Dead ducks, indeed. Five hundred of the poor defenceless birds trapped in a oily toxic tailings pond north of Fort McMurray at Syncrude's Aurora mine site. They had been innocently and peacefully following their ancient migratory route coming home for the summer. They stopped for a well-earned breather and perhaps some liquid refreshment and were swallowed up in the muck. Oh, the humanity! For all we know, Donald, Louie, Huey and Dewey may be among them.
But it gets worse. A bright light Syncrude security adviser - one Tim Gray - soon added himself to the list of those who perished. He Emailed a memo directed to Syncrude employees entitled 'Extra Vigilance,' which called for more patrols of the site, and the reporting of activity around the pond as well as low-flying flights. One wonders about the low flying flights. Is Syncrude going to blow them out of the sky, or is there a danger that because of the toxins the pilots may spiral into the pond and join the ducks?
Ah, but it doesn't end there. For those who thought that Ed Stelmach was forever past his Special Ed learning curve, well, think again. Alberta Environment - headed by the Medicine Hat genius flower shop proprietor Rob Renner - say there will be no pictures of the calamity released by the Government. They say they "don't want to prejudice any court case by releasing photographs." Furthermore Renner said, given that the incident took place on private property, there were privacy issues to consider. The opposition is screaming 'Coverup!' with good reason.
Bush's pal Steve Harper, not one to miss a chance to pile on even his friends for a few cheap votes at their expense - true to form - piled on. He saw it as a "terrible tragedy" which is unacceptable to Canadians and would hurt Alberta's environmental image as an energy superpower. Amen to that.
Even the usually deft Deputy Premier Ron Stevens jumped into the Keystone Kops paddywagon. He had been in Washington earlier in the week beating the drum for the oil sands to convince Americans that what was going on in northern Alberta was all very environmentally sustainable and safe. In what may be described as a moment of badly timed exuberance coupled with horribly bad judgement, in describing his multi million dollar flim-flam mission Stevens quoted the five year old words uttered by the moronic President of the United States about the Iraq War - "Mission Accomplished!"
As the major international media began to hover over the toxic pond and Alberta Legislature, Special Ed was back to his pre-campaign communication skills. Said Ed, the dead ducks were not a black mark on Alberta's green record, but rather a chance to show the world that Alberta "means business' in protecting the the environment. The sorry saga continues.