Government’s stance on asbestos defies logic and safety

I was absolutely appalled at the failure of Stephen Harper’s delegation to end its days of silence and hopeful speculation when they once again opposed the inclusion of asbestos on a UN treaty called the Rotterdam Convention. This omission simply means that the Canadian Government accepts no responsibility to the countries that receive this exported asbestos.

I was absolutely appalled at the failure of Stephen Harper’s delegation to end its days of silence and hopeful speculation when they once again opposed the inclusion of asbestos on a UN treaty called the Rotterdam Convention.  This omission simply means that the Canadian Government accepts no responsibility to the countries that receive this exported asbestos.

Further, they accept no responsibility in educating and helping to understand that it is a very dangerous substance that needs to be handled safely.  The Evidence here is unquestionable.  Asbestos is clearly killing too many people both here in Canada and in developing countries.

Right now, asbestos is the number one occupational killer in BC and it is believed that it will not peak for at least the next 5-10 years.  The federal government needs to take this more seriously.

This is an issue that I’m sure they would like to see just go away.

They put millions of these people at risk throughout the world with no apparent regard for how Canadians feel about our country exporting a product that is a known carcinogen and tarnishing the Canadian reputation.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak at the premiere of the asbestos documentary “Breathtaking” produced by Kathleen Mullen, which chronicles her father’s fight with mesothelioma (the most deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos).

She explores the industry in Quebec and follows its export that culminates in the devastation it is causing in India.  Ultimately, the film ends with her father’s passing after a very difficult struggle.  We have witnessed this with our own documentary on this disease (Asbestos, the Silent Killer) and continue to lobby fair compensation for workers and their families here in BC.

This is a despicable act and everyone, including anyone who voted for the Conservatives in this last election, should be sending letters to Mr. Harper stating their disappointment with this decision.  If we are true Canadians, we must insist that our government accepts full responsibility for the pain and devastation by promoting the export of asbestos.

Doug Jones

President, Local 480

United Steelworkers

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