Apologizing to the world for blocking asbestos listing

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada has launched the “We’re sorry!” campaign to apologize to the rest of the world for the Harper government’s action on asbestos. On June 24, Canada became the only country in the world to oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance under the Rotterdam Convention. India and all other countries that had previously opposed the listing all changed their position at the meeting in Geneva last week, leaving Canada alone.

“I’m ashamed of our government’s action on asbestos. I think most Canadians are ashamed. Our government behaved disgracefully in Geneva, and we owe the world an apology,” said Elizabeth May, Green MP and Leader of the Green Party. “If the government won’t do the right thing, we will. I invite all Canadians to join me in saying ‘We’re sorry!’ to the world.”

Listing asbestos as a hazardous substance does not constitute a ban, and would not prevent Canada from continuing to manufacture and export chrysotile asbestos. Canada would simply have to obtain Prior Informed Consent from countries still buying asbestos.

“There’s no logic to our government’s position on this. A hazardous listing would not impact the industry, but Canada still shot it down,” said Ms. May. “We won’t have asbestos in our own homes and offices. We’re spending millions to remove it from our Parliament Buildings. Yet our government won’t even admit to the rest of the world that the substance is dangerous.”

Canadians who want to submit their own apology to the world can email them to imsorry@greenparty.ca. The Green Party will then forward those emails to the General Secretary of the UN.

The Green Party has also created a Facebook page where Canadians can post their own short messages of apology: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Were-sorry-world-Nous-sommes-désolé/115126635244544


Kieran Green
Director of Communications