Recently I learned something about the Harper Government that makes me embarrassed to call myself Canadian.

Canada Blocks Inclusion of Chrysotile Asbestos In UN Convention

Here in Canada, we have banned the use of chrysotile asbestos for use as a building material because it is deemed as a hazardous substance.   Asbestos fibres lodge in the lungs, causing scarring that can ultimately lead to severely impaired lung function and cancers of the lungs or lung cavity.

According to Wikipedia, all commercial forms of asbestos (including chrysotile asbestos) are known to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans.

However, we still have a plant in Quebec that mines for asbestos and, since it can’t be used at home, exports it to third world countries, all in the name of profit. I guess those people don’t matter as much, right?  Since when is it ok to ship something we’ve decided is hazardous for Canadians, to poorer countries?  Isn’t that a human rights issue?  Corruption? What a hypocrisy!

The World Health Organization says as many as 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related illness. The UN wanted to list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance but they needed a unanimous vote from every country in the world to do so.  Canada was the only country to oppose the move.

Canada was the only country.

We are the only country on this planet who cares so much for our bottom line that we’ll continue to export a carcinogenic substance so that Stephen Harper can give himself a pat on the back for ‘saving’ our economy.

Ironically, at the same time as all of this, the federal government is spending tens of millions of dollars removing asbestos from public buildings, including the buildings on Parliament Hill and the Prime Minister’s own residence.  Hmmmm, peculiar!

Of course, this hardly made Canadian news, since our media is being spoon-fed and diaper-changed with government dollars.  Harper would rather slip this past us with a few more sleeping apathy pills, than deal with an outcry from the paltry group of us that puts down our personal life long enough to pay attention to world issues.  Then again, he didn’t get his majority government by himself.  It took a whole bunch of us indifferent Canadians to vote him into that much power. Maybe we deserve this cringe-worthy global spotlight.

Us Canadians pride ourselves on our global perception of being compassionate, kind and friendly.  The Harper government is turning Canada into a selfish, thoughtless country. Stephen Harper’s majority government is ruining our image so fast we’ll want to consider wearing an American flag the next time we go traveling.

One comment on “shame on us, Canada

  1. I want to thank you for posting your article Shame on Us, Canada. Canadians do need to wake up to this deadly industry. We are at a critical juncture. If investors come up with the financing to re-open the Jeffrey Mine it will become virtually impossible to end asbestos.

    I am involved with a campaign to convince 15 Conservative MP’s to change their position about asbestos. We are currently focussed on John Baird and Dr. Kellie Leitch who have refused to return correspondence about this issue. If you or anyone you know could write to either or both of these MP’s it would be greatly appreciated. More information is available at our website if you want to know more.

    Thank-you again for your great article!

    Gannon McCauley

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