In 2004, and then again in 2006, the NDP told the Sierra Club of Canada that they would not support a ban on exporting asbestos, expressing a concern for “workers and families that derive their livelihoods from this long-standing industry.” (In the latter year, their answer was a key contributer to the Green Party’s platform receiving a higher ranking than the NDP’s.) Thank goodness Pat Martin and Libby Davies have finally succeeded in convincing their party to reverse what was, in their words, a position that supported the exportation of human misery. To hear them explain why, it’s hard to understand what took them so long.
The NDP is calling on the federal government to shut down Canada’s asbestos industry and scrap “horrifying” regulations that allow the use of the cancer-causing mineral in children’s toys and other products.
New Democratic MPs Pat Martin and Libby Davies released test results yesterday showing that asbestos is present in CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit, a popular new children’s toy made in China.
“Asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known and you would have to be insane to put asbestos in children’s toys,” Mr. Martin said. “It would be like putting razor blades in Halloween apples. So what does that say about a government that would allow it?”
Mr. Martin said new regulations under Canada’s Hazardous Materials Act allow asbestos-laden products “used by a child in education or play.”
“There is no safe level of asbestos,” [Ms. Davies] said. “There’s no question that it’s a carcinogen…We are exporting human misery at a staggering rate. Canada should be joining the international community to stop the production of asbestos and its export.”
Amen. Now that there are two parties who recognize this reality, hopefully the Liberals and Conservatives will soon have equally virtuous about-faces.