University of Alberta scientist David Schindler holding a deformed whitefish collected from the Athabasca watershed, downstream from the oilsands industrial development.
University of Alberta scientist David Schindler holding a deformed whitefish collected from the Athabasca watershed, downstream from the oilsands industrial development.

Believing in clean oilsands is like believing in ‘magic fairies,’ top scientist says.

He said this reflects the current federal ideology — not anti-science, but “anti-some kinds of science. Anything with ‘environmental’ in it seems to be anathema.”

Showing his audience an aerial photo of a scarred landscape in oilsands country, he said environmental assessments show there is no environmental impact and companies claim the damage is later remediated.

“Why are people allowed to lie to the public like this? I just don’t understand this. We have to challenge them,” he said. “Obviously the people who used to challenge them, the civil servants, are no longer allowed to.