#139 – Canadian Storytime, Part Six: Chemical Valley

When you think about chemicals causing damage to children, what sort of places are you thinking about? Chernobyl, perhaps? Or those tragic pictures of Central Asian children playing in and among industrial waste? Well, here’s a new one – this is the story of Aamjiwnaang, Ontario, the front-line sufferers from nearby Sarnia’s Chemical Valley who have to crowdfund their water and soil testing because the Ontario government can’t be arsed to consider that maybe something is wrong with a group of people having one of the highest gender imbalances on Earth. 40% of the women there report miscarriages and stillbirths, a staggering figure. The massive, 100-block sized petrochemical facility provides something on the order of 40% of Canada’s finalized petrol products and produces more air pollution than Manitoba and Saskatchewan. And nestled in the middle of the asscrack of consumer society is…surprise! Indians!

Oh, and don’t you worry – there has never been a federal or provincial evaluation of the matter even though the 2:1 ratio of baby girls to baby boys is most commonly seen in badly-toxified animal populations and has no human equivalent. Yes, folks – Canada out-Soviet’d the Soviet Union with hideous pollution. And then they used the Indian Act’s fell pressures to make people live in the middle of the source and experience exciting events like that time a Shell plant farted out some hydrogen sulfide, which wound up at the reserve day-care. Shockingly, exposing young children to what was once a chemical weapon resulted in horrible pain and illness that was misdiagnosed and thus mistreated because Shell refused to acknowledge that the weird eggy smell was them.

Let’s get something straight here. Gassing people you claim as your own citizens is generally frowned upon. Can you really call the Chippewa and others here citizens when they live under a constant state of siege which in turn comes from the very government claiming them as citizens? That question is more than another example of Canada’s bad faith; if some tribe in Awfuckistan got on Al-Jazeera or whatever and said that the state is encouraging de facto gas attacks on our people I would suspect plenty of rage. This is the stuff cakers go insane about when America (sorry, AmeriKKKa) literally destroys a Palestine or whatever it is the nu-left is claiming. And it’s happening here. And the fucking cakers can’t be arsed to provide actual testing to the point where the population has to beg for money online.

Chemical Valley was placed where it was because the city of Sarnia would have been gassed out of existence otherwise – think My Little Bhopal. Heaven forbid the settlers be in any danger! Well, except for the dangers that come with living in the most polluted city in Canada, but suburbs for settlers grow wherever Canada commands they sprout. Obviously, this place is worth putting on the currency (it once befouled the $10 bill) and then totally ignoring save for the “well then don’t use oil LOL” comments that invariably come from these sorts of commentaries. Oh, and the Indians do have work here – they’re the ones who tell the government that there’s a leak, not the businesses who actually run the plants. Apparently, demanding businesses not recreate World War One over the Great Lakes is too much to ask of Canada’s brilliant business classes.

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#104 – Canadian Storytime, Part Four: Mount Polley

English Canada has forgotten about fuckery that happened even in 2014.

One of the more pervasive and pernicious problems of the primary resource extraction industry is the need to handle pollutants. In the case of mining, this often takes the form of what is euphemistically referred to as a “tailings pond” and what is in fact a lake full of horrible deathly chemicals being stored in the open air because fuck you if you don’t like it you hate Canada. The effects of these hell-lakes on wildlife is astonishing for how brutal and heartrending it can be – imagine the death sequences in the Last of Us, but for fish and birds.

But that’s not what Canadian Storytime is about, now is it? Let’s go back a step – Canadian companies are asked to hold their horrific cancer-slurry in a death-pond. The problem with this is containment. It’s not too far a step to go from nasty cancer water inside the pond to nasty cancer water outside of the pond. To make matters worse, putting the same water into a place that it once left is practically impossible, meaning that it is absolutely imperative that this stuff stay inside the tailings pond. Water in this case is extra un-Canadian because it flows *gasp* into the United States. So what happens when Canadian businesses design and create a dam to prevent this from happening?

The cleanest deep-water lake in the world, a place called Quesnel Lake, happened to be next to the tailings pond. This dam was built with failing sensors and on a crumbling foundation. The government of British Columbia didn’t bother with inspections that year, headed by a party which happened to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from the company behind the failure. Company head and degenerate failure Brian Kynoch said in 2014 that the water in the pond was “almost potable”, which came as news to the salmon fishery, which was partly closed because of the leak. The government of British Columbia won’t show dam inspection reports any more. In fact, British Columbia refused to even call it a disaster until several months later.

So what happens in Canada when a crooked, politically-connected mining company makes a sloppy mistake, causing massive environmental damage that won’t even be fully understood for decades? And what happens to the government run by the potentially-crooked party that mysteriously closes the books, refuses to comment, and cut funding for inspections? Surely Canada demanded someth-oh. It was a Liberal government behind this? And the guy who owns the Calgary Flames contract hockeymans team?

Canadian heroes, ladies and gentlemen! Aren’t you glad those KKKonservatives weren’t around to ruin the environment? Imagine how much worse this could have been if the Liberal Party and the business-hockeymans team owner hadn’t been there to magic-wand the problem away. Of course there’s no information – the only people affected physically are Indians, and who cares about them? They don’t even own a contract hockeymans team!

#69 – Canadian Storytime, Part Three: The Therac-25

English Canada has forgotten about one of the most horrific accidents in the history of software engineering despite the minor detail that one of its companies created said accident.

It created said accident in the usual way Canada produces anything – laziness begetting complete fuck-up. The Therac-25 series, a radiation therapy machine created by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), had the unfortunate side-effect of irradiating patients because nobody bothered to look at the software that was running the machine after removing the interlock system. This produced a mildly-undesirable effect colloquially referred to as microwaving cancer patients like one would a fucking hot-dog and medically referred to as “holy shit fucking stop!”

Given that microwaving your patients is discouraged even in the cacophony of idiocy that is Canada and certainly in the modestly-more aware United States, the incident proved to be a bit of a disaster. Being a Crown Corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada proudly and boldly leapt to the rescue after the second case of radioactive funtimes by guessing at the problem (they couldn’t replicate the scrotum-zapping majesty of the Therac-25 in the lab) and declaring the machine to be safer “by at least five orders of magnitude”, a zesty claim in the context of not being able to recreate the issue in the first place. Oh, and denying that the machine could pump an overdose into a patient.

The AECL knew that Canadian products were perfect and amazing and thus didn’t bother having any ability to follow-up on the first case of nukery. The first patient was injured in June of 1985; a 61-year old woman who unknowingly put her faith in the hands of Canada (never a good idea) claimed that she could feel the radiation burning her as she was zapped. The technician behind this particular incident of human cookery accidentally fired 20,000 rads of Canadian therapy where 200 is the norm – clearly, the machine could never do that despite the patient being obviously burned and eventually losing control of her arm. This issue was dropped by the AECL until it became obvious even in Canada that the Therac-25 was a menace.

Shockingly and incredibly enough, the guesswork changes to the Junk-Jammer 9000 after the second incident of nuclear bukkake failed to amuse those who discovered that the Canadian government’s business was unable to follow even the basics required by the Canadian Radiation-Emitting Devices Act. This law was passed in 1971; the Therac-25 menaced North American genitals starting in 1985. But Gordon Symonds and his recommendations from the Canadian Radiation Protection Bureau were ignored save for a single fix.

Then the AECL pulled a full Canada by lying through its fucking teeth. A lawsuit filed from the first patient had been filed in October of 1985 listed the AECL as a defendant, mostly because of the whole massive dose of radiation thing. After a dude got nad-nuked in Yakima, Washington, the clinic there wrote to the AECL to say that their latest error could be a radiation problem. The AECL said that an overdose was impossible and that they had never had a problem before.

Yeah. The first and second patients weren’t damaged by bad equipment! They just didn’t want to be cured enough!

#51 – Canadian Storytime, Part Two: Glassy Narrows, Rotten Soul

The Grassy Meadows disgrace features all of those hallmarks that we so love when talking caker stories. We’ve got the hideous exponents of caker business practices. There are Indigenous people left to rot as a result of critical failings of imperial governance. There are ludicrous falsification gymnastics as the cakers in charge of Ontario continue to obfuscate and hide from the fact that caker business has once again utterly shit the bed. And of course comes with that “awful ever after” ending that caps off any good caker story. For four decades now, the province of Ontario has known about the dangers of mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows – and done precisely dick all about it. Valiantly passing the buck and ignoring the very real, very disturbing effects of mercury poisoning done by Soviet-style dumping practices, the spectacular failure of the peoples of Grassy Narrows is certainly worth its place in the pantheon of caker malice.

Asubpeeschoseewagong is a community of Ojibwe people inhabiting lands in Northwestern Ontario, near the subhuman storage containment “community” of Dryden. Wabasemoong, which I immediately loved because they call themselves “independent nations”, is also in Northwestern Ontario near to the Manitoba border. Both had the misfortune of having to deal with cakers, particularly the caker businessmen who ran the Dryden Chemical Company and the Dryden Pulp and Paper Company. Because fuck caring about the environment and because especially fuck foresight, the Dryden branch of Caker Business, Inc. dumped mercury-laden waste products directly into the Wasbigoon-English River. Not only that, workers at sites in the area recall dumping barrels of mercury in plastic-lined pits. And not even government orders to stop Dryden Chemical from dumping shit into the river stopped Dryden Chemical from dumping shit into the river until 1976, when they went the way of all caker businesses and folded like a cheap lawn chair.

(S) Totally worth nuking a river for!

In and of itself, this is a Soviet mess worthy of a post. But what makes this a True Canadian Story is the horrific human cost of this nonsense. And as usual, the worst victimization is left to the Indigenous. Enter Minamata Disease, a lovely condition caused by organic mercury contamination. Among the amazing side-effects include polydactyly, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and neurological defects, because it’s just not Canada without some birth defects and brain damage! Oh, and the fish from the river aren’t edible, which is a problem given that food is fucking expensive and the local economy was based on sport fishing and is now defunct. Oh, and did I mention that there still isn’t a local treatment center for the effects of Minamata Disease at Grassy Narrows? Because there isn’t! It’s okay though – only 90% of the population suffers from Minamata.

But don’t you worry, my friends! This gets even worse! Somehow! See, here’s the thing – we’re going to start the story of government intervention (or lack thereof) in this shit shortly after Ontario “demanded” that Dryden’s toxic plants stop dumping slag into a fucking river. In order to save caker business in 1979, the Ontario government agreed to take on the costs of monitoring the toxic waste site. After letting caker business off the hook Ontario immediately led the charge against Soviet-style industrial practices by doing jackshit all for decades! As late as 2015 the Ontario Liberal Party refused to commit to cleaning up the goddamn mess. Prince Selfie also waded into the fray, doing his level best to fulfill his promises to Indigenous peoples by immediately passing the buck back to the Ontario government, which promptly leapt into action by ignoring an existing report on the matter for another year. Just for shits and giggles! It’s not like this is fixabl…oh. It is? And we’ve had to tell this to Queen’s Park more than once?

Fuck me, this country is a sluggish pile of donkey dicks slathered in PVA shit-glue.