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, September 22, 2012


Asian Journal, Rattan Mall, editor, September 21, 2012

Baljit Chadha: Why does this man want to kill poor Indians with cancer-causing asbestos? AS reported in this newspaper last week, the federal government was forced to reverse its position on supporting export of the cancer-causing asbestos. Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis said the government will no longer oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention and that Ottawa would fork out $50 million to enable asbestos mine workers to retrain in other fields of work.
That was because Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government was put to shame by the Parti Quebecois boss Pauline Marois who so boldly took a principled stand against asbestos mining and exports during the election campaign (just the opposite of what that SPINELESS and UNPRINCIPLED then-Liberal Premier Jean Charest did) and still won the Quebec provincial election.
And, of course, our South Asian Conservative Party MPs - minister of state Bal Gosal (Bramalea-Gore Malton), minister of state Tim Uppal (Edmonton-Sherwood Park), parliamentary secretary Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East), Devinder Shory (Calgary Northeast), Parm Gill (Brampton-Springdale), and Nina Grewal (Fleetwood-Port Kells) – couldn’t do anything about this!
What a disgrace!
While our BROWN brothers and sisters proved so impotent, it took a WHITE sister to show guts and kick the Conservatives’ (and the Quebec Liberals’) butt!
Marois has vowed to cancel the $58-million loan guarantee that Charest the LOSER had offered to restart Canada’s only asbestos mine.

THE National Post newspaper had a dig at Harper in a story titled “It takes a Quebec separatist to close an asbestos mine.”
Kelly McParland noted bluntly: “It hurts, but it has to be said: Pauline Marois hasn’t even been sworn in as premier yet and she’s already shown more leadership and judgement on Quebec’s asbestos industry than any of her predecessors, or anyone in Ottawa.” She added: “Canadians wouldn’t go near a home built with asbestos. The health risks are real and widely known. For Canada to keep producing the stuff and selling it to less cautious industries in developing countries was unconscionable. That it was propped up by politicians for the sake of a few thousand votes in one Quebec community was obnoxious, to put it mildly.”
And Toronto Star’s David Olive pointed out: “Marois pledges to instead redirect those funds to the economic diversification of Asbestos [that is the name of the town where the asbestos mine is located] and nearby Thetford Mines, once the world’s biggest asbestos-producing region. And to no longer prop up a fading industry complicit in the ESTIMATED 107,000 DEATHS EACH YEAR from asbestos exposure, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Almost all of the victims are in developing world countries.” [Capitalization mine for emphasis.]
Olive noted bluntly: “Canada’s hypocrisy on asbestos has long been malodorous. ... Harper has been spending MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to remove the last traces of asbestos in the Parliament Buildings and his official residence at 24 Sussex Drive. ... [U.S. President] Barack Obama’s start in public life was organizing public-housing residents in Chicago’s gritty South Side to successfully lobby City Hall to remove asbestos from their homes.”

IT sure makes me want to puke when I hear Canadians try to make fun of the Americans for this or that when we have been instrumental in KILLING SO MANY INNOCENT PEOPLE in developing countries, ESPECIALLY INDIA, even though we were fully aware of the deadly nature of asbestos!
We talk about preventing terrorism – what about OUR ASBESTOS TERRORISM all over the world all these decades?!
The 2008 figures for Canada’s asbestos exports show that ALMOST 43 PER CENT of that poisonous material worth $44 million went to India.
We have people like Kathleen Ruff, founder, and senior human-rights adviser with the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute, to thank for relentlessly fighting against Canada mining and exporting asbestos.
On the other hand, we HANG OUR SOUTH ASIAN HEADS IN SHAME because of businessmen like BALJIT CHADHA.
Back in October 2011 in an article titled “Yes, Mr. Baljit Chadha, You Are Exporting Death To India – And Shame On You!” I wrote:
“It boggles my mind that Baljit Chadha, the man behind the DEADLY asbestos exports from Quebec to India, can be so SHAMELESS when it comes to making money that he actually claims that the cancer-causing material that is BANNED in Canada is safe! “ ... Chadha told the Globe and Mail newspaper in September: “I have done a lot of soul-searching on this and have come to a conclusion that we are not exporting death.”
“REALLY, Mr. Chadha?
“Do you REALLY believe that in spite of all the evidence out there – and which I will once again present to my readers here?
“The Globe and Mail said Chadha “combines an almost evangelical fervour for asbestos with the clout needed to pull off his controversial plan.”
“Mr. Chadha, I guess money can perform miracles!
“Chadha, in fact, was rebuked by Ivan Ivanov, the team leader of occupational health at the WHO Department of Public Health and Environment, this week for DISTORTING its position on the safety of asbestos.
“He told the Globe and Mail: “There is no safe threshold of exposure to all forms of asbestos.”
“He said WHO wants a stop to the use of all types of asbestos as the most efficient way to get rid of all asbestos-related diseases.
“Dr. Ivanov said: “Even very low levels can affect the cells and the genetic system of the body.” And he added: “The information about what the WHO considers as safe and not safe should come from WHO and not from the industry that is using the material.” “ ... Chadha needs to give his thick skull a REAL BIG SHAKE.”

IN spite of all that has happened, it was extremely disturbing to read a Montreal Gazette report on Monday titled “It’s business as usual, asbestos company says” that said Balcorp Ltd., the company that received the $58-million loan, says that the mine will be relaunched next spring!
A company spokesperson told the newspaper: “The status remains unchanged as far as the mine is concerned.” He noted that Balcorp had already received at least $7 million of the loan.
So it seems that Baljit Chadha is hell-bent on going ahead with the cancer-causing terrorism!
This is where South Asian bodies such as the WORLD SIKH ORGANIZATION should step forward and OPENLY oppose Chadha’s move.
Otherwise, the WSO and all South Asian organizations will lose all MORAL authority with Canadians. Their pleas against this or that racist incident will be nothing but HYPOCRITICAL.
It is very easy to accuse the white guys of racism when they try to harm us, but what are we South Asians doing about our own BROWN guys trying to kill Indians in India?
Don’t you have any guts to speak out – or will you try to weasel your way out by making up some excuse or the other?
Remember, this is all about your credibility – once you lose it, no Canadian will take you seriously!

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