The debate over the future of the Northern Pulp mill has taken a very personal tone, with a public denunciation of former premier Dr. John Hamm.
At a free concert in Pictou County Tuesday night which was held to raise awareness about the emissions coming from the mill, Dr. Dan Reid singled out Hamm for his current involvement with Northern Pulp.
Reid, a former Liberal MLA and family doctor for the area, criticized all three political parties for its "weak" environmental policy while in office and said it is time for them to "buck up."
Reid was the chief of staff at the Pictou's Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital in the late 1980s when he wrote a scathing report about the pulp mill.
He said the report found "there was a statistically significant increase in pulmonary and lung disease here in Pictou … as opposed to other equivalent communities in the province."
Some of Reid's harshest words were reserved for Hamm, whom he called an apologist for Northern Pulp.
Hamm sits as the chair of the mill's local board.
Reid feels Hamm's role on the board contravenes the ethics of the Canadian Medical Association and cited article seven under the code which says, "Resist any influence or interference that could undermine your professional integrity."
"Shame on Dr. Hamm for defending the pulp mill. He should resign and he should resign tomorrow," said Reid.
Jamie Baillie defends Hamm
Hamm did not respond to requests for an interview, but Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie defended him.
"To see a former Liberal politician take a cheap shot at a retired Tory, to me, that doesn't help anybody," he said.
The mill said Hamm has been working to get the mill into compliance. Northern Pulp will have its permit revoked unless it reduces its emissions to meet certain requirements by May 30, 2015.
Premier Stephen McNeil is in Asia this week and met with the Indonesian owners of the mill to talk about emissions at Northern Pulp.
Reid is not optimistic this will make a difference.
"I doubt that the Chinaman knows where Pictou is," he said.
Despite mounting public pressure, the Liberals say its emissions-compliance order is realistic and it would be unfair to change the deadline.