Masse Uncovers Harper Government Plan to Increase Asbestos Exports to India

CEPA Chief Trade Negotiators Reveals in Committee Deliberate Strategy to Eliminate Tariffs on Exports of Deadly Material

[OTTAWA, ON] The Harper Government is actively seeking to eliminate tariff barriers on deadly asbestos to India. 

At a meeting of the International Trade Committee the Chief Negotiator for the Canada-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in response to questions from NDP International Trade Critic Brian Masse (Windsor West) revealed that Canada is currently seeking to have India eliminate tariffs on asbestos exports to India.  Currently there is a 10% duty on asbestos exports to India the world second largest consumer of asbestos.

The NDP is demanding the government reverse its position on asbestos and join a growing list of countries including the EU and the United States that ban or significantly restrict the use and export of this harmful material altogether.  After questioning the chief negotiator in committee hearings an appalled Masse said: “It is a national disgrace that the Harper Government has opposed the global effort to ban this substance.  Now we find out we are actively attempting to expand our share of the global asbestos market and only after Canada’s Chief Negotiator of a major trade deal is questioned directly on this issue.  This represents another sad chapter for the Harper government on transparency and global citizenship.” 

Pat Martin NDP MP from Winnipeg Centre has been a leading voice in Parliament demanding Canada ban the use and export of asbestos.  “Asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known. The Canadian government shamefully spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world. We already dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes of asbestos each year into developing nations – and now we want to make it EASIER for asbestos magnates to do so? This is deplorable and Canadians need to let their government know they will not put up with this any longer.”

“To actively pursue exporting this deadly product to countries that have little to no regulations to mitigate its potential impacts is borderline criminal.  This practice needs to end now and the Harper Government needs to develop an action plan that will transition domestic workers in this sector to other industries.”  Masse stated.