Quebec’s largest labour group joins fight to ban asbestos
NDP welcomes key support for stopping Canadian asbestos exports to developing world
OTTAWA – Today, Quebec’s largest labour group, the Confederation of National Trade Unions joined the fight to end the development of asbestos in the province. Asbestos is banned in most developed nations but Canada continues to be one of the leading producers and exporters of asbestos, dumping nearly 200,000 tonnes per year into poor and developing nations.
“This is very encouraging news,” said New Democrat Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair (Outremont). “Asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known and we need to take action to protect our workers and communities.”
The World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Quebec Institute of Public Health all agree that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. Despite the staggering fact that more Canadians die from asbestos than all other occupational and industrial causes combined, Canada spends millions to promote and subsidize its production and export.
“Canadians are shocked to find that this government is using their tax dollars to shill for a deadly trade,” said New Democrat Natural Resources Critic Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) who has introduced legislation to ban the mining and export of asbestos in Canada. “The focus should be on helping mining communities transition to better options that don’t claim the lives of innocent workers around the world.”
“Without exaggeration we are exporting human misery on a monumental scale and exporting a “made in Canada” epidemic. I call it corporate welfare for corporate serial killers,” said New Democrat MP and former asbestos miner Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre). “No other Canadian commodity enjoys such support and promotion by this country –Canadian ambassadors and trade commissioners act like globe-trotting propagandists for the asbestos cartel.”
Canada has sponsored and paid for 160 trade junkets in 60 different countries.
“Canada’s policy on asbestos is morally and ethically reprehensible,” said Martin.