Conservatives Must Halt Deadly Asbestos Exports

Harper must allow his MPs to do the right thing: Turmel

OTTAWA – New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel is challenging Stephen Harper on his deadly stance on asbestos. In a motion to be voted on this evening, the Official Opposition is calling out the Conservatives for their dangerous inaction on the cancer-causing material, and demanding the government halt asbestos exports once and for all.

“The Conservatives are so preoccupied with rewarding their friends in the asbestos lobby that they’ve lost sight of what’s right,” said New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel.

“Canadian doctors say it’s wrong, the UN says it’s wrong – even current and former Conservative caucus members say it’s wrong. But this out-of-touch government refuses to act. The Prime Minister must allow his MPs to vote freely and support this important motion.”

Despite knowledge that asbestos can cause deadly forms of cancer, the Conservative government still wants to ship tons of asbestos to developing countries. Exporting the deadly material is so unconscionable it has even caused sitting Conservative MPs and past cabinet ministers to break ranks with the party line.

“Right now, Parliament is spending millions to remove asbestos from it walls – yet the Conservatives still insist the product is safe. The Conservatives need to stop tying themselves in knots trying to justify its position on asbestos. Today, they’ll have a chance to do the right thing,” said Turmel.

The motion, put forward by NDP MP Claude Gravelle (Sudbury-Nickel Belt), would see that the government ban the use and export of asbestos; support international efforts to add chrysotile asbestos to the list of hazardous chemical products under the Rotterdam Convention; assist affected workers by developing a transition strategy; introduce measures dedicated to affected older workers; and invest in economic diversification in asbestos-producing regions.