Canada is the only G8 country still mining and selling asbestos
This website collects examples of leading national and international scientific and popular opinions calling on the Canadian government to ban the import and use of chrysotile asbestos.
the latter a rare, painful and terminal cancer of the linings of chest or stomach walls.
The World Health Organization estimates that asbestos kills at least 107,000 people a year - about half of all occupational cancer deaths world wide. In Canada asbestos related diseases have became the number one occupational cause of death. By now strict occupational health and safety rules protect Canadian workers’ exposure to the mineral. The federal government spends millions to rid Parliament and other government buildings, under the strictest protective guidelines, of its remaining asbestos. But they have not offered any support for our aging schools and public buildings which are also riddled with chrysotile asbestos. Canadian medical and health association and especially Canada’s cancer societies have repeatedly called on our government to ban the import and use of asbestos.
Today there are no more jobs at the bankruptcy protected Thetford Mine. Our government has neither offered to close this mine nor support workers of the dying asbestos industry, as was done for tobacco farmers.
Federal and provincial subsidies to the now closed Chrysotile Institute in Montreal were finally stopped in 2012. The Institute used to promote chrysotile asbestos internationally and spread its so-called "scientific claims" about its safe use. Their fraudulent scientists most effectively muddied what otherwise are a clear national and international scientific consensus: to ban the use of a highly dangerous product which has been proven to be extremely harmful to human health.
One had hoped that this would have been the end of Canada’s export of chrysotile asbestos. Not so, greed, disregard of human decency and misplaced political ambition resulted in a huge Liberal government bailout for Quebec’s asbestos mine, announced on June 30th 2012. Investors were found who took over the underground mine in Asbestos. This mine had not been used for many years because strip mining, as long as it lasted, had been cheaper. The underground mine had filled with water which had to be pumped out adding to the environmental disaster of mountainous and drifting tailings.
An unprotected Indian woman sorts chrysotile asbestos
Where the asbestos saga is now:
The Quebec asbestos game changed for the better when Madame Pauline Marois became the Premier of Quebec. She promised that her Separatist government would rescind the Quebec Liberal’s $58-million loan to the asbestos industry.
With this, as mining falls under provincial jurisdiction she managed to force Prime Minister Harper and Minister Paradis to withdraw their support for Quebec’s asbestos industry as of September 14, 2012. The Federal government also stated that they will no longer object to have asbestos listed as a hazardous material under the Conference of Parties of the UN's Rotterdam Convention. This offer, which is meaningless now, since Russia, the worlds major asbestos producer, will become a party to the Convention as of 2013 and will strongly oppose any move to include chrysotile asbestos. Our government should have voted to have chrysotile declared a hazardous material when they had the power to do so, now the chance to have this happen are practically none existing.
Some unanswered questions?
What happened to all the federal tax payer’s money designated for the environmental clean-up in Thetford and Asbestos (Minister Paradi”s’ riding)?
What happened to the private Asbestos’ mine investors and owners? Did the Quebec government have to pay compansation for the loss of their mining rights? Where they held responsible for having added to the environmental disaster of this area?
Where our Canadian federal parties stand on the asbestos issue:
The Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephan Harper, and his cabinet still blindly support chrysotile asbestos use for political gains in Quebec. They have proven to be blind not only to science but also to human decency.
The New Democratic Party has adopted the banning of asbestos as official party policy.
The Liberal Party's official position is that federal support for asbestos exports must end. They have not yet made a Canadian ban of asbestos their policy.
The Bloc Quebecois supports a pro-asbestos policy.
The Green Party supports the banning of asbestos as official party policy.