Letter to the Toronto Star
International Ban Asbestos Secretariat
PO Box 93, Stanmore, Middlesex HA7 4GR England
The Toronto Star
November 23, 2003
Asbestos Makeover Reingnites Old Battle - November 22, 20031
I would like to congratulate you on the article by Peter Gorrie which was a thoughtful analysis of the current situation regarding Canada’s leadership of the pro-chrysotile (white asbestos) global lobby.
On November 18, 2003 a Canadian delegation, to its shame, upset UN plans to protect developing countries from asbestos exposures by blocking the listing of chrysotile as a hazardous chemical subject to international trade restrictions. This move was condemned by the WWF, the conservation organization, which said: “Canada’s objection to listing chrysotile is embarrassingly self-interested and makes a mockery of the Convention’s (Rotterdam Convention) intent which is shared responsibility for health and the environmental protection between exporters and importers of harmful substances.”
As the Coordinator of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), I was pleased to work with Canadian groups and individuals to help organise the first independent Canadian asbestos conference; Canadian Asbestos: A Global Concern took place from September 12-14, 2003 on Parliament Hill, Ottawa.2 Because of the influence of the Canadian asbestos industry, the national media, aside from the Toronto Star, blacklisted news of this landmark conference. Mr. Gorrie’s discussion of the important issues raised at that forum has smashed the industry’s legendary control of the national media.
With full congratulations to Peter Gorrie for his thoroughness and to the Toronto Star for its courage in publishing his article, I would, however, like to make one important point about it’s content. Although the birth of the new Canadian group: Ban Asbestos Canada (BAC) took place during the conference, BAC was formed by, and only by, concerned Canadian citizens. It is not a Canadian branch of any organisation but rather a completely independent group which speaks with a Canadian voice on Canadian issues. Asbestos victims groups in the UK, Japan, France, Brazil, India, Italy, Chile, Switzerland, Australia, Nicaragua and Holland welcome their Canadian colleagues to our collective struggle. Working together on our virtual citizen’s network, we will campaign for justice for all asbestos victims and a global ban on asbestos.
Laurie Kazan-Allen (Mrs.)