Christian Paradis: Threat or menace?

Christian Paradis’ appointment raises new concerns over asbestos in public buildings, Greens

Media Release
For Immediate Release
June *25, 2008

Christian Paradis’ appointment raises new concerns over asbestos in public buildings, Greens

OTTAWA – The Green Party is expressing concern today over the appointment of Christian Paradis to the Public Works portfolio. Mr. Paradis has made comments supporting asbestos use and has previously served as President of the Asbestos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Secretary of the Asbestos Chapter of the Management Club of Canada.

“Mr. Paradis’ history of supporting ‘safe use’ of chrysotile asbestos is very worrying,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “Many Canadians are not aware that asbestos is still legal and in use in Canada, even though ‘safe use’ of asbestos is like drinking anti-freeze safely – neither is possible. The Green Party is concerned that Mr. Paradis’ appointment may mean increased asbestos content in the construction of public buildings. Will Mr. Paradis commit to eliminating all asbestos in public projects or will he increase asbestos content in new construction?”

Asbestos has been called the ‘perfect carcinogen’ and no level of exposure can eliminate the risk of developing asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. No one who uses public buildings is safe from exposure, including workers in office buildings, students in schools and patients in hospitals. Workers engaged in renovating, maintaining and cleaning buildings are at an elevated risk.

“According to the Worker’s Compensation Board, nearly a third of workplace-related fatalities are due to asbestos exposure,” said Ms. May. “This is why virtually every labour union in the country opposes asbestos. Asbestos exposure is a serious occupational health issue.

“The Green Party has long called for an asbestos ban in Canada, safe removal of asbestos from existing buildings and an end to mining and export with a just transition strategy for workers. The federal government’s continued subsidization of the asbestos industry and funding for industry associations is a disgrace.”

Ms. May added that Canada’s work to block UN efforts to place chrysotile asbestos on the list of the world’s most toxic substances are deplorable.


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