In northern Alberta, Canada, 2004, at the Syncrude UE-1 Project, thousands of construction workers were exposed to toxins in the Syncrude “Plume of Doom”. It lasted a week, with hundreds treated at Syncrude’s First Aid facilities. But due to the massive oil profits to be lost from project delays, Syncrude actually forced the unionized construction workers to stay and work in the toxic gases, under threat of $10,000 fines.
The plume was reported on by local newspaper and radio, but the national news media was silent. Not knowing, and driven by poverty, I took a job there as an apprentice electrician. Under a blackened sky, my foreman gave me permission to write on the job. I began collecting documents, talking to witnesses, taking photos and audio recordings. I even bought the T-shirt!
But slowly, I began to realize something else was going on. Far away, in Canada’s north, out of sight and out of mind, under the auspices of Syncrude’s behavioral psychology department, Syncrude was up to something much more frightening…
FOR THOSE WHO WERE THERE
AND THOSE NO LONGER WITH US
THIS IS YOUR STORY