This past week at Rotary, MP Nathan Cullen came to speak to the club and one of the topics he touched on was asbestos, and more to the point how despicable it is that Canadian organizations and companies are spending millions of dollars to get the hazardous material out of company and government buildings while the country continues to ship it to developing countries like India.
It’s not the first time the subject has been brought up, but it is something that has always bothered me.
I have friend whose father passed away in his early 50s as a result of lung cancer related to working in a facility that included a high amount of asbestos, and I know more people who have friends and family fighting for their lives because of the work done in asbestos ridden workplaces. Asbestos is a known human carcinogen – it causes cancer – and it is something that people in Canada wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
Let’s face it, if someone were interviewed for a job and told that they would be working directly with asbestos with minimal protective health measures, they’d probably say thanks but no thanks. If people were told their children would be going into a newer school or a day care with asbestos in it they would look to put their children somewhere else. Asbestos is not something Canadians are willing to accept due to the health concerns associated with it.
And yet we’re fine with sending the material out to other countries so that fathers and mothers and sons and daughters can be exposed to cancer-inducing material.
Do yourself a favour and Google “asbestos Daily Show” and watch the video of the Daily Show segment on asbestos production in Quebec (beware, mature content). I first saw it in May and it certainly didn’t make me proud of my country, and watching it again that is still certainly the case.
Canada, as I see it, is a caring country. Putting others in the world at risk of death for a few jobs is certainly not something we should continue to do.