Corporate welfare for asbestos continues

OTTAWA New Democrat MPs Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) and Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) are dismayed the other Opposition parties failed to join New Democrats today in opposing more funding for the Chrysotile Institute, a taxpayer-supported industry lobby group that defends asbestos through phony science and aggressive lobbying.

With the help of the Liberals and Bloc, the Conservatives were allowed to continue their financial support of the asbestos industry.

“The Conservatives continue to be cheerleaders for the asbestos cartel,” said Martin. “The Harper government seems more than willing to share the stink coming off the asbestos industry.” 

At last Thursday’s meeting of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Martin tried to cut government funding for the Chrysotile Institute. Voting on the motion concluded this morning.

Only the New Democrats voted to stop the government handout to support asbestos. In spite of recent commitments by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff to ban asbestos, the Liberals voted against the New Democrat motion.

“This is politics at its worst,” said Cullen. “The Liberals put cold political calculation ahead of the protection of Canadians and workers abroad.  Even after Ignatieff promised the widow of a Canadian who died from exposure to asbestos that he would stand up to the industry – he failed.”

“Asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known,” said Martin. “Using tax dollars to subsidize and promote asbestos is morally and ethically reprehensible.”

Last June, three Grade 10 students from Smithers Secondary proposed a federal law to ban the mining and export of asbestos from Canada.  Cullen introduced the proposal as a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament as part of Create Your Canada, a contest he launched to engage young people in making Canada a better country.  The deadline for this year’s Create Your Canada contest is March 31; for details, see


Contact: Shelley Browne, 250-877-4142,