House arrest for Suncor subcontractor!

Fort McMurray Today

A subcontractor has effectively been put out of business after a judge ordered the owner under house arrest, and prohibited him and his company from doing business for up to four years.

In a provincial court today in Fort McMurray, Judge J.R. Jacques ordered Rod McCabe under house arrest for 11 months for his role in partially treated sewage being released into the Athabasca River from Suncor Energy’s Borealis and Millennium camps in 2005 and 2006. McCabe is also prohibited from working in the wastewater industry for four years. His company, R&D McCabe, was fined $6,000 — all the money the corporation has — and also prohibited from the work for three years.

Susan McRory, environmental co-ordinator for Alberta Justice, noted McCabe lives in B.C., and his house arrest will begin in about a month’s time. The conditional sentence comes with very strict conditions, she added. McCabe cannot leave his house except for court, work, medical appointments and three hours a week for grocery shopping.

To ensure he is abiding by his conditions, McRory noted his probation officers will be conducting random telephone checks and random visits.

“It’s very strict conditions,” she added. “Judge Jacques was very strong. I had asked for jail, real jail, (but) Judge Jacques felt the taking away of his livelihood was enough punishment to allow him to have house arrest.”

With the work prohibition against him personally, McRory pointed out that order covers all jurisdictions, meaning he can’t come back under a different business name.

“(Judge Jacques) basically said, ‘You’re out of business. Find another line of work,’” she added. The court had recognized McCabe had been in this line of work for 25 years.

Six charges had been laid against R&D McCabe and its owner under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. A charge of exceeding approval limits was laid against Suncor. Camp operator Compass Group of Canada was charged with failing to report an approval exceedance. Suncor was fined $175,000 and Compass $225,000 in April.

The Crown had been seeking jail time for McCabe for falsifying records. R&D McCabe pleaded guilty in March to six charges: two counts each of wilfully providing false and misleading information, wilfully failing to report under the approval and exceeding approval limits.

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