October 18th: a Dark anniversary in CANADA’s ASBESTOS history

October 18th: a Dark anniversary in CANADA’s ASBESTOS history

OTTAWA—Today, Pat Martin (Winnipeg-Centre) joined Laurie Kazan-Allen of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat and Michaela Keyserlingk of Canada’s Voices of Asbestos Victims to mark the 20th anniversary of the Canadian government and asbestos stakeholders’ joining forces to defeat the American Asbestos Ban and Phase-out Rule (ABPR).

Through Access to Information requests, Kazan-Allen unearthed 20 year old documents showing the disturbing participation of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, his cabinet, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., civil servants and lobbyists in killing the US Asbestos ban.

“On October 18, 2011, we reflect on the devious and underhanded means by which Canadian asbestos stakeholders attacked plans by the U.S. Government to protect American workers by banning the use of asbestos,” said Kazan-Allen.

“Canadian authorities, from the Prime Minister down, colluded with industry representatives to overturn the U.S. ban on asbestos in order to protect the Canadian asbestos industry,” said Kazan-Allen. “The fact that, even 20 years on, Canadian governments are still fronting for this deadly industry is a national disgrace.”

“What is most shocking about these documents is that while the rest of the world has now seen asbestos for the killer it is, the Canadian government has not moved one iota from its position in 20 years,” said Martin. “It’s time that the Harper government wake up and finally step away from this killer product.”

Keyserlingk, whose husband died in 2009 of mesothelioma resulting from exposure to asbestos, runs the website “Canada’s Asbestos Exports”. Keyserlingk said she “hopes changes to Canada’s asbestos policy will happen as soon as possible to prevent further death in developing countries.”