The Council of Canadians has long opposed the Canadian government’s support of the asbestos industry.
In September 2000, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow wrote then-Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew stating, “Canada’s aggressive support of the asbestos industry and the pursuit of markets, in spite of the estimated and projected death toll from asbestos, is a disgraceful indication that Canada values trade in toxic materials above the health of its own citizens and the health of workers around the world.”
We also released a report that year that called on the federal government to “plan for the global elimination of the asbestos industry and initiate a ‘just transition’ strategy for the industry and its workers.” We highlighted that, “A primary consideration must be to ensure that the cost of the demise of this industry is not exclusively or disproportionately borne by the workers and the towns that are dependent on the asbestos industry.”
This month, we joined with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Environmental Law Association, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, MiningWatch Canada, Rideau Institute on International Affairs, and others to demand that Canadian parliamentarians heed the call to ban Canadian asbestos. More on that at http://preventcancernow.ca/main/issues-actions/ban-asbestos-campaign#4_2009.
To write Prime Minister Stephen Harper on this issue, please go to http://preventcancernow.ca/open-letter-to-the-prime-minister-on-asbestos.
Please also note Murray Dobbin’s June 2009 ‘Word Warriors’ call to action on this issue at http://canadians.org/wordwarriors/2009/june-10-09.html.