Canada’s doctors rally to oppose Harper government on asbestos

A scathing feature on the Daily Show wasn’t enough. Countless political rallies weren’t enough. Full opposition from other countries at the Rotterdam Convention wasn’t enough. Even countless deaths from mesothelioma and lung cancer weren’t enough. It seems nothing has convinced the Harper government to change its viewpoint on asbestos exportation.

Could Canada’s doctors finally do it?

On Wednesday, delegates to the Canadian Medical Association’s general assembly voted 99 per cent in favour of supporting a motion opposing the government’s stance that chrysotile asbestos is not a hazardous substance.

“This is an important healthcare issue and a product that causes significant illness – even death,” said Dr. Jeff Turnbull, the CMA’s outgoing president. “Canada should not be in the business of exporting such a dangerous product.”

Asbestos removal is a booming business in Canada for a reason. The fibres are deadly! We stop at nothing to expel it from our homes, yet the government continues to support its exportation.

So what now? It appears the country’s doctors are tired of simply trumpeting their distaste for the government’s actions.

“The time for the CMA is now to go beyond calling on the federal government and begging it to take action, as it clearly has no intention of doing so,” said Dr. Barry Turchen, based in Abbotsford.

What Dr. Turchen means remains to be seen. Will our doctors rally to storm Parliament Hill and stage a protest? With 99 per cent of them opposing the Harper government, they have strength in numbers.

If our prime minister won’t even listen to people as trustworthy as doctors, what other hope do we have in the battle to eliminate this dangerous material? Asbestos remediation companies are doing their job. Doctors are speaking out to contribute their part. Now it’s Harper’s turn.

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