Full shale gas health report to be released by CBC News, October 4, 2012
The full shale gas health report written by the province’s chief medical officer of health will be made public on Oct. 15, Environment Minister Bruce Fitch announced on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the Alward government would not commit to releasing the report by Dr. Eilish Cleary on the potential health impacts of the shale gas industry. Then on Wednesday, Fitch had said that parts of Cleary’s would eventually be released, but he couldn’t say how much or when. But Fitch committed to releasing the whole report during a hastily arranged press conference on Thursday afternoon. Fitch said there are elements of Cleary’s report he disagrees with, but he’s willing to have that discussion publicly. He said some of the health concerns she cites are out of date due to new technology and some of her recommendations go beyond health, dealing with areas such as royalties. … A former public health official in Alberta, who was fired for political reasons, contends New Brunswickers have a right to see the report. Dr. David Swann, who is now a Liberal MLA, says public health officers must be completely free of political influence. The Alward government’s previous refusal to release Cleary’s report didn’t live up to that principle, he said. “Vested interests, political interests, economic interests — short-term thinking interfering with and blocking the development of good healthy public policy,” said Swann.
Ten years ago, Swann was removed from his job as the public health officer for a regional health authority in Alberta when he publicly supported the Kyoto treaty. After a public outcry, he was offered his job back. He sees parallels between his own case and that of Cleary, he said. [Emphasis added]