Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In a choice between Indian lives and Quebec, Quebec wins

In a choice between Third World lives and Quebec, Quebec wins

Given a choice between the health of people in developing countries, and the need to pander to Quebec, Ottawa comes down consistently on the side of pandering.

Canwest news reports that health officials have been hiding a report, delivered a year ago, that shows a "strong relationship" between lung cancer and the chrysotile asbestos mined in Quebec and shipped overseas:

For more than a year, Health Canada held onto a report by a panel of international experts that concludes there is a "strong relationship" between lung cancer and chrysotile asbestos mined in Canada.

Health Canada received the report in March 2008, resisting calls from the panel chairman to release the findings despite his plea last fall that the delay was "an annoying piece of needless government secrecy."

Canwest News Service obtained the report under Access to Information legislation, but the request took more than 10 months to process.

While the panel found the relationship between chrysotile asbestos and the rare of form of cancer mesothelioma "much less certain," there is a "strong relationship of exposure with lung cancer," panel chairman Trevor Ogden wrote in the newly released introductory letter to the report.

The motive for sitting on the report is self-evident: Acknowledging the risks of asbestos would hurt the asbestos industry centred on Thetford Mines in Quebec. Even though the industry now accounts for just 550 jobs, there would be political fallout as the separatists accused Ottawa of truning its back on oppressed Quebecers. Liberals and Conservative governments alike have been consistent in protecting their electoral butts when given that choice.

So too bad for the people in India, Indonesia and Thailand who account for most of the exports. It's unfortunate the oilsands aren't located in Quebec. Then there'd be no question of damaging the industry with punitive carbon taxes and the like.

Kelly McParland
National Post

Comments by rossbcan
Apr 17 2009

Its a problem of subjective thinking. As a politician, opinions of Quebec voters can affect your self interest. The threat of being complicit in the deaths of unimportant third world wogs is far more remote and, by the facts considered irrelevant.

Objectively speaking, permanent health harm to persons is far more damaging than a political / economic hit. We do the same thing as China (an accident) with their tainted pet food and deserve far more criticism since it is humans (intentional), not pets who are harmed.

If the law ever again becomes honest, whomever suppressed this report and failed to notify asbestos consumers of the risks are personally liable for the harm they are complicit in causing.

Comments by plazatoro
Apr 17 2009

"members of the public can contact the department to receive a copy of the report, but that there is no roll out planned" There isn't a whiff of the issue, let alone the report on the Health Canada site. I guess each of us must file our own access to information request!

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