to force accommodation is to implement large fines to the company for every chemical spill or release of chemicals. Maybe for every day a chemical is spilled or released into the environment, fine the company whatever the equivalent is of 1/100th of a year's gross revenue for the company. Half of the fine goes to those affected by the spill/release. The rest is used to fund the agencies involved in finding spills/releases as well as the agencies that enforce the fines. The companies will either clean up the operation or move the operation. Both would be acceptable accommodations.

  2. They should have learned from Japan's example, who have their share of environmental issues in the 1950s-1970s, which includes the Four Big Pollution Diseases of Japan, and how did they solved these.

  3. A local water utility company here in the Philippines use fishes as a first line of defense against water impurities/contaminants. Once the fishes exhibit erratic behavior, there is something wrong with the water.

  4. big industry in canada: we need to build factories, ya know the kinds of factories that kill people with their fumes.

    Canada: well we cant let u do it near any white cities.

    Canadian industry: well than we'll build it in the middle of nowhere

    residential schools: KILL ALL THE IND***S

    Canada: oh yea, just put it near a reserve!!

    industry: ok!
    how is that ok? at all ok?

  5. I live there, and 1: It doesn't smell like shit all the time, mostly in the summer. 2: the natives annoy us constantly about EVERYTHING. 3: its not the only thing we do and the weather and culture of the town is very nice.

  6. Government, corporations and the racist-speciesist euro-canadians have seriously failed the indigenouse people, animals and the land, the degrdation is the result of a selfish and distructive invasive soceity!

  7. There is a public historic landmark about the white people having to leave cause of pollution. But it's ok for the natives .. wtf

  8. I'm half native half white . I Iive in Maine on the Canadian boarder . This angers me so much . Natives are treated sub human.. things need to change .

  9. FACT hydrogen sulfide aka H2S is a deadly gas which is heavier then air.
    If you can smell it , its usually a safe amount but you still should gtfo.
    It's when you can go longer smell it when it is dangerous and kill you pretty much instantly.

    FACT H2S is everywhere. It is not just a by product of oil production. It's found in lakes, compost basically anywhere anything is decaying.

  10. supler dioxide also smells like rotten eggs it what volcanos release
    the children's symptoms match sulfur dioxide or any corrosive gas
    and it possible the plant doesn't know
    it can made by secondary burning in the air after release
    hydrogen sulfide is said to have rotten egg smell because its gas
    the human body makes and releases it….most animals do….
    it more like c20 not sulphur dioxide
    sulphur dioxide is comparable to phosgene(phosphors dioxide) or chlorine gas
    it dissolves in tears makes a acid the same way they do
    the main risk form hydrogen sulfide is that displaces air as a heaver then air gas removing o2 from a area and chronic exposer may cause a change sinus structure….
    hydrogen sulphide is the main gas found in swamp gas its a normal part of nature…..
    sulphur dioxide isn't unless you talking about the top of volcanos…..
    it why volcanos create acid rain….

  11. If that mom gave two shits about her kids safety and health she'd move away instead of wasting time deciding who's at fault and waging a fruitless and endless battle with petro companies. Yes, the oil companies are at fault, yes they're assholes, blah blah blah. Get your children the fuck out of there!

  12. I'd rather just see the Science. The epidemiologic evidence supports the cause and effect relationship to a very high degree of certainty. . We should act based on the risk calculations, as we do to make airplanes safer.

  13. these problems will never end as long as we continue to have an economic system that prioritizes profit over all else

  14. you should seriously do your fucking research Anthony George was not killed because of protesting at chemical valley, fucking morons, it was because of an issue with ownership at ipperwash, which was stated it would be given back to the first nations after it was done be using as a training camp.

    also showing the view of a chain link fence at centennial beach, has nothing to do with chemical valley, it's because the soccer field was found to have asbestos in the field. and the people who fucked with it were even told, that it was not an issue if they didn't go digging in the ground. that's why it was chained off. i swam in centennial beach as a child up till about 15 years ago. i am not dead obviously, nor do a i have an extra appendage.

  15. My city of Louisville, Kentucky, we have an electric plant that does the same here in the poor parts of town. My stepfather was killed by lung and brain cancer, he was only 53. There's numerous cases like his but since it's in a poor part of the city they don't care.

  16. They should not make pesticides or herbicides. If anything since every thing else is going organic (natural) then use natural herbs for pests. No you don't want to kill the so called "pests" off! For they are beneficial!

  17. Someone has to make this stuff, if it's not Canada it's going to be China or India and out of those three Canada has the strictest environmental standards

  18. First step – shut off all the utilities to the reserves. Oil, gas, water, sewer, electricity. Stop shipping in any commercial goods, including food. Let them go back to their earth mother ways and see how far they get. You can't live off smuggling cigarettes and bingo forever.

  19. Dr Brophy chased out of Sarnia ?!?! by who?? Dam Canucks are so two faced. They even try to dump their garbage in 3rd world nations.

  20. I would sooner sell everything I owned to get the fuck out of there, than stay for 1 second in that craphole. If I had children, it's a no-brainer. Less than 1 second.

  21. Strange that the businesses creating the pollution nor the politicians who approve the building of these plants (or deregulation of the industries creating this pollution) never live in these contaminated/polluted areas (never breathing the polluted air or drinking the contaminated water).
    The poor (especially the powerless minorities) have to endure significant exposure to these carcinogenic chemicals.

  22. 3:45 this is why no one takes protestors seriously she got up there no facts just winging it and then said fuck 🙄 if they would act educated instead of like petulant children perhaps their case would be heard. Even when shes interviewed all she can say is its "fucked up" like shes not saying anything, she had the opportunity to get the word out and bring awareness to her cause but wasted it.

  23. 7:30. No, no, no. That’s not s cloud maker or pollution, it’s STEAM. Not saying these companies shouldn’t be prioritizing safety more, especially after something scary like an H2S leak near a daycare, but releasing half truths and total misinformation will not help either.

  24. How did I only find out about this as an Ojibwe (Chippewea) native? Urban natives don't even KNOW how their tribes are continuously becoming devastated, all we can do is watch???????????

  25. By the way, Vice, know that this all has come to be due to decisions made by FEW and POWERFUL people who were WHITE AS FUCK and literally preferred black and indigenous folk either working for free or dead. Don't say that we asked for this. not ever.

  26. Of course they don’t care about US 1st nation natives! They’ve stolen our land. Killed us for years. Be brave! Be patient! And fight back anyway you can

  27. My grandmother always said the people who swear or cars are not smart enough to be able to mentally find the correct word to use and clearly this young girl has the same problem! Lady your message would be much better if you didn’t say fuck! Most of you don’t know this, but F you CK, is an acronym! It used to be a crime you could get charged with the New York called quote for on the carnal knowledge!” It would be for a man or a woman who were sleeping together but not married and we’re kind of motels they could get a misdemeanor second offense sent to prison! They did away with it 1912 in United States. Prosecutors would shorten it by saying what do you have on the roster this morning? The guy would say, the clerk, I would say oh I just have a few fuck charges!FOR UNCARNAL KNOWLEDGE!!! Most of you idiots that say fuck have no idea what it is about, what it’s in reference to nor even what it means to begin with!

  28. These Canada 1st nation mommas HAVE SOME HUGE ASS TITTIES! But if you listen to the message and jokes aside she’s right if they’re going to make $24 billion this year, clearly they can set 10% of that aside which will be $2.4 billion a year and pay these people that have been affected they could settle guaranteed for even 5% of the gross per year and everyone would be happy

  29. Clearly the PETRO CHEMICAL Nat’l. corp’s DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOU OR ME AT ALL! Lessons not learned w blood shed, are never ever learned! Canada could set aside 2 CENTS PER GALLON. Across the board!

  30. I have a house in Port Huron, MI which is right across the St Clair River from Sarnia. You can smell it when you’re by the river and it’s disgusting.

  31. We took ALL of southern ontario , once-great fields of organically grown crops, away from the first people's …we literally paved paradise an' put up a parking lot.

  32. That PR guy from the oil company is a snake. Of course they SAY polluting the entire population is "unacceptable" but words don't fucking matter when you refuse to change your practices and refuse to acknowledge them.

  33. It's crazy how many of us in the United States are taught to think that Canada is this magical land where health care is amazing and everyone is happy and prosperous and the Native people are treated well. I'm Native American and I loved seeing the 2010 Vancouver Olympics put Canada's Native peoples forefront proudly. But then you start digging and you read about the Highway of tears where Native women are abducted and killed every year. You see this about chemical valley where they have no problem with poisoning native people and not saying anything about it. You read about how the RCMP botch investigations and burn evidence before the investigation is even over. You hear how the RCMP doesn't listen when they're warned about dangerous situations for people. You watch and read about how the health care system just does superficial things to help people and the only ones that are treated well with good health care are the white people. I'm not white bashing. Most people don't know I'm Native American because the color of my skin is white so, I get that being considered white opens doors for people moreso than people of color. Canada, the United States isn't very great but you aren't so great either. Listen to your people and stop poisoning them. Do better or you will be exposed more than you already are. You don't want to be known as being as scandalous as the US.

  34. We all know what causes cancer in all animals. We know how to create it. We know how to cure it. It's all big business now. The real question is who's property are you?

  35. those older people at that conference are going to be dead in 10-20 years and then we're left with their mess

  36. dean edwardson doesnt give no sh!ts. you can just tell by the look in his face and expressions. hes bought and paid for by the oil. This is sad. i knew that sounthern ontario is a crap whole which is why i dont go there. I do not like what is happening to the enviroment in this country and around the world.

  37. Hold up, I visited Sarnia for 3 weeks seeing family a couple of years ago, and this place is NOWHERE near as bad as the chemical towns in my country (Scotland). Check out Grangemouth (not far from where I stay). The cancer rates are alarming in this vid and the pollution of course. I would be interested if the producers came here and visited the industry towns in Scotland. Also the ex industrial or mining towns. Most folk here die of drug addiction and alcoholism long before long term health conditions kick in. ps I am shocked about how the first nations are being treated, there's no excuse and I'm not trying to belittle the issue

  38. Can't imagine living somewhere that toxic & not being able to escape. Just waiting for some horrific disease to strike you down. Smelling poison every day, seeing dead birds on the ground… Ought to put these CEOs & their kids on the toxic reservations they create since they think they're so great.

  39. In water: Mercury, Polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorinated compounds

    In air: petroleum products like BTEX,hexane and byproducts like hydrogen sulphide and mercaptans

  40. “It’s gonna cost too much..”

    If GoldCorp can afford to have strict safety rules and regulations in every single aspect of every job on the mine sites, a fucking multi-billion dollar company can afford to stop being lazy pricks and put the health of residents first…

  41. Shouting for clean water and air, but yet still supporting animal argiculture… Which is no better at all. Wake up sheeple

  42. We don’t talk about Canada enough. They don’t care about their native people.
    Fuck white Canada fuck white america

  43. This video is 6 years old. How is the situation nowadays?
    I might move their to complete my higher studies but now i am not so sure.

  44. The got a placard erected to how good they were at moving the white folks out & let the First Nations people stay put speaks volumes on Canada's prioritys

  45. once more i find it difficult to believe that Fascists and Nazis are gone, Literaly government are killing children at home and abroad all for the Money. can u guys stop voting plz i think it's time don't u think so

  46. Explaining to a kid that a cloud maker isn’t a cloud make is like explaining to a kid that Santa isn’t real. I love telling youngsters that factories are cloud makers.

    Just like chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

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