Richard & Liz Bergeron

Calgary’s Real Estate Specialists

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Alberta’s chief medical health officer doesn’t believe health workers returning from West African countries where Ebola is prevalent should face suspicion or isolation.

“To make it clear, these people are true heroes,” said Dr. James Talbot, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“They’re putting their lives on the line for the rest of us, and they recognize that none of us are safe – and in any country in the world none of us are completely safe until the people in those three countries are safe,” he added.

But Alberta health officials do have the power to enforce a quarantine, and have in the past.

It’s legislated under the public health act, and was used earlier this year during measles outbreaks in several parts of the province.

“For measles we do have that ability to quarantine people and restrict their activities, and that has been done when there has been a case of measles in a school for non-immunized individiuals for instance,” said Dr. Judy MacDonald of Alberta Health Services.

Last month, Alberta Health sent a letter home to parents warning them any children without immunity to diseases like measles may be barred from school for up to 21 days if they are exposed.

Health officials have the power to lay charges for anyone defying such orders.

“There is that possibility because the public health act is law, and the regulations that accompany it, including the communicable diseases regulation, is law,” added Dr. Macdonald.

When it comes to Ebola, officials maintain the risk to Canadians is low, since he disease is not airborne and people are only infectious while they are experiencing symptoms.

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A quartet of spills in northern Alberta has been oozing bitumen emulsion for more than a year with no sign of stopping, and the provincial regulator’s latest report finds the oil company’s own extraction method could be partly to blame.

A massive tailings pond breach sends a wall of potentially toxic mine waste flooding through central British Columbia.

Which garners more outrage?

The second one – by a long shot.

Mount Polley mine‘s tailings pond breach in B.C. has sparked a state of emergency as residents’ tap water is deemed unusable and provincial authorities scramble to determine just how toxic the spilled wastewater is, where the sludge went and what’s in the suspended solids.

Mine owner Imperial Metals has seen its share prices tank about 40 per centin the days following the breach.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited, on the other hand, has been barely bruised by the months-long series of spills at its Cold Lake site, even after an Alberta Energy Regulator report concluded the company’s high-pressure steaming is just too much for the rock, causing it to fracture and leak bitumen.

That conclusion’s a big deal, said Dinara Millington, vice-president of research with the Canadian Energy Research Institute: It suggests the operation itself is unsound, and has implications beyond these four spills, or even CNRL’s operations in that area.

“The regulator has been called by the public and Pembina Institute and other environmental institutes to  undertake a study where they would be looking at [cyclical steam stimulation] in general, and whether it’s even appropriate in a place where CNRL is,” she said.

“It will set a huge precedent for anyone who wants to get into that area.”

But shareholders don’t seem concerned: CNRL’s share price sits at about $44 now, compared to $31 a year ago.

And the public outcry in the days following B.C.’s tailings spill so far exceeds any outrage connected to Alberta’s ongoing bitumen spills.

Calgary billionaire Murray Edwards is Imperial’s controlling shareholder, as well as CNRL’s chairman and founder.

Why the divergent responses?

From a shareholder perspective, it could be a simple evaluation of risk, Millington said.

“CNRL, as a company, has large reserves, large assets large capital invested into various projects …  they could, for example, if the regulator says to walk away from the [Cold Lake] project, they have options.”

The sharply different reaction for Imperial Metals, she said, “Is directly related back to the concept of social licence: whether the company has that social licence, whether they’ve been able to obtain it and retain it. … You need to continue with what you said you were going to do, which is being the environmental steward of the land that you’re occupying. “

And the intimation from both the B.C. government and former employees that there were problems with the tailings site that should have been addressed earlier likely doesn’t inspire confidence, she said.

The tailings breach also has a more immediate and more visible human impact than the months of bitumen seeping from what is, effectively, a weapons range that’s a fair distance from even more remote First Nations communities.

But that just makes its effects more insidious, she said.

“We don’t know what the long-lasting impact can be – the emulsion can be seeping into the underground water resources or reaching small lakes and rivers and streams.”

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OTTAWA – Federal health officials have announced recalls of two products due to concerns about listeriosis and a third recall due to possible E.coli.

Concord Premium Meats Ltd. is recalling Marc Angelo brand Genoa Salami in 100-gram packages with a best-before date of Dec. 01, 2014.

A package of Marc Angelo brand Genoa Salami, recalled due to Listeria monocytogenes, is pictured in a handout photo released on Aug. 6, 2014. T

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The salami was distributed in Ontario and Quebec.

Avina Fresh Mushrooms brand Sliced Crimini Mushrooms in 454 gram packages are also being recalled due to possible Listeria monocytogenes.

Avina Fresh Mushrooms brand Sliced Crimini Mushrooms in 454 gram packages are also being recalled due to possible Listeria monocytogenes.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The mushrooms are sold in Alberta and B.C.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also recalling certain brands of La Fromagerie Hamel brand French cheeses in Quebec due to possible E. coli.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is also recalling certain brands of La Fromagerie Hamel brand French cheeses in Quebec due to possible E. coli.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency i

Consumers with any of these products are advised to throw them out or return them to the store where purchased.

The CFIA says no illnesses associated with these recalls have been reported.

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He’s one of Canada’s most prominent billionaires – co-owner of the Calgary Flames, chairman and creator of oilsands giant Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and head of Penn West and other sundry energy companies. According to Forbes, he’s worth about $2.2 billion (but told the National Post last year he doesn’t keep track).

He chairs Ensign Energy (and paid, along with other insiders, a total of $4.37 million as a reimbursement to settle concerns around stock option irregularities earlier this year); he owns Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and chairs Magellan Aerospace.

Forbes called him “the most important billionaire in Canada” two years ago, shortly after the Globe and Mail reported he’d advised Prime Minister Stephen Harper on how to deal with ownership bids by state-owned foreign (read: Chinese) companies for Canadian resource companies.

Murray Edwards is also the controlling shareholder of Imperial Metals, whose Mount Polley mine tailings pond failed catastrophically in the early hours of Monday morning, releasing a wall of sludge and wastewater whose full impact on the people and wildlife of British Columbia’s Cariboo Region have yet to be fully felt.

READ MORE: What five million cubic metres of tailings looks like

Edwards hasn’t spoken on the spill and hasn’t returned calls from Global News requesting an interview this week.

(We feel less slighted knowing that, several years ago, he tried to flee an interview when he found himself alone unexpectedly with a reporter)

Edwards owns 36% of Imperial Metals, whose share price has tanked since Monday’s breach – down 44% by Tuesday, by noon Thursday it was sitting at about $9.55 , compared to more than $16 a week ago.

It isn’t clear what the massive tailings breach will mean for Imperial Metals, which has multiple other mines in B.C. and elsewhere, including Red Chris, which has yet to begin production.

Mount Polley was Imperials’ first mine and, as chairman Pierre Lebel told the Vancouver Sun earlier this year, it almost didn’t materialize when partner Gibraltar pulled out.

“Don’t even think about” abandoning the project, Lebel recalls Edwards saying. “We can do this on our own.”

Lebel described Edwards as a “very engaged partner” on Red Chris – someone who is “all about making things happen.”

“It always amazes me the depth of Murray’s understanding and his ability to retain details and names and events of the past,” Lebel told the Sun. “He engages people as he goes along. People really respond well to him.”

READ MORE: A closer look at Imperial Metals

Recent court cases have established a precedent for a company’s directors being held responsible for environmental misdemeanours: The Ontario government has argued directors of a now-insolvent company were responsible for cleanup at a contaminated site.

But the Canadian Energy Research Institute’s Dinara Millington thinks it’s unlikely the Mount Polley breach will hurt Edwards directly.

“Him personally beign held responsible, I don’t think so. But what might happen is you might see if he’s feeling pressure … he might be selling off shares,” she said.

“There could be pressure – internally or externally … to get him to rethink what companies to invest in.”

READ MORE: BC orders mine to plug toxic tailings release

Last year, Edwards was awarded the International Horatio Alger Award, given to someone “who has persevered through adversity to become a successful entrepreneur or community leader.”

“There isn’t a Canadian more deserving of this award than Murray Edwards – a man of extraordinary business achievement and a dedicated philanthropist,” Dominic D’Alessandro, President of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada, said in a statement at the time. “Murray’s story showcases that hard work pays off.”

An alumnus of the University of Saskatchewan (which named a business school after him) and the University of Toronto, Regina-born Edwards told the Post he grew up in a “spectacularly unspectacular middle-class family.”

“Anybody can do a deal,” he said at the time. “The tough part is doing the deal at the right time, being strategic.”

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TORONTO – When a code blue is announced in hospital and a resuscitation team rushes to a patient’s side, tradition has dictated that family members get out of the way, both to protect their sensibilities and to give doctors and nurses the room and concentration needed to perform life-saving care.

But that notion of separating patient and loved ones is slowly being replaced by a new model of care, in which family members are given the option – and sometimes even encouragement – to remain near the bedside, where their presence is viewed as beneficial.

Among centres embracing the idea is Calgary’s recently opened acute-care hospital, South Health Campus, where staff make sure family members know they are welcome to be present during a resuscitation if they so choose.

When Lisa Lazenby’s then two-month-old son Abel suddenly had a seizure and stopped breathing at home in February 2013, she and her husband rushed to the nearby hospital, where staff whisked the baby off to the ER’s resuscitation room.

READ MORE: We’re doing CPR all wrong, Canadian doctor suggests

Supported by a family liaison worker – her husband Jason had taken their two older children to a friend’s home – Lazenby initially stood in the corner, biting her nails and trying to stay out of the medical team’s way so she wouldn’t jeopardize the care of her son.

“Part of that is you’re really scared of what’s happening to him … And you also get accustomed to thinking that the doctors want you out of the room and out of the way, because on TV shows it’s always like that,” she said Wednesday from Calgary.

She then heard a doctor working on Abel ask: “Where’s Mom?”

“He said, ‘You won’t be in the way because you are the only voice and sound and touch that he will recognize in the whole room, so you come close and we will work around you,”‘ Lazenby recalls.

“I just went right in and I held onto his little head and his eyes were closed and he was quite unresponsive, but I was like petting his head and trying to sing to him a little bit.

“Then you get a front-row view – they’re trying to get in an IV and they’re trying to do all these things and I can just talk to him,” she says. “That sticks with me forever because that room, of course, is buzzing with people and beeps and sounds, and if I imagine myself in his little shoes, of course the only sound that’s familiar is me.

“I thought that was pretty impressive on the team’s part and I won’t ever forget it.”

Joanne Ganton, manager of the Patient and Family Centred Care program at South Health Campus, said the idea of hospitals including loved ones during life-saving efforts raised a number of objections in the past, including that it would be too traumatic for families to witness, there would not be enough room to work and there was a danger of a person fainting, thereby creating another patient.

However, research into the issue and experience shows those fears haven’t been borne out, said Ganton.

“All the families that attended said they would attend a code in a heartbeat.”

Stephen Samis, vice-president of programs at the Canadian Foundation for Health Care Improvement, said studies have shown that the presence of family has a number of benefits – for the patient, their loved ones and the resuscitation team.

“What they’ve found is … that families want to be there and they’re not traumatized by the experience,” Samis said from Vancouver, where he was attending the International Conference on Patient- and Family-Centered Care.

“In fact, they’re less traumatized than if they’ve been waiting out in the corridors and having somebody come out and tell them, ‘Well, here’s what happened. Here’s what the results were.’

“Their loved one will often understand and feel their presence and they also can see how hard the providers are working to try to do what they can for the patient,” he said, adding that research suggests patient outcomes are better, care is improved and there are fewer medical errors.

“Having the loved ones of the patient present really creates a much better experience for everybody.”

While resuscitation staff may experience some performance anxiety under the eyes of family members, Ganton said loved ones are typically focused on the patient.

“They just want to be close, because your biggest fear is ‘I don’t want him to die alone. I don’t want him to die with strangers.”‘

And if a patient doesn’t survive, she said, family members often regret they weren’t at the bedside: “They feel that if ‘he could have just heard my voice, felt my touch, I know that he would have known I was there for him, and maybe he would have held on.’

“It’s that regret. It’s not knowing what happened,” Ganton said, adding that witnessing a loved one’s end can help ease the grieving process.

Fortunately for Lazenby, the team was able to stabilize her son, though he spent a week sedated and intubated in a children’s hospital for a week until he fully recovered. Doctors said Abel, who’d been born seven weeks’ prematurely, had been struck down by a cold virus and his tiny airwaves had swollen closed, leaving him unable to breathe.

Now 20 months old, he still has the odd episode of breathing difficulties but is otherwise healthy.

But at the time, as she watched the doctors and nurses frantically working on her boy, Lazenby was terrified of what might happen.

“It was really momentous for me because I think in that moment I thought if he does – it’s awful, I can’t even say it – if he does die, then I have to be here,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion at the still-raw memory. “I can’t have been out of the room and missed those moments.

“I couldn’t have not been with him.”

For the latest health news follow @Carmen_Chai

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