Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stephen Harper and Jean Charest fight on behalf of asbestos industry

Even though there is plenty of evidence of the health risks of asbestos our Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Liberal Premier Jean Charest have been trying to have two Quebec mines reopen to export even more of the material to countries such as India and Indonesia.In those countries working with the asbestos often brings misery or even death to poor workers. The asbestos is a known cause of a type of lung cancer.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has supported the industry and in particular Christian Paradis a Conservative MP who represents a riding that contains Canada's last two remaining asbestos mines. The mines are both closed at present. Paradis wants them re-opened.

Paradis dismisses the evidence of international health experts on the matter. Many Canadian miners suffered from ailments caused by contact with asbestos and many died as a result. To show his support for Paradis Harper promoted him to Industry Minister.

The Liberal provincial government of Jean Charest went even further and approved a 58 million dollar loan to help open the mines if another 25 million will be put up by private investors. In spite of optimistic announcements that the money is forthcoming the negative reaction to the idea of reopening the mines may have frightened investors away.

The health agencies in Quebec, the national Canadian Labour Congress, the CNTU all oppose opening the mines. The Quebec Federation of Labour supports the re-opening although many of its individual unions have opposed this For much more see this Globe and Mail article.

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