Sunday, August 28, 2016

2 epileptics from Edmonton charged after violent acts during seizures

Two men who were violent while suffering from epileptic fits have been arrested in Edmonton and charged with criminal offenses.

The arrests raise questions about whether people should be responsible for acts when suffering epileptic attacks that may make it impossible for them to control their actions. It also raises questions about police reactions in such situations.
In one case Neil Ryley said that his family called 9/11 asking for an ambulance when he became violent during a seizure. However, instead several officers arrived alone and he claims they beat him. A police spokesperson, who did not say anything about the alleged beating, claimed that Ryley head-butted an officer breaking his nose. The spokesperson said the other arrest was of a man who was said to be running naked near a school during or shortly after a seizure. The man was tasered and then arrested.
More details are given about the Ryley case in a CBC article. Ryley's partner and ex-wife Tracey Schimpf said she called 911 for an ambulance three times. She also recommended that the paramedics bring officers as well to help them restrain Ryley to bring him to the stretcher. After ninety minutes from the first call, she said that two police officers arrived without an ambulance. The officers went into a bedroom where Ryley was. They had difficulties with Ryley and called for backup. Schimpf said she saw at least six more officers enter the bedroom. She says she heard more struggling and banging. Ryley himself has no memory of what happened but did take photos of bruises on his hips, legs, arms, face and stomach.
There are about 300,000 people in Canada who suffer from epilepsy.
According to the Edmonton Epilepsy Association there are 44 types of epileptic seizure. While a few are 'absence' seizures in which the person seems to be awake but just has a blank stare, many others involve convulsive movements, and hallucinations. People are often disoriented and defensive, and lash out.
A national survey of 671 Canadians with epilepsy in 2011 found that more than half reported that their biggest challenge was a lack of independence in their daily life. Only four percent said their medication left them completely free. A Wikipedia article claims that 70 percent of seizures can be treated successfully through medication.
Retired specialist Dr. Elout Starreveld said: "Police officers should put a little more thought into the case before they start acting physically. They tend to overreact." He said that he had seen those with seizures often act belligerently and push people away. but he said usually you can calm them down and use minimal restraint. A First Aid booklet from Epilepsy Ontario warns not to restrain someone who is experiencing a full or partial seizure. Edmonton police chief told media that the officers who responded to the two cases may not have known that the men were having epileptic seizures. If what Ryley says is true, in his case they should have been informed through the content of the 9/11 call. Ryley's partner Tracey Shimpf said she told the 9/11 dispatcher that she needed medical help and asked for an ambulance. She also said she heard Ryley tell officers when they arrived that he had epileptic seizures. The Edmonton Police Association supported the officers saying that police officers could not be expected to diagnose everyone who has a medical condition.
Liza Silver a law professor at the University of Calgary said that it is doubtful that the charges will stick simply because of the nature of epilepsy. While the epileptic may have performed a prohibited act the intent to commit the act is arguably not present. She said: "In a case of someone who has epilepsy it can be argued that they don't even have the voluntariness that is required for the prohibited act part of an offence. They don't have any control over the conduct. Therefore they really didn't make a choice to commit this offence." If someone cannot control their conduct then they should not be responsible for it, she argued.
The Edmonton Epilepsy Association is calling for better police training as to how to deal with people suffering seizures.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Canadian terrorist killed in back of taxi

Aaron Driver, 24, was shot and killed in the back of a taxi where he had detonated an explosive device.  Ralph Goodale, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said that Canada needed to step up its counter-radicalization effects. Driver was found to have made a "martyrdom video" in which he said he was planning to launch an attack on an urban center during the morning or afternoon rush hour. 

Driver was well known to authorities and was under a peace bond for communicating with what the RCMP said were well-known Islamic State supporter in the UK and US. Goodale said: The government of Canada has to get far more proactive on the whole issue of outreach, community engagement, counter-radicalization, determining how and in what means the right positive constructive influences can be brought to bear to change what otherwise would be dangerous behaviour." 

However, the threat level for terrorism in Canada still remains at "medium" where it has remained since the autumn of 2014.

As with the ousted Conservatives, Goodale is making political points with respect to government actions against the terrorist threat noting that the government spent a half billion or so in the recent budget for police, national security, and border controls saying: "We've made our first investments in that direction and there will be more to follow." The FBI had come into possession of the martyr video and had tipped of the RCMP who identified Driver as the person in the video before noon.

When Driver called a cab and left his residence in Strathroy later in the afternoon. The RCMP surrounded the cab and "engaged with the suspect who detonated an explosive device in the back of the cab". It is not certain that Driver was killed in the explosion or subsequent shots by police. The cab driver was apparently injured but was at home rather than the hospital.

The US embassy in Ottawa stressed the incident as showing excellent cross-border co-operation between the two countries. Driver's father said he converted to Islam as a teen. He appears to have been radicalized in part on line. He was arrested in June of 2015 and was released on bail and had to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet or undergo religious counselling. 

Under the peace bond this was not required. Goodale said that there were no planned changes to the former Conservative Bill C-51 based on the Strathroy events. 

Liberals had criticized the bill but then voted in favor of it. They have made no changes in it since they took power. With this recent incident any changes will probably add new provisions in spite of criticism of the bill by many human rights organizations.

Driver attended a mosque in London where members had tried to change his perspective, and had kept police informed of his presence. A statement from the mosque noted: "While he had wrong views about the world, at no time did any officials with the mosque know or suspect that Aaron was translating those views into any kind of attack. He did not display any outward signs of aggression."
The Middle East Eye also has an article on the incident.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

UN report claims Canadian company violated UN arms embargo on Libya

A report from a UN panel says that armoured vehicles from the Streit Group shipped armoured personnel carriers to Libya from its Mideast facilities several years ago, in violation of an international arms embargo.

The March 2016 report was drawn up by experts who are monitoring compliance with the UN security council arms embargo imposed back in 2011. The Streit Group is owned by Guerman Goutorov, a Canadian citizen, who resides in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Streit Manufacturing is located in Innisfil Ontario. The finding will no doubt spark further debate about Ottawa's policy with respect to arms shipments.
The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has been carrying on a policy of exporting arms that is similar to that of the former Stephen Harper Conservative government as a recent article in the CBC claims. The article points out that the Liberal government approved selling $11 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia: The document, signed by Foreign Affairs Minister St├ęphane Dion, is a gem of hair-splitting, parsing, wilful blindness and justification for selling billions worth of fighting vehicles and weaponry to Saudi Arabia, one of the most oppressive regimes on Earth.
In 2012 when the Streit shipment happened, such transfers of armoured personnel carriers to Libya required advance approval from the UN sanctions committee that oversaw the embargo. However, the UN was not even notified of the delivery before it happened. Dion's office left comment on the issue to the Department of Global Affairs. A spokesperson for that department, Amy Mills, said that Ottawa was in no way responsible for shipments between two foreign countries such as the UAE and Canada, even if there is a connection to Canada:“This is ‎an export exclusively from the United Arab Emirates to Libya, which is outside of Canada’s export-controls jurisdiction. There is no information to suggest otherwise.”
Nevertheless, Canadian diplomats in the UAE have been publicly supportive of Streit. Claudio Ramirez, who worked at the Canadian embassy in Abu Dhabi in 2015 announced on Twitter when the Streit Group expanded a UAE factory, that Arif Lalani Canadian ambassador to the UN spoke supportively of the "Canadian company" whose armoured vehicles he claimed once protected him.
Ken Epps, of Project Ploughshares, claimed that Canada was shirking its responsibilities with respect to the overseas defense operations of Canadians. He claimed that laws and regulations enacted by the Canadian government set penalties for Canadian citizens even outside Canada when UN arms embargoes are breached. The Canadian government is more interventionist when it comes to other business areas such as mining and energy operations. If ethics rules are violated the companies will be denied trade-promotion services.
The Streit company insists it did nothing wrong in that it had received export approval from the UAE. The company told the UN experts that it rejected any suggestion that the Streit Group knowingly or otherwise broke international law and pointed out the shipment was in complete accord with the UAE laws and regulations. The company had been warned about shipment of at least 79 Typhoon and Spartan patrol vehicles to Libya in 2014 but went ahead anyway. The shipments were "donations" brokered through one American company and three in the UAE.
The situation is complicated by relaxation of the regulations and even disagreement among the UN "experts" as to their application but the report noted:
“Continuous violations … are having a negative impact on the security situation in Libya and its political transition: better-equipped armed actors may be less inclined to agree to ceasefires or to accept the authority of the future government of national accord and its security arrangements.”
Streit has already been fined by the US government for exporting armoured vehicles without proper approvals: In September of 2015, the government agency responsible for enforcing American export controls announced it had imposed a $3.5-million fine on Streit Group affiliated companies and two corporate officers for completing at least nine unlicensed transfers, or sales, of U.S.-made armoured vehicles to foreign countries between 2008 and 2009. Of this penalty, $1.5 million was suspended.
The Streit Group was also criticized by the panel for the export of 173 Cougar and Typhoon armoured troop carriers to South Sudan in 2014. Alex Neve, of Amnesty International Canada said of some of the Streit shipments:"When we're talking about arms deals with countries like South Sudan and Libya, that raises very serious red flags. There is absolutely no question that a decision to sell arms, in the context of those two countries, contributed either directly or indirectly to the worsening human rights situation in both of those countries and simply should not have been something the company considered to do at all."

Green Party supports Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement against Israel

The Green Party of Canada is the first major federal party to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Party leader Elizabeth May is opposed to the resolution.

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After the vote at the Party's convention in Ottawa, May said she is going to reflect on her future role as leader of the Green Party. The Canadian House of Commons voted to support a Conservative motion to condemn the movement in February. Even though the Liberals have a majority in parliament, most Liberals including the leader Justin Trudeau supported the Conservative opposition motion. They could have easily defeated it. Although the New Democratic Party (NDP) supports Israel they opposed the motion as did May of the Green Party. Even though objecting to the motion, Mulcair is a strong supporter of Israel.
May, who represents the BC constituency of Saanich-Gulf Islands told a reporter from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC):'We had a very abbreviated debate and a very quick vote that left me breathless. I'm going away for the first week off I've had off since Christmas and I will be doing a lot of reflecting. It's only been since the convention that I've been wondering what's the best way to get this position reversed so that in the next election Green Party candidates across Canada are not facing a complete distraction of an issue."
May complained that she did not have time to explain her opposition to the BDS movement. She says the inclusion of the plank in the platform would result in a polarized campaign. She said the vote was quick and left her breathless because it had not been debated fully. She claimed the process was inadequate for a resolution that was so controversial. She also expressed disappointment at the outcome of the convention and Green Party support for an "extremely distressing" policy.
She said that the BDS movement is not the Green Party and does not represent the way she would want the party to express its concerns about the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank. May noted that some organizations such as the United Church support some aspects of BDS but she nevertheless considered the BDS a polarizing campaign that should not come from the Green Party. May said she would continue as MP for her constituency until the next Federal Election in 2019. However, she said: "If there's ever a place where I decide that being leader of the Green Party doesn't help me do the best job I can do for the constituents of Saanich-Gulf Islands then I know where my allegiance lies — and it's with Saanich-Gulf Islands." In a leadership review in April May received 93.6 percent support.
Dimitri Lascaris, the Justice spokesperson for the party, and sponsor of the resolution said that he hoped the motion would break down what he calls the taboo in Canada against discussion of the role of BDS in fighting for Palestinian rights. The BDS movement was started in 2005. It is supported by a number of organizations even some liberal Israeli groups. The African National Congress and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) are supporters. There is heated debate about the effectiveness of the BDS and whether it should be supported.
The Green Party resolution says that it will support using the BDS to target those sectors of the Israel economy that are profiting from the occupation, until Israel stops building settlements in the occupied territories and enters into negotiations with the Palestinians. The resolution also opposes efforts to prohibit or punish support for BDS. The February Conservative motion against the BDS supported by most Liberals described BDS as "anti-Israel" and "a form of discrimination". It also called upon the government to condemn any individuals or groups that promote BDS within Canada. The bill is condemned in the appended video by an NDP MP.
Although May opposed the BDS motion at the recent convention she said she understood the motivation of party members in bringing it forward and said she did not have to agree with 100 percent of party policies. Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs condemned the resolution saying the BDS movement "seeks to censor and blacklist Israelis" and "is fundamentally discriminatory and utterly at odds with Canadian values". Prior to the vote May had defended the party's right to debate the BDS resolution saying: “Our convention next weekend will be the first time in decades that any Canadian political party has permitted a discussion on Israel’s foreign policy. This is not a sign that we are anti-Israel. Rather, it is proof that we have faith in respectful democratic discourse and free speech. What has been sorely lacking in Canadian political discourse is an acceptance of the plight of the Palestinian people. Why is it taboo for Canadians to discuss foreign policy in the Middle East unless they omit certain aspects of Israeli policy? We can criticise any other country’s decisions respectfully and diplomatically, why not Israel’s?”

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Supreme Court judge in B.C. finds RCMP guilty of entrapment

John Nutall and Amanda Karady who were found guilty on terrorism charges in June of 2015 had the verdicts thrown out as a British Columbia Supreme Court Justice found that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were guilty of entrapment.

The couple thought that they were planting pressure-cooker bombs to kill and maim crowds gathered at the B.C. legislature on Canada Day three years ago. However, the plot was not their idea and police operatives convinced them that it was a better plan than those the couple suggested. The justice even called the terror plan a "police manufactured crime".
Justice Catherine Bruce did not mince words but claimed the RCMP used trickery, deceit, and even veiled threats to ensure that the couple tried to carry out the very terrorist acts of which they were found guilty. In her ruling, she even said:“The world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more. There is clearly a need to curtail the actions of police ... to ensure that future undercover investigations do not follow the same path.”
Bruce said that the RCMP, in a sting lasting months, knowingly exploited the couples' vulnerabilities to ensure they tried to carry out the offense planned by the RCMP themselves. She said the couple was marginalized, socially isolated, and were former heroin addicts dependent upon methadone and welfare to subsist. They were all talk and no action, she said. They were recent converts to Islam.
Bruce maintained that without the involvement of undercover officers the couple would have been unable to articulate, plan and execute the bomb plot. Bruce even claimed that it was the police not the couple who led the plot. The primary undercover officer discouraged the couple from seeking outside spiritual help and convinced them that he was a member of a powerful international terrorist group. He said that the group would likely kill them if they did not follow through with the planned terrorist action. Bruce claimed that the undercover agent was actually the leader and the couple his disciples.
After the verdict, the couple were temporarily re-arrested but later released under a peace bond with strict conditions for up to a year. Bruce had delayed registering the conviction of the couple at the request of their defense lawyers who argued that the RCMP had entrapped their clients. Had the conviction been upheld the couple could have faced a maximum penalty of life in prison. The Crown has filed an appeal of the ruling.
The case is historic in that this is the first time that the entrapment defense has been argued successfully in a terrorism case. The decision means a permanent halt to court proceedings. Although this is not an acquittal or a finding that the person is not guilty, it has a similar result in that those accused can walk free without any criminal record.
There were 240 police officers involved in the sting operation and it included more than 70 hours of surveillance of the couple. Apparently, someone with ties to the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service may have had a role in radicalizing the couple in the first place.

Canadian-owned ship "arrested" in Tobruk for lacking proper permit

The Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) government of Abdullah al-Thinni is now requiring that all ships have a permit from this government before they enter Libya's territorial waters.
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The internationally-recognized government of Libya is the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). Earlier the HoR required that any oil tankers seeking to export oil should have a permit issued by the eastern-based National Oil Company rather than the one associated with the GNA based in Tripoli. The two rival oil companies were supposed to have been merged but this appears not to have happened as Al-Thinni demanded changes to the terms of the agreement.
The Libya Observer reports that a Canadian commercial ship heading from the western city of Misrata to Tobruk was arrested when it entered Libyan waters without permission from the HoR government. The arrest was made by the Libyan Combat Naval Brigade in Susah. The Brigade is linked to the HoR. The commander of the brigade, Mohammed Al-Madjoob said the ship was asked to stop but refused to do so. It was arrested after it docked in Tobruk. The commander said that the ship was stuffed with goods such as perfumes, sponges and clothes. Al-Madjoob said the ship would be held in custody but will be freed once the cargo is completely inspected.
Another incident happened earlier on July 7. A Comoro Island flagged ship, also entered LIbyan waters without approval. It was intercepted off Ras Hilal shores. Eleven crew members were arrested but later released.
The Libya Herald reports that the coast guard stopped an Antigua-flagged general cargo vessel off Ras Hilal. The coast guard thought that it could be carrying weapons to the Mujahideen Shura Council in Derna. It had set sail from Misrata. Derna has been under siege as part of Operation Volcano by General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army even though the Council fighters were instrumental in driving the Islamic State out of Derna earlier this year. The LNA is blocking the city of Derna both by road and by sea.
Spokesperson for the Libya National Army(LPA), Colonel Ahmed Mismari, said that the ship, the Karina was released after a search showed that it was carrying no arms and was heading for Tobruk. He said that the crew was made up of Canadians and Filipinos. Perhaps this was the same ship as that in the earlier report that was arrested in Tobruk or they could be two different ships.


New Federal pay system generates huge backlog

A meeting will be held today to question senior Canadian government officials about the controversial new Phoenix payroll system, after ruling Liberal members of the government operations committee approved further study of the new program.

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The new payroll system has left about 80,000 federal public servants with problems with their pay. Opposition parties demanded the meeting after they received numerous complaints from constituents without any response from Judy Foote, the minister responsible for public services and procurement.Steven Blaney , procurement critic of the Conservative opposition, said: "While the Liberals continue to dodge this serious issue, both opposition parties will work together to find a solution to this problem."
Even Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Phoenix pay problem "was unacceptable." The situation has reached a point where even four Liberal MPs agreed with the opposition so that department officials, federal employees and union representatives will appear before a parliamentary committee to attempt to find out the source of the problem.
The four MPs wrote a letter to committee clerk Leif-Erik Aune, saying:"While we understand that the government is working hard to address the issues with the system, we feel that it is important for committee members to get a fuller understanding of the situation." To hold the emergency meeting four members of the committee had to request it but there are only three opposition members of the committee.
While Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi backed the call for the meeting, she claimed the opposition parties were grandstanding. She said she signed off on the meeting to call the opposition's bluff. She claimed that an examination of Phoenix will show it was the former ruling Conservatives who rubber stamped a "buggy" system in 2015 after warnings about it. PM Trudeau also tried to shift blame for the situation onto the Conservatives, as did Treasury Board Chair Scott Brison, who also claimed Conservatives had allowed the system to deteriorate.
Tom Lukiwski , the Conservative chair of the government operations committee, said: "Obviously, it's an extremely serious issue. Public servants should never be going weeks or perhaps months without pay ... it's unconscionable. everyone agrees on that, Ultimately, [Phoenix] will be the best way forward. There's just so many kinks." He said he was not sure whether reconvening his committee was the best forum to discuss the issue. The Phoenix system has been rolled out in phases after Trudeau's Liberals took power last year. The largest union representing federal public servants, the Public Service Alliance (PSA), warned the government that there would be problems.
The first phase of the rollout began in February and the PSA said thousands of its members had problems back then. In April, the union urged the Liberals not to move ahead with the next phase. In spite of this, the government said that only 300 employees had made formal complaints about the system which were almost all technical issues that had been resolved.
The pay center operations had moved to Miramichi New Brunswick after the Harper government shut down the long-gun registry. This would have left thousands of federal employees in the town without jobs. The Harper government also cut the number of compensation advisers from almost 2,700 to just 442.
The opposition New Democratic Party was critical of both Liberals and Conservatives. Procurement critic Erin Weir said: "The Conservatives were wrong to imagine that the federal government could effectively replace its payroll systems with off-the-shelf software from IBM operated by a single pay centre, relocated to Miramichi for political reasons. The Liberals were wrong to implement Phoenix this year even after employees at Miramichi warned that the system was not ready."He accused the Trudeau government of trying to shift blame to the Conservatives after ignoring complaints from the union and employees for months.
The deputy minister for public services and procurement, Marie Lemay, said the government had grossly underestimated the time and training needed to have the new system running satisfactorily. She claimed that the government would hire temporary compensation adviser specialists and also make technical improvements within the system. Over 700 public servants have complained about not receiving pay. Another 1,100 have not received long term disability or severance payment. More than 80,000 employees owed pay for extra duties, overtime, or pay adjustments face problems.
A prime example of someone who is having problems with Phoenix is Kathryn McCalder. She was a former federal compensation officer. She spent the last part of her 40-year government career as a compensation adviser and compensation officer — helping other employees get money they were owed as quickly as she could. Hers was one of the jobs that the Conservatives eliminated after moving the operations to Miramichi. She chose to retire at 64. She calculates she is owed over $100,000 in termination benefits
McCalder claims she is owed $42,652 in severance pay, $51,750 for transition support, and $23,535 in vacation pay. After receiving a small.sum she is still owed over a $100,000. She said: "I'm hurt because I think after all the years I put in as a government employee, I shouldn't be having this treatment. It's just causing me unease right now. That's a huge chunk of money to be forgotten about." She said that with over 80,000 cases in the lineup with some not even receiving a salary, her case may be forgotten.
The government is trying to rehire on a temporary basis compensation experts and pay advisers to help out at a new temporary pay unit at Gatineau Quebec but many of those approached are turning the offer down. One anonymous worker who turned down the offer of three or four months temporary employment said:"It would break my heart to see so many people not getting paid. I would work crazy hours. I have to think of my health too. The way they let us go at the end was very ruthless. All of us suffered from that. I just can't do it." The worker said compensation advisers had warned the government about serious issues with the Phoenix system from the beginning pointing out that the system simply was not customized enough to deal with the complex rules and exemptions.
The Liberal government added 40 more additional staff at Miramichi, but this is a far cry from 2,700 in the original system. The PSA notes that 72 employees are on leave and believes 50 of the 72 on leave have long term leave because of stress. The minister Judy Foote put the number on sick leave at 28 and called it a serious issue.
McCalder received an email asking her to help with the backlog. She did not accept the offer saying she did not want to get wrapped up in the mess. She did suggest that those who are getting paid normally using the Phoenix system should continue with it but that problem cases should be solved for now using the old system, until issues in the Phoenix system are fixed. She concluded: "My best wishes to all the people who are doing pay in Phoenix. I hope one day you get the satisfaction I did when I was able to help out people."
Managers of the system decided to recruit workers from a temporary staff agency to staff their call center handling inquiries from the 80,000 public employees having problems with the system. However, the employees, are simply given scripts to answer questions. They have no special knowledge of the issues. Some of them are telling callers it could take until October until all issues are resolved. One script tells them to say that if they had informed the government of pay problems before June 1, there would be some sort of resolution by October!
There are huge security concerns about the system as well. Two breaches of public servants private data have already happened including names, pay amounts, and "Personal Record Identifiers." The people from the temporary employee center are being hired with no security checks.


Friday, August 5, 2016

200 to 250 thousand liters of oil leaking into North Saskatchewan River

Between 200,000 and 250,000 liters of crude oil and other material from a breach in a Husky Energy oil pipeline near Maidstone Saskatchewan leaked into the North Saskatchewan River.

The crude oil and other material leaked into the river on Thursday upstream from a breach in Husky Energy’s pipeline near Maidstone, Sask. Maidstone is about 84 kilometers west of North Battleford. North Battleford saw signs of the spill early Friday morning and shut down its water intake from the river. The town has a ground water supply as well. The company had shut down the line and put out booms across the North Saskatchewan River about 40 kilometers upstream from North Battleford.
An anonymous Saskatchewan government official said that the oil was getting past the booms as it was lifted above them by high water levels.
Prince Albert, a city of about 35,000 people a considerable ways down from the spill is already planning to treat storm pond water as a backup as the oil lead advances towards it. Sam Ferris with the Saskatchewan water security agency said that most of Prince Albert's water came from the river. Staff are getting ready to shut down the intakes when oil begins to appear in the river. Water treated from other sources would last about a week he said. He said: “At this time, we don’t think the plume is going to reach Prince Albert for some time, likely not before sometime later Sunday or early Monday.” The city issued a statement on late Friday that urged residents to fill bathtubs and water jugs with water over the next day.
Wes Kotyk of the Saskatchewan government environmental protection plan told media that Environment Canada is working on a model as to when communities can expect the oil to pass and how long it will take to pass through but the calculations are made more difficult due to recent rains adding to the amount of water in the river. Kotyk said that the first group of containment booms had been damaged due to debris coming downstream from recent rains. The rain made the water turbid as well and would make it more difficult to remove the oil. He said: “The water is quite dirty with suspended particulates and whatnot, and in some cases you can get oil attached to those particulates.If you run into these semi-floating blobs of mud and oil, that can be more problematic.”
There is as yet no word as to what caused the leak or the size of the breach. Husky having shut down the pipeline is more worried about making sure the cleanup works out and after it is done can investigate the breach. The area of the leak must first be dug up and the company does not yet even know the exact location of the leak.
Merv Fingas, a scientist based in Edmonton said the shoreline of the North Saskatchewan River will likely be impacted by the oil spill. As well as the heavy oil, a type of lubricant mixed with it also is part of the leaked material. Fingas said of the spill: "It probably poses very little threat to aquatic life. The heavy oil that is there has very few toxic components which are water-soluble." The lubricant would evaporate fairly quickly. Fingas said that oil would collect on shorelines especially on curves coating grasses and aquatic plants. However, Fingas said that in his view pipelines were a low-risk means of moving petroleum.
The Saskatchewan Premier, Brad Wall, who is known for his strong support of pipelines, said that his support for them was not changed by the spill, saying:“The facts remain that if we’re not moving by a pipeline, it’s going to move … (by rail). We know that rail is actually more susceptible to spills and spills are often more intense.”