Winning Back the Words: Confronting Experts in an Environmental Public Hearing


191 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-920059-17-1
DDC 363.7





Reviewed by Ken A. Armson

Ken A. Armson, a former executive co-ordinator of the Ontario Ministry
of Natural Resources’ Forest Resources Group, is currently a forestry


The growth of the Alberta forest products industry in the last 10 years
or so, especially pulp and paper mills, has resulted in the growth of
protesters challenging such industrial facilities. The proposed
Alberta-Pacific mill and the hearings of the Alpac Environmental Impact
Assessment Review Board form the background to this book. The first
chapter is a philosophical and ethical consideration of public hearings
and their place in our society, while the remaining seven chapters deal
specifically with the Alpac hearings. Much of the content comprises
excerpts from the transcripts of the hearing, each chapter dealing with
a pertinent topic or question. Although the perspective of the authors
is antagonistic to the mill’s development, a value of the book is in
highlighting both weaknesses and strengths in a public-hearing process.
The board’s recommendation that development of the mill not proceed
was ignored by the Alberta government; yet as the authors note, public
participation did make a difference in the final outcome. Winning Back
the Words is well-referenced and should be read by anyone interested in
the public-hearing process.


Richardson, Mary, Joan Sherman, and Michael Gismondi., “Winning Back the Words: Confronting Experts in an Environmental Public Hearing,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 23, 2024,