Syncrude finally being “Sentenced”

ST. ALBERT — A provincial court judge will sentence Syncrude Canada Friday on federal and provincial charges stemming from the deaths of more than 1,600 ducks on its Aurora Tailings pond two years ago.

After a great many months, Syncrude is finally going to be sentenced.

Federal Crown lawyer Kent Brown said he didn’t intend to seek a jail sentence for company executives, but he suggested after Syncrude’s June 25 conviction that he could ask for the maximum fine for each one of the more than 1,600 birds that perished.

But provincial Crown prosecutor Susan McRory told the court following the conviction that the Alberta government would seek a creative sentencing alternative that might involve Syncrude funding a rehabilitation or conservation program or research, rather than paying a fine.

What is this mean. Why a creative sentencing alternative ? Certainly the money coming from the fine could be used to fund these things. It is a public relations ploy. Instead of Syncrude just paying a fine, they could be seen and being a reformed – hero company – as they would be “supporting” the Environment.

Syncrude failed to take some basic precautions, to prevent the ducks from landing while other companies seemed to be able to toke this radical step. Also, the only reason why this incident was reported was because of an anonymous call blog.

Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert was slammed by opposition parties for downplaying the significance of the verdict during a visit to the Middle East in July.
“This particular case has been highly over-publicized by the media and special-interest groups,” Liepert said in Doha, Qatar. “We’ve got bigger issues to deal with globally.”
Premier Ed Stelmach called the remarks “unfortunate” and said Liepert was not speaking for his government.

I think the comments were actually quite fortunate. I strongly suspect that this is what the conservative government in Alberta actually thinks.

The government only has to play the public relations game and appear to be concerned. Greenpeace spokesman Mike Hudema said that the erosion of funding for Robert environment inspection services since 2003 while the department has increased populations project.


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