Alberta Canada 3 of 3 - Toxic - VICE

Uploaded by vice on Oct 26, 2011


EDDY MORETTI: No, I'm not smoking crack.
No, they're not smoking crack.
I don't think they're smoking crack.
from Anzac.
I come around here.
Um, my mom stays in here.
EDDY MORETTI: Is it okay that we film you guys?
LLOYD LEONARD CAMPBELL: You sure the hell can.
Because if somebody doesn't say nothing, how does people
understand how the homeless live.
You are the first ones that ever come and got
a report from here.
And we've been here for many years, but nobody--
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): We had no problems.
LLOYD LEONARD CAMPBELL: --seems to care about us.
And yous guys are the first ones that seem to want to know
how we live.
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): OK, you will light that--
don't burn him.
MALE SPEAKER 1: No, I'm not going to burn him.
EDDY MORETTI: That was hot, though.
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): Don't burn him, no.
I burned my beard, didn't I?
MALE SPEAKER 1: No, you didn't, because I have a lot
of respect for you.
MALE SPEAKER: I wouldn't let that happen to you.
NOREEN: Mom, there she is.
Are you cold?
MALE SPEAKER 1: That's an elderly lady sleeping--
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): It's a big mess.
MALE SPEAKER 1: --in the wintertime without a home.
I'm so weak, I just want to lay down.
Yeah sure, we'll get you something to eat.
What would you like to eat?
NOREEN'S MOM: Anything.
I was never fussy.
EDDY MORETTI: You were not fussy, right.
MALE SPEAKER 1: She hasn't ate for 24 hours.
We talk about equally--
like, equally in humane society--
MALE SPEAKER 1: But look where we're at.
EDDY MORETTI: Did you ever work on the oil--
for the oil companies?
How was that?
MALE SPEAKER 1: Could I be able to say, like,
there's a lot of--
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): I have worked.
MALE SPEAKER 1: I didn't want to use those words, but--
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): I worked at--
A lot of racism.
EDDY MORETTI: Like white people don't--
MALE SPEAKER 1: --recognize us, because--
like, I got fired from a job, where five guys I
trained got me fired.
And I trained them how to push dirt.
EDDY MORETTI: When was it better?
Was it better before?
MALE SPEAKER 1: Oh, boy.
FEMALE SPEAKER: Mostly trapping.
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): Mostly trapping?
MALE SPEAKER 1: Fishing.
FEMALE SPEAKER 1: But you can't eat it no more.
EDDY MORETTI: Why can't you eat the fish no more?
MALE SPEAKER 1: Because--
FEMALE SPEAKER 1: Because it's polluted.
MALE SPEAKER 1: It's chemicals.
MALE SPEAKER 1: They sink in [INAUDIBLE] and--
EDDY MORETTI: Do they look--
FEMALE SPEAKER 1: They're all polluted.
EDDY MORETTI: --funny, the fish now?
Do they look different?
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): No, I don't know.
MALE SPEAKER 1: Yeah, they do.
They have some-- they have some--
EDDY MORETTI: --markings on them?
MALE SPEAKER 1: You could tell.
EDDY MORETTI: You could tell they're not--
MALE SPEAKER 1: You could tell the difference.
Like, we don't have to be educated to tell the
difference, OK?
this water, it's polluted.
You go and get fish, we don't know if we can eat that.
Because the oil company's down at the other end, and all that
waste is going into the water.
We've seen it.
And I respect your company for coming
down here and checking--
NOREEN'S MOM: I thank you so much for supper.
live and what we do.
SPEAKER (OFFSCREEN): Come by the fire.
MALE SPEAKER 1: This is Happy New Year's.
Happy New Year, right here.
EDDY MORETTI: It's Happy New Year by the river.
MALE SPEAKER 1: Yeah, this is New Year's by the river.
EDDY MORETTI: It's a barbecue party,
although it's fried chicken.
It's a fried chicken party.
NOREEN'S MOM: Thank you so much.
How could I--
I appreciate my--
EDDY MORETTI: Just shake my hand.
NOREEN'S MOM: Could I make moccasins?
EDDY MORETTI: 8 1/2, 9.
NOREEN'S MOM: 8 and 1/2, OK.
NOREEN'S MOM: Where do you want me putting them?
EDDY MORETTI: I don't know.
I'll have to come back to get them, or you can--
NOREEN'S MOM: I've got deer hide.
NOREEN'S MOM: And I do a lot--
my daughter helps me do that.
EDDY MORETTI: Deer hide moccasins.
Yeah, I'd love a pair.
NOREEN'S MOM: And you, too?
EDDY MORETTI: She'd love--
FEMALE SPEAKER 2: I would love some moccasins.

FEMALE SPEAKER 2: Get stuck in the snow.
EDDY MORETTI: So Lou, you helped us out of the snow, and
now you're giving us a tour of the town.
LOU: This is, uh yeah, the rush hour.
EDDY MORETTI: Rush hour traffic Thursday night.
LOU: Thursday night.
EDDY MORETTI: Holy fucking shit, it's pickup after pickup
after truck.
LOU: Yeah.
EDDY MORETTI: Do you think this boom is going to last a
long time, or do you think it's gonna--
LOU: Who knows?
Last time they said it was supposed to last a long time,
and then all of the sudden, it just died.
EDDY MORETTI: What if 50% of the people left, suddenly?
You'd have all these empty apartments,
and rent would be--
LOU: That happened before.
LOU: Oh, yeah.
EDDY MORETTI: Homes for--
LOU: People did throw their keys on the
table and walk away.
LOU: Oh yeah, that happened before.
There's nothing up here.
If you want to see a doctor, you might as well fly back
home and go and see a doctor.
EDDY MORETTI: It's true, though, there are a lot of
people here for only six doctors.
It's a bit insane.
LOU: Yeah.
EDDY MORETTI: But you're not going to move or anything?
LOU: No, I wouldn't move.
EDDY MORETTI: You're staying here.
LOU: It's home.
EDDY MORETTI: It's home.
LOU: Once you're here, where else can you go?
It's an oil town, and it's always gonna be.
EDDY MORETTI: This used to be called the "Bridge to
Nowhere," because in the '80s they just stopped building it
when the bust happened.
This place has gone through two or three
boom and bust cycles.
LOU: That was our last project.
EDDY MORETTI: And this thing flows up to--
LOU: Fort Chip.
EDDY MORETTI: --Fort Chip.
LOU: Right around the corner, right over here, that's Steep
Bank River, right over there.
Well it's not a very good river to be riding sleds on,
that's for sure.
EDDY MORETTI: Do you eat the fish out of this river?
LOU: No, not now.
LOU: Years ago, yeah, but not no more.
EDDY MORETTI: We're in the middle of nowhere, and you
can't eat the fish.
OK, let's go look at this close and read this thing,
"the first thing you notice about the wood bison is its
majestic appearance, and rightly so." What
they've done is--
this is reclaimed land.
So, and this is, like, they've made it into a park.
It's called Wood Bison Park, I think, and they're
very proud of it.
And they put a herd of bison back in.
There's a few over here.
The most interesting thing about this park is if you look
over there, that's Suncor spewing out pollution.
LOU: And this stuff, here, it's not snow.
That's what they call, "sinkered snow."
EDDY MORETTI: What's sinkered snow?
LOU: Basically it's humidity from what
you see, right there.
LOU: It creates its own weather, so it
creates its own snow.
EDDY MORETTI: This plant produces its own weather.
This is fake snow.
This is condensation from all of that polluted
steam that's rising.
And if you look at it, it just looks weird.
It doesn't look like proper snow.
It's all freaky.
It's polluted--
it's pollution.
It's fake snow.
EDDY MORETTI: I can't feel my fingers.
FEMALE SPEAKER 2: Me neither, me neither.
GEORGE POITRAS: We don't disagree with development.
We don't disagree that energy is required
throughout the world.
We disagree when the President of the United States, though,
suggests, at any expense, that his solution to the United
States' energy crisis should come from the oil sands versus
Saudi Arabia, now.
Because like anywhere, we will, still, be the
inhabitants of the land once the
resources have been exploited.
EDDY MORETTI: So this is it--
Fort Chip--
EDDY MORETTI: Fort Chipewyan, oldest settled community in
Alberta, 1788.
They came up over the northern part of Canada, and--
EDDY MORETTI: --settled here.
Anthropologists trace these communities back 12,000 years?
GEORGE POITRAS: About 12,000 years, yeah.
PAT MARCEL: If we could survive, you know, almost on a
daily basis, we didn't destroy anything--
we've been here 10,000 years, and look
for the Indian footprint.
You won't see it.
I never said I was against development, but it's got to
be sustainable development.
Everything has to fit in a certain way
to make things work.
If you throw something out of balance, something's out of
kilter, right away.
Things go wrong.
We've got cancer rates.
We've got arsenic in moose.
That's only the start.
That's only in 60 years.
Everybody will dispute that.
Each level of government that comes here will dispute that.
But we know.
We're the people who are dying.
We should know who's dying, here, and of what.
If I'm put in a corner, you know,
I'm going to do something.
And that's what I started to feel like, you know, like I'm
being pushed.
SIMON DYER: There are five First Nations in the Fort
McMurray area.
Two of the most impacted by oil sands development are the
Mikisew Cree First Nation and the Athabasca Chipewyan First
Nation, who live downstream of Fort McMurray in the community
of Fort Chipewyan.
And they obviously have been a lot of concerns about use of
the Athabasca River-- still being able to fish, still
being able to eat the fish, still being able to get out on
the land and trap and pass on their traditions.
Fort McKay First Nation, which is, actually, right in the oil
sands area-- they, actually, have, obviously, oil sands on
the reserve lands, and they're, actually, developing
a portion of those in partnership with Shell
LINDSAY TELFER: You know, it's kind of-- they got the raw end
of the stick.
They're, sort of, screwed both ways.
So why not get some money.
Right, like--
EDDY MORETTI: That's short thinking.
You shouldn't be thinking like that.
LINDSAY TELFER: I, totally, agree.
I'm not-- you know-- but I try to understand where they're
coming from.
Their community is surrounded by these mines.
Their land is just being taken away.
And I think that they're starting to realize, as well,
that they're getting a bit of a raw end of the stick.
The Treaty 8 First Nations have just called for a class
environmental social impact assessment in the region.
EDDY MORETTI: Hasn't there been one already?
The mercury levels in moose meat have skyrocketed.
And so now they're at-- can we eat moose anymore.
Can they-- you know, caribou have been
pushed out of the region.
And so they're not there.
And so the subsistence lifestyle of many of the
northern First Nations is rapidly disappearing.
If you want to destroy a culture, then all you need to
do is lock up their food.
And that's what she sees these processes as doing-- is
locking up their food to force them into buying into what
they see as the "white man world."
EDDY MORETTI: We were up in Fort Chipewyan the other day.
We flew up there, and we were talking to the chief there.
What's the water quality like there?
Are you concerned at all about contamination in the water.
I mean--
MELISSA BLAKE: We test water quality, so I would suggest
that the testing that's done is probably giving assurances
to residents that whatever you drink is appropriate.
EDDY MORETTI: If you knew that people wouldn't drink the
water from the rivers, would that be enough for you to--
MELISSA BLAKE: I still won't.
MELISSA BLAKE: I put it through a filtering system.
MELISSA BLAKE: That's what gives me my assurance that
when it comes out of my tap, I can drink it.
So nobody is going to go back to the belief that they could
ever take water from a stream, probably, and--
EDDY MORETTI: Which was shocking to me, because I'm
living in New York for about a decade, and I thought this far
north, we're eating snow and drinking from the river.
MELISSA BLAKE: Why would anybody anywhere?
EDDY MORETTI: Returning to the land as some kind of idyllic
idea is, probably--
those days are gone, right?
MELISSA BLAKE: I wouldn't know.

PAT MARCEL: Yeah, and it has been a concern
for a good many years.
They just dumped all the dioxins and [INAUDIBLE]
directly into the Athabasca.
And people are wondering how come we're getting sick, here,
and dying of rare cancers.
But they dump 4,000 other chemicals
every day in the Athabasca.
GEORGE POITRAS: Even 20 years ago, you could go in the
river, which a lot of our people do for cultural and
other reasons.
They were able to scoop water from the river and drink it
without any concern about contaminants in the water.
Today, nobody would drink the water.
You couldn't.
GEORGE POITRAS: Nobody would drink the water.
SIMON DYER: If we just look at the mining perspective, all
these oil sands mines are either side of
the Athabasca River.
So oil sands companies, oil sands mines, basically,
extract water directly from the Athabasca River.
The typical oil sands mine takes between 2 and 1/2 and 4
barrels of water to extract one barrel of bitumen.
Because the process, of course, pollutes that water so
much, it's, largely, not, actually, returned to the
Athabasca River.
The vast majority of it gets dumped into
these tailings ponds.
So these are, basically, oily lagoons full of waste water
and suspended hydrocarbons.
The working hypothesis is that, you know, the portion of
that tailings is thickened, and incorporated into the
terrestrial reclaimed landscape.
LINDSAY TELFER: We're starting to get more information on the
health effects.
I mean, the thing with health effects is that it's long
term, right.
They often come after too much development, and so what we're
seeing, now, are some very clear signs that there are
downstream health effects.
EDDY MORETTI: Who's being affected?
LINDSAY TELFER: The First Nations communities.
PAT MARCEL: This is a huge experiment, and
I warned the companies.
I said, "what looks bad in eastern Canada, might look
even worse here." Because you're not only going to kill
the river, you're going to kill First Nations.
This thing's out of control--
produce, produce, produce, you know.
And that's where we're going.
Why the mad rush to take all this oil out?
Take your time.
Develop safely.
Make sure it's sustainable.
Instead of taking it all out in 40 years,
make it last 200 years.
So it doesn't stop, because man is greedy.
Man can have a handful of money, more than what he needs
to survive, but he'll still want more.

SIMON DYER: We need to communicate what's going on in
the oil sands.
We need to ensure that this gets better,
rapidly better, quickly.
We need to ensure there is a moratorium
until we improve that.
And we need to use this as a stepping
stone to change things.
America, of course, uses more than 20 million
barrels of oil a day.
LINDSAY TELFER: Obviously there's been no plan.
That's why it spiraled out of control.
Our communities have spiraled out of control.
Development spiraled out of control.
PAT MARCEL: I never said I was against development, but it's
got to be sustainable development.
So at this fast pace--
you know, development right now--
we are losing our youth.
ANTHONY: It's absolutely crazy.
The infrastructure's not meant for this.
RALPH KLEIN: At some point, they will
say enough is enough.
We've reached our limits.
There is no room to move.
LINDSAY TELFER: The growing emissions of the oil sands are
enough to prevent Canada, single-handedly, from meeting
our Kyoto commitments.
The reality is Canada signed and ratified Kyoto.
LINDSAY TELFER: It's international law.
Whether we like it or not, we have an obligation to meet it.
The conservative governments have been backtracking and
backtracking, trying to figure out a way to get us out of it.
Basically, they said it's impossible.
They won't do it.
It will trash our economy, none of which is true.
We can do it.
It won't trash our economy.
Suncor, one of the biggest oil sands operators, came out just
this week and said, "eh, it won't trash our economy."
RALPH KLEIN: These oil companies know--
RALPH KLEIN: --that they are going to have to curtail their
emissions of greenhouse gases.
EDDY MORETTI: And eventually start bringing them down.
RALPH KLEIN: By the year 2020.
RALPH KLEIN: OK it's a longer period of time.
It's not 2010 as the Kyoto protocol--
EDDY MORETTI: --demands or dictates.
RALPH KLEIN: --dictates.
RALPH KLEIN: It's a longer period of time, but it is
SIMON DYER: Canada could meet its Kyoto commitments by using
a combination of regulations and incentives
to make this happen.
SIMON DYER: For the cost of a couple of dollars on the cost
of a barrel of oil, companies could be completely carbon
neutral-- that's have a net zero greenhouse gas emission
footprint-- because you know, it's most efficient when you
have large point sources.
And that's what the oil sands are.
So we have solutions out there, but we're choosing not
to use them.
LINDSAY TELFER: Alberta, southern Alberta has the
strongest possibility for solar and wind in Canada.
Yet we don't have-- we don't put any money towards it.
And in fact, we capped our wind energy production at 900
LINDSAY TELFER: --so we couldn't build anymore.
EDDY MORETTI: Brilliant.
LINDSAY TELFER: So I mean, we need to be creating that
environment for innovation within the province.
And I think people want to see us going there.
I don't think that they want to see us putting all our eggs
in the oil sands basket.
The community is saying, "no more." And if the government
doesn't respond, then there's going to be--
I think that there's going to be some uprising.
And my question to the Alberta government has always been, do
we really want to be the final frontier of a dying resource.
Or do we, actually, want to be the innovators
of something new.
And I think that we've got the innovation and the technical
ability and the know-how in this province to, actually, be
leaders of a new energy frontier.