Asbestos is the biggest single cause of occupational death in the UK. Of the six million tonnes of asbestos imported into the country, a huge amount came from Canadian mines. The federal government in Ottawa and the provincial government in Quebec have aided and abetted the Canadian asbestos industry to create a global climate in which the sale of this natural resource – an acknowledged carcinogen – can continue. Canada continues to sell asbestos in the developing world. 98% of Bangladesh’s asbestos imports in 2008 came from Canada and 93% of the Philippines asbestos imports.
The time has finally come for Canada to be held to account for the deaths they have caused. Just as a drug pusher is responsible for the fatal overdose of a heroin addict, so the Canadian and Quebec Governments, are responsible for thousands of asbestos deaths in the UK and around the world.
The Quebec government is preparing to give a loan guarantee of $58 million to rescue the asbestos industry and allow the opening of the new Jeffrey underground mine. It has set two conditions for the loan guarantee – that the workers sign a 5 year contract and pay 10% of their wages into a trust fund. Everything is now in the hands of the union who will be deciding in the next couple of days and, it seems very likely, will agree to the terms.
If this goes ahead it means export of 200,000 tonnes of asbestos from this new mine with its vast new deposit of asbestos for the next 25 years. Canada’s National Day is July 1st. Therefore, it is fitting that on this day we increase our demands for the Canadian government to halt its production of asbestos.
Join the protest outside Canada House, Trafalgar Square between 10am to 12 mid day, on Thursday, 1st July.