You should know that El-Farouk Khaki, the NDP’s candidate in Toronto Centre, fell recently and has been in the hospital. We found out yesterday when Olivia Chow filled in for him at last night’s St. James Town debate. I’m unclear on details, but hope he’ll be better soon. Our thoughts are with him.
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.
I will begrudgingly admit that the Globe is under no obligation to publish everything I send them, but it’s unfortunate they didn’t print the following letter, sent yesterday, as a way of correcting their incorrect statement from yesterday’s editorial that “not one [party] has come out against the new bill.”
The Globe and Mail is absolutely correct to condemn the NDP for joining with the Conservatives in “pandering to fears of Islam” and targeting Muslim women, especially considering that MPs have no problem with Canadians who vote without showing their faces so long as they live abroad. This follows Jack Layton’s strange and disturbing pronouncement late last year that he “prefers” Canadians who aren’t dual citizens to lead political parties, as if Canadians who hold dual citizenships are somehow second class. His party, which should be the champion of social justice, human rights and equality, seems to have lost its way in the pursuit of power and a closer relationship with those who hold it. Readers should know that there is one party, the Green Party of Canada, that opposes this shameful piece of legislation.
When there’s only one party taking a position that a significant number of Canadians support, it’s critically important for the media to report that so that voters can make informed decisions. Scott’s roundup on how NDP bloggers are reacting is also quite informative:
The decision by the NDP and Jack Layton to support the Cons. motion on prohibiting veiled voters from casting ballots has enraged traditional NDP supporting bloggers, and unaffiliated blogs on the progressive left who are normally sympathetic to the NDP today, although with the NDPâ€™s view on blogging regarding it as the black sheep of the family, one wonders what if any effect it will have, or if anyone in NDP HQ even notices the discomfiture this has caused amongst their normally very loyal supporters.
Crossposted from greenparty.ca
OTTAWA â€“ The Green Party today condemned the NDP for propping up the Conservative government by supporting the Conservative bill that will force Muslim women to show their faces at the polls.
â€œIt is immensely disappointing that the NDP has joined with Prime Minister Harper in pandering to fears of Islam,â€ said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. â€œThe Green Party stands alone in strongly opposing this shameful and cynical piece of legislation.â€
Democratic Reform Advocate Chris Tindal said that the bill sets a double standard, as Canadians who live abroad are not required to provide visual identification to vote and will still be allowed to vote by mail-in ballot.
â€œThis bill has nothing to do with voting security, as the parties claim,â€ said Mr. Tindal. â€œIt is about exploiting xenophobia and grabbing votes at the expense of Canadian Muslims. The opposition parties should be ashamed that they have allowed themselves to be drawn into this needless hysteria.â€
Mr. Tindal added that the true intent of the bill is to hurt the credibility of Elections Canada and distract voters from the alleged â€œin and outâ€ Conservative election spending limits scandal.
â€œThis attack on Elections Canada was clearly designed by the Conservatives to distract from the investigation into whether or not they broke election spending limits, and the law. Why the NDP would want to aid them in that effort is beyond me.”
The Green Party has consistently opposed any move to force Muslim women to remove their veils before voting and first issued a statement to this effect on September 11th, 2007.