Encouraging news on Canada and asbestos

Wed, Aug 17, 2016

1 Comment

Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca

It is a long-awaited and welcome change to be able to say “encouraging news” in the same sentence as Canada and asbestos.

Until now, Canada’s asbestos policy has been under the control of the Department of Natural Resources, where, under the previous Harper government, the Minister and his officials did everything in their power to promote the interests of the asbestos industry and the export of asbestos.

The previous Ministers of Health in the Harper government refused to fulfil their duty to protect people in Canada and overseas from asbestos harm.

It is thus extremely encouraging to learn that the current Minister of Health, Jane Philpott, is actively involved with her cabinet colleagues in setting a new policy on asbestos for Canada. I was glad to receive a phone call from a policy adviser for Minister Philpott and have a constructive and positive dialogue about the work that is currently being done in preparation for an upcoming announcement regarding the asbestos policy of the new Trudeau government.

I am extremely hopeful that in the next session of Parliament, which commences on September 19, the government will announce its plans to ban asbestos, take measures to protect Canadians from asbestos harm and play a leadership role at the UN in support of the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention.

Canadians and people around the world would welcome such action by the Trudeau government to finally end Canada’s long, shameful history of serving the interests of the asbestos industry and would welcome hearing that Canada will instead support scientific evidence, human health and international collaboration.

 

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