The Canadian and Quebec governments are once again under fire for allowing the continued mining and export of asbestos. Doctors from across Canada wrote to Conservative MP Kellie Leitch last week, urging her to condemn her Party’s policies and uphold her obligation as a doctor. Then yesterday, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) spoke to the media about a motion passed at their general council, which criticizes the government for refusing to acknowledge that chrysolite asbestos is a hazardous substance and for blocking its inclusion in the Rotterdam Convention. This comes around the same time as an announcement from the Quebec government to extend the financing deadline for Jeffery Mine to attract the private investment needed to secure a $58-million loan guarantee from the province. If granted the loan, it will ensure that the asbestos mine reopens and continues to operate for the next 25 years.
Similar to the CMA, CFUW adopted a resolution at the 2010 Annual General Meeting in Ottawa to “urge the Government of Canada, and the provinces and territories of Canada, to legislate a ban on the mining, use, and trade of all forms of asbestos; and… [to] urge the Government of Canada to support the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention.” Over the last several months CFUW has written letters to the Prime Minister and the Quebec Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade to state our position. However, since actions have been taken to the contrary, CFUW has once again written to the Canadian and Quebec governments urging them to reconsider their positions and ban asbestos mining and exportation given the enormous risk it poses to human health.
If you are also concerned about Canada’s involvement in asbestos mining, please consider writing your local Member of Parliament. Here is a template letter that you can adapt: Template Letter to MP