Whatever Happened To Canada's Reputation? Try Oil and Asbestos


Seriously, we used to show our national police on our postcards with pristine mountains and clear water. Now we have Bill McKibben calling for a march on Washington to stop the Keystone XL pipeline from delivering Canadian oil to the States, and we have the Canadian delegation in Rotterdam blocking the listing of chrysotile asbestos on an international list of hazardous chemicals. This is stuff that is so dangerous that its use is banned in Canada, but there is this big mine in a Conservative riding in Quebec.....


Even in India, one of the biggest importers of Canadian asbestos, has signed onto Rotterdam. According to IBN Live:

This is a historial change, as India has always claimed there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove the harmful effects of asbestos. If Chrysotile or white asbestos is listed, then open and transparent sharing of information on the harms and hazards of the listed substance becomes mandatory. However, nations such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Vietnam and Sudan are still opposing the listing. According to the WHO, asbestos kills 1,00,000 people every year.


Canadians used to sew flags on their backpacks so that people wouldn't think they were American. Do they still? Image credit hobotraveller

Environmentalists are outraged, telling the Star:

"It is absolutely incredible. Canada has just thumbed its nose at the whole world," human-rights activist Kathleen Ruff said in an email. "It single-handedly has refused to allow the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance. Canada single-handedly has destroyed the convention as far as asbestos is concerned."

Even the conservative Globe and Mail editorializes:

The asbestos industry is worth $90-million to Canada. But what cost are we inflicting on ourselves, on our greater prosperity, on our international reputation, and on the health of human beings, by clinging to this unsafe material?


Canada used to be so pure, so upstanding, so- Dudley Do-right. Look at us now.

More on Canada and Asbestos
Daily Show: Canadian Chrysotile Fiber is Safe. Asbestos Fans Rejoice. (Video)
Canadian Government an "Avid Cheerleader" for Asbestos (But Not In Its Own Backyard)
Canadian Government and Opposition Agree on One Thing: They Love Asbestos
Canada's Image In Tatters Part II: They Export Asbestos When It Is Banned At Home
Monbiot: Canada's Image in Tatters

Follow me on Twitter! @lloydalter and friend me on Facebook

Related Content on Treehugger.com