LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA
April 28, 2007
Mr. Prime Minister Stephen Harper - Canada stands accused of crimes against humanity for its complicity in the global trade in the world’s deadliest industrial toxin: asbestos.
The cost of Canada’s soul has been high. Over the last 100 years, the export of Canada’s killer dust has earned the country billions of dollars and caused the unacknowledged deaths of hundreds of thousands of Canadians who worked in or lived near the mines not to mention the collateral damage to family members contaminated by exposure to asbestos-contaminated work clothes.
Once sent abroad, the death toll has been even higher as fatal exposures occurred at every point in the chain of production. No one is immune to the potential damage posed by this global killer: stevedores, dockyard workers, truckers, insulators, construction workers, housewives, plumbers, teachers, textile workers, doctors, electricians and others have paid the price for their countries’ use of asbestos.
As one of the world’s biggest suppliers of asbestos, Canada engaged in the premeditated murder of innocent men and women all over the world. Abusing its global reputation as a progressive democracy, Canada bullied international agencies and national governments, lied to multilateral institutions, vetoed attempts to protect humanity and actively engaged with asbestos commercial interests to protect global markets for a substance acknowledged to be carcinogenic with the full knowledge of the human and environmental consequences of doing so.
We accuse you, Mr. Prime Minister, and your predecessors of mass murder for continuing your country’s pro-asbestos policy;
We accuse you, Mr. Prime Minister, and your predecessors, of abandoning the asbestos-affected communities in the Canadian mining regions where environmental pollution is killing record numbers of local residents;
We accuse you, Mr. Prime Minister, and your predecessors of putting national politics and greed before human life.
On International Workers Memorial Day, as we remember the dead and fight for the living, the Maple Leaf stands indelibly tarnished; Mr. Prime Minister, you have blood on your hands.