Over 140 civil society organisations, medical doctors, and health experts from Canada and around the world have written to Canada’s newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, calling on his government to ban asbestos.
Asbestos is the biggest occupational killer of Canadian workers, yet millions of dollars’ worth of asbestos-containing goods are imported into Canada each year, exposing increased numbers of Canadians to harm.
For decades, the Canadian government funded the asbestos lobby and has played a leading role to promote the use of asbestos in countries in the global South. The pro-asbestos policy of the previous Conservative government ignored the scientific evidence and brought enormous international condemnation of Canada as a threat to science, public health, and international collaboration.
The health experts are placing their hope in the new Canadian government, stating,
By announcing your government’s intention to ban asbestos, you will send a clear message nationally and internationally that the new government of Canada will act with integrity and:
- Will base public policy on scientific evidence
- Will act to protect public health
- Will play a positive leadership role on the international scene in support of the World Health Organization’s call to end all use of asbestos
- Will support the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the UN Rotterdam Convention
For further information, click on Health experts call on newly elected Canadian government to protect health & ban asbestos.
In a related development, Kathleen Ruff, senior Human Rights Advisor and Board Member at the Rideau Institute, discusses on CBC radio the controversial Concordia University study about the Jeffrey asbestos mine in Quebec. (See Concordia University won’t retract controversial asbestos report, CBC Radio As It Happens, 12 November 2015).
The report – entitled Lessons from the Quebec Asbestos Industry: Can there be meaningful dialogue and consensus when facts come up against feelings? – was written by John Aylen, a lecturer at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business with close ties to the asbestos industry. It has been heavily criticized by an international group of experts who have been calling for its retraction since it was released in July, citing the university’s responsibility to uphold scientific evidence and the consequences in developing countries of Concordia’s denial of asbestos harm.
In the interview, Kathleen Ruff states,
The report contains false information promoting use of asbestos, saying that it can be safely used. And this false information will cause harm to people’s lives…. The whole argument …[being] put forward is the opposite of the truth.
For the full interview, click on “Concordia University won’t retract controversial asbestos report” (CBC Radio As it Happens, 12 November 2015).
Photo credit: AFP photo/Raveendran, Flickr