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No cancer report, no meeting say Fort Chip First Nations

CBC News

First Nations in Fort Chipewyan are refusing to meet with Alberta Health today.

The Mikisew Cree and the Athabasca Chipewyan were scheduled to get the results tonight from a highly anticipated cancer study, but they cancelled the meeting after officials refused to provide an advance copy of the report to the local Nunee Health authority.

First Nations in Fort Chipewyan have been asking for statistics on cancer in the community since 2009.

Alberta's Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Talbot promised leaders those would be shared with the community today.

But Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam says without a copy of the report, First Nations decided to turn officials away.

“I am disappointed that it didn’t go ahead,” Adam says. “Regardless of the findings that will come out of it, there is still a fact that remains, there is still a high cancer rate in this community.”

The Alberta government's last investigation into cancer rates in Fort Chipewyan found that 47 people developed some form of cancer over a period of 12 years.

Ray Cardinal is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation member.

He’s worried the oilsands may be to blame.

“If you look at Fort Chipewyan and the cancer rate that we have here its extremely high,” he says. “There's very rare cancer here that one in every 100, 000 people get and so far in Fort Chip, numerous people have been diagnosed with those cancers.”

CBC is trying to reach Alberta Health for comment.

Tonight’s meeting was supposed to offer a sneak preview of the report to people in Fort Chipewyan.

The full cancer statistics report is set to go public in March.

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