The AMWU has demanded Canada end the export of asbestos to developing countries, during a rare meeting with the country’s Consular-General Mario Ste-Marie, in Sydney last Friday.
AMWU National President, Paul Bastian, said the meeting held with the union and the Australian Diseases Foundation of Australia (ADFA), was an important opportunity to bring pressure on the Canadian government to outlaw asbestos exports once and for all.
“Canada has some of the most stringent domestic regulations in regard to the use of asbestos in the world. Earlier this year their politicians approved renovations to their parliament in order to have the deadly fibre removed.
“Yet Canada continues to condone the export of tonnes of asbestos to developing countries in Asia each year. They must bring an end to this, before millions more suffer and die as a result of this insidious product.“
He said it was unfathomable that asbestos was still traded nearly a century since the deadly affects of the material first came to light.
“The World Health Organisation makes it clear that there is no safe level of exposure and the colour of asbestos is irrelevant. It is an indiscriminate killer.
“125 million people are continually exposed to asbestos on a daily basis, the vast majority of whom reside in developing countries.
“Canada sees itself as a progressive country but its commitment to humanitarian principles stops at its borders when it comes to making a buck of out asbestos”
The meeting in Sydney, held as a conclusion to Asbestos Awareness Week brought the AMWU, ADFA campaigners, victims of asbestos related diseases and their families for a memorial service outside of the consulate.
Wreaths were laid to remember all those who have and will die through asbestos related diseases from Canadian asbestosis.
“As long as Canada continues its trade in deaths, the AMWU, ADFA and asbestos victims will continue to remind their government of the duty of care to those in developing countries,” Mr Bastian said.