OP/ED: Province needs to insist that Prime Minister recognize dangers of asbestos

By Contributor
June 26th, 2011

Premier Christy Clark should use her trip to Ottawa to insist the prime minister sign onto a United Nations document declaring asbestos a hazardous substance, say the New Democrats.

“Canada is the last remaining industrialized nation that doesn’t officially consider asbestos a hazardous substance,” said New Democrat health critic Mike Farnworth. “Premier Clark should take this opportunity to tell Prime Minister Harper that this stance is patently wrong.

“Her own new supporter, former MP Chuck Strahl, has publicly stated that the federal government is wrong to have blocked this international initiative,” said Farnworth. “The premier should encourage the prime minister to reverse course before it’s too late.”

Asbestos was used for decades in construction materials in residential, commercial and industrial construction. It’s believed that hundreds of British Columbians die every year from asbestosis, mesothelioma or lung cancer related to asbestos exposure.

Only Canada, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan opposed the UN declaration this week. The convention requires consensus for the declaration to take effect.

“It’s absolutely appalling that the federal government refuses to acknowledge the hazard that is asbestos,” said Farnworth, “and the premier needs to take a stand.

“The people of British Columbia are paying for the federal government’s inaction. They’re paying through increased health risks and then the health costs are borne by the provincial medical services plan.”

Adrian Dix and the New Democrats have been holding the B.C. Liberals accountable for breaking their word on the HST, and for backtracking on their election promises to protect health care, education, and other vital services.


Categories: GeneralPolitics