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UPDATE: European Parliament to be asked to take sanctions against Canada on asbestos, June 30

Stephen Hughes

Stephen Hughes

A media release issued today by the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers and the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat says, “Calls will be made on June 30, 2011 that the European Union take sanctions against Canada for derailing a United Nations protocol to protect vulnerable populations from the hazards of asbestos.”

IBAS Coordinator Laurie Kazan-Allen, a member of the Rotterdam Convention Alliance, will be making a presentation in this regard to the European Parliament on June 30 starting at 2:30 pm. Kazan-Allen says, “Canada is now a rogue state and should be dealt with in the same way as other administrations which have breached the acceptable level of behaviour expected of civilized societies. …Canadian Government documents I am bringing to Brussels will prove to Members of the European Parliament that Ottawa had received recommendations from its own advisors to list chrysotile under the Rotterdam Convention. That they chose not to do so with the full knowledge of the tragic consequences is a sin of unpardonable proportions.”

The seminar at the European Parliament is being organized by the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in collaboration with trade unions and non-governmental organizations.

In July 2010, the Council of Canadians and the Trade Justice Network met with MEP Stephen Hughes (a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats) in Brussels on connecting asbestos and the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. He suggested that Canada’s banning of asbestos could be made a pre-condition of the European Parliament’s approval of CETA. A Public Citizen media release in June 2010 noted, “European parliamentarian Stephen Hughes (U.K.) recently tabled an inquiry calling for a WTO challenge of the proposed Canadian subsidy. The European Union has banned all use of asbestos and extraction, manufacture and processing of asbestos products in 2005.”

This July, Council of Canadians executive director Garry Neil, Board member John O’Connor, and trade campaigner Stuart Trew will be at the European Parliament in Brussels to raise concerns about CETA. At this time, they will again be raising the issue of the Harper government’s intransigence on the issue of asbestos.