Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Canada exports death around the world

More of the Harper government policies that are making us look really, really good.

From McClatchy:

Lobbyists push use of deadly asbestos in developing nations

A global network of lobby groups has spent nearly $100 million since the mid-1980s to preserve the international market for asbestos, a known carcinogen that's taken millions of lives and is banned or restricted in 52 countries, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has found in a nine-month investigation.

Backed by public and private money and aided by scientists and friendly governments, the groups helped facilitate the sale of 2.2 million tons of asbestos last year, mostly in developing nations. Anchored by the Montreal-based Chrysotile Institute, the network stretches from New Delhi to Mexico City to the city of Asbest in Russia's Ural Mountains. Its message is that asbestos can be used safely under "controlled" conditions

Early in Harper's tenure, an international group met to discuss banning the mining and export of asbestos around the world. Most countries had already done so. The group expected that Canada would join them. The Harper government's representatives showed up at the meeting, were rude and dismissive and completely surprised one of the observers there by their boorish behaviour. That didn't surprise me, but the rest of the world hadn't got the message yet about Our Glorious Leader and Our Glorious Leader's new regime.

I sent the then-Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn an email expressing my surprise that asbestos was being mined and exported given that its use just about everywhere in Canada was banned. I received no reply. (Whoa! Who would have expected that?)

But I must admit that I thought our representatives actually represented us in those days instead of channeling Harperite policies to the 63+% of the people who hadn't voted for his party. I have been rudely awakened from that dream since then.

Gary Lunn has since been bumped down to Minister of State for Sport. I doubt whether it had anything to do with this, though. There were reports that he was giving wealthy landowners grants from a green fund to aid sustainable development, which actually didn't aid green development - but it sure aided his friends.

The present Minister of Natural Resources is Christian Paradis, Conservative MP from Quebec, smack in the middle of the mining district. The asbestos lobby is housed in Montreal and you can bet your next meal there's no asbestos in their lobby.

I'm so proud.

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