The House will pass judgment on asbestos

by Aaron Wherry

This evening the House of Commons will vote on the following NDP motion.

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) ban the use and export of asbestos; (b) support international efforts to add chrysotile asbestos to the list of hazardous chemical products under the Rotterdam Convention; (c) assist affected workers by developing a Just Transition Plan with measures to accommodate their re-entry into the workforce; (d) introduce measures dedicated to affected older workers, through the employment insurance program, to assure them of a decent standard of living until retirement; and (e) support communities and municipalities in asbestos producing regions through an investment fund for regional economic diversification.

The government whip’s office won’t say whether this will be considered a free vote for Conservatives.

Conservative MP Patricia Davidson has lobbied the government to reconsider its position on asbestos in the past and restated her opposition to exports two months ago. Former cabinet minister Chuck Strahl, father of current Conservative MP Mark Strahl, has recommended that Canada support the addition of asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention.

Full archive of asbestos coverage here.




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The House will pass judgment on asbestos

  1. Quebecers, and Canadian government, have been killing people with asbestos for over a century, it is Canadian tradition apparently, so is there any reason to believe that will change tonight?

    Interesting that NDP is leading charge against asbestos because it seems to be pretty popular product in Que and I am sure Cons will mindlessly support asbestos industry for no perceived gain. 

    CBC ~ Asbestos The Magic Mineral:

    Asbestos was first mined in Quebec in the 1870s. In the mineral’s heyday, Canada boasted the world’s biggest open pit mine, the Jeffrey Mine located in the province’s Eastern Townships. The industry thrived and a town was even named after it, Asbestos, Que., which used to wear the moniker with pride.

    “These enormous asbestos deposits in the province of Quebec are immensely valuable to Canada in war and peace, and they form a very important part of our great heritage of mineral wealth,” said CBC Radio’s Lorne Greene in 1942, on-site at the Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Que.

    But by the late 1960s, the bloom was starting to fade.

    In the 1980s, the asbestos industry in Quebec tried to mend its crumbling image and salvage its shrivelling industry. The province was quickly becoming the centre of the asbestos controversy and many of the mines’ customers began phasing out the mineral from their products.

    The industry, backed by the Canadian government, spent millions on research and to fight bans on the product at home and abroad. In 1984, Ottawa established The Asbestos Institute, a non-profit organization to promote the safe use of white asbestos.

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