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Harper, Asbestos and the Politics of Greed

posted Jun 14, 2011, 10:03 AM by Esther Matharu
Mr. Harper is saying that government will not stand in the way of selling the health hazardous substance Asbestos to countries that want to buy it. This mineral is mined in Quebec and sold to foreign governments such as China, Iran, India and Sudan, countries that have no laws prohibiting products made by Chrysotile Asbestos which is banned in over 50 countries, including the EU, Australia and New Zealand where numerous deaths due to cancer caused by the extraction, manufacture and processing have been recorded. Health Canada has warned of the dangers of Asbestos and even Parliament has been scrapped of all its Asbestos. What is good for Canadians does not apply to others. The politics of greed by Harper, who claims to speak on our behalf, continues to show the degree of contempt he has for the citizens of our country.

An 1998 WTO news item shows how even then, Canada did not want to accept the obvious. Read the story reproduced here and make your own conculsions.

EC measures affecting asbestos products

Canada said that last May, it had requested consultations with the EC concerning certain measures applied by France prohibiting importation and sale of asbestos and products containing asbestos, and concerning the general asbestos regulations in France. It said these measures severely damaged Canadian trade interests. Canada said that in consultations that took place in July 1998 in Geneva it had tried to convince the EC that the French ban was unjustifiable. It said that there was agreement for the two parties to meet again but that it had not been possible to agree on a mutually acceptable date. As the consultations had failed to produce a solution, Canada was now seeking the establishment of a panel to examine its complaint.

In its formal complaint, Canada claimed that the French measures contravened provisions of the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures and on Technical Barriers to Trade, and the GATT 1994.

The EC said that at the end of 1996, France banned the use and importation of asbestos and asbestos products, and that subsequently, certain other EC member states had followed suit. It said the reason is that asbestos fibres had been found to be carcinogenic, and that some 2,000 persons in France died each year due to cancer caused by asbestos. The EC said that substitute materials had been developed in place of asbestos, which are safer to human health. It stressed that the French measures were not discriminatory, and were fully justified for public health reasons. The EC said that in the July consultations, it had tried to convince Canada that the measures were justified, and that just as Canada broke off consultations, it was in the process of submitting substantial scientific data in favour of the asbestos ban. The EC said it could not agree to Canada's panel request at this stage.