Canada shamed on international stage

OTTAWA - Canada, once admired around the world, is fast gaining a reputation as a regressive country, blocking progress without any care for who is harmed.  After refusing to join the consensus to list chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance at the Rotterdam Convention this week in Geneva, Canada is being labelled a ‘pariah’ state, a ‘rogue nation’, unprincipled, hypocritical, and disrespectful in the international press. 

“Basically, our government is saying we don’t care about the health of people in other countries as long as we can continue to make a profit and as long as it furthers the government’s political interests,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May.

A consensus on listing chrysotile asbestos was within reach when Canada finally came out of the shadows and said No.  Earlier in the week, India changed its position and agreed to put chrysotile asbestos onto the list of hazardous substances, a move for which they were awarded the prize of Conference Champion.  Meanwhile, Canada has now been labeled a Cancer Culprit.  The Convention requires consensus to list a substance as hazardous, which simply means that exporting countries must provide prior informed consent to importing countries so that they are made aware of the risks. 

“We are racking up quite a bunch of trophies—Colossal Fossil and now Cancer Culprit.  This is not the Canada that we know and love. I am very angry and embarrassed over our incredibly unethical position,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May.  “I would urge Canada’s negotiators to shift their position, as India has done.” 

Negotiations will continue for two more days.


Kieran Green
Director of Communications