Canadian Government and Opposition Agree on One Thing: They Love Asbestos
Indian activists protesting Canadian Asbestos
Asbestos isn't used much in in Canada and the United States any more; if inhaled, it causes numerous and often fatal diseases. The cost to society has been huge; asbestos has killed a hundred of thousand ship and building workers in the States, the companies that made it all went bankrupt and litigation costs are going to reach $250 Billion dollars.
But it is the only industry in the Quebec towns of Thetford Mines and Asbestos, and it is still legal to export it. Thailand, India and Indonesia import it, and consumers don't understand the dangers of not handling it properly.
We reported earlier that Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff was in favour of closing down the industry. But when it came to a crunch this week, not even over the actual mines and jobs but over the funding of The Chrysotile Institute, (formerly the Asbestos Institute but this sounds better), which is kind of like the US Government funding The Tobacco Institute, they folded. The Liberals voted with the government to fund the Institute; Evidently they chickened out because of concerns that it might trigger an election.
NDP Asbestos critic Pat Martin was scathing. From the Sun:
"We are exporting human misery to other countries on a monumental scale, and the rest of the world is begging Canada to stop it," Martin, who worked in a Yukon asbestos mine in his youth, charged.
He added it was "morally" and "ethically" corrupt to ban asbestos in Canada -- and spend millions to remove it from the Parliament Buildings -- but promote its use in developing nations.
See also: Canadian Government an "Avid Cheerleader" for Asbestos (But Not In Its Own Backyard)
Canada's Image In Tatters Part II: They Export Asbestos When It Is Banned At Home