Stephen Harper should ban asbestos, or put it back in his home

Stephen Harper should ban asbestos, or put it back in his home
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June 21, 2011

From June 20-24, 2011, The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the “Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade” will be taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Rotterdam Convention was first established in 1998 in a global effort to monitor and control the trade of hazardous chemicals like DDT, Mercury compounds, Toxaphene and of course, Asbestos.

Canada, which is still a leading exporter of asbestos to developing countries like India, has repeatedly blocked the addition of Chrysotile Asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention, despite the fact that it is a well-known human carcinogen.

Canada’s manoeuvring against the Convention wreaks of nepotism, especially now that Harper’s in office. By all appearances, Harper is a close personal friend of Bernard Coulombe, the CEO of Jeffrey Mine Inc. the company that runs the largest open-pit asbestos mine in the world. In the lead up to Canada’s election, Stephen Harper–with Coulombe by his side–defended the asbestos industry and proclaimed that he will always support it.

Just a few weeks after that repulsive move, the Quebec government announced that it would be giving Coulombe’s company a $58-million bail-out loan to keep the Jeffrey Mine alive. The company declared bankruptcy years ago.

Both Canada and the Province of Quebec should be letting the industry die out. But instead they’re running to the rescue of a man who claims that people in India just aren’t effected by asbestos like you and me. The reason? According to Coulombe it’s because “they’re used to pollution… It’s like they have a natural antibiotic,” he said.

Since 1960, India has incorporated about 7 million tonnes of asbestos into its buildings.

The majority of workers in India who handle asbestos, don’t get to use any protective gear.

An estimated 30 people in India die every day from what has been termed India’s “asbestos cancer pandemic”.

In light of these and other facts about asbestos, hundreds of health advocates and a surge of organizations are urging Canada to finally ban asbestos.

TRUTHFOOL Communications is taking the plea one step further with their online media campaign. They want Canada to ban asbestos, too. But if Canada won’t do it, then they should put it back into the Parliament and the Prime Minister’s own home. If Canada’s such a human-rights champion, than it’s the right thing to do.

Sign the petition at

For more information, visit and

Related News:

The Province: June 21, 2011, Harper is using taxpayer cash for asbestos exports

Montreal Gazette: June 14, 2011, NDP, health experts slam export of asbestos as ‘disgrace’

Calgary Herald: June 14, 2011, Canada can’t defend shipping asbestos to Third World while banning it at home

Canadian Press: June 14, 2011, Groups Ask Harper to put global health ahead of interests of asbestos lobby”

Gazette Quebec Bureau: June 14, 2011, UN body aims to regulate asbestos.

CBC News: June 13, 2011, “Health Canada’s asbestos advice rejected by government”

Marketwire: June 13, 2011, “Georgetti Praises ILO Decision on Canada and Asbestos”

Vancouver Sun: June 8, 2011, “European Parliament slams Canada’s oilsands, asbestos, sealing industries”

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