On Friday morning I attended the long awaited verdict of the Syncrude duck trial with high hopes and low expectations. After a two-and-a-half-month trial, Syncrude was found guilty of the criminal charges in connection with the deaths of 1,606 ducks in one of its mining tailings ponds in April 2008.
Syncrude was found guilty and is now awaiting charges under the Alberta Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the Federal Migratory Birds Convention Act with failing to undertake due diligence to ensure its toxic tailings do not cause harm to migratory birds.
While the verdict found Syncrude guilty in this case it fails to address concerns of impacted Indigenous communities, including unacceptable contamination of the Athabasca river system, lack of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and broken treaty rights. This verdict is merely a slap on the wrist for a corporation like Syncrude. Operators still have license to continue their toxic contamination of the area. My peoples’ treaty rights are being trampled everyday and too many Indigenous communities and the land we rely on are becoming the sacrificial lambs to this continents energy demands. We need real results, real change and real respect to move forward in a world that is safe and secure for generations to come.
For more information, check out this article in the Edmonton Sun.