An Open Letter to Dr. Kellie Leitch, Member of Parliament
In 2011, three years after our father died of mesothelioma in Sarnia, Ontario, we contacted you to find out your position on asbestos. Our letters were directed to the Minister of Natural Resources. In the media you claimed oncology was not your speciality and you supported your government’s stance that asbestos was not dangerous enough to be added to the Rotterdam Convention’s list of hazardous materials. This meant that Canada could export asbestos to workers in countries like India and Vietnam without so much as a warning label.
As you now look to lead a federal party, with an eye on the leadership of the entire country, it is time to take a stand against asbestos. Thousands of medical doctors and scientists from around the world have confirmed that asbestos is a carcinogen. It kills thousands of Canadians every year in the form of mesothelioma and causes other illnesses such as asbestosis. There is no denying the science. There is no safe use of asbestos. It is unconscionable that asbestos is still being used in new installations of federal building construction and even arrives within our borders in children’s crayons. Canadians do not want asbestos in their public buildings, brake pads, or children’s products.
Dr. Leitch, we call on you to
actively support the Rotterdam Convention's listing of asbestos as a hazardous material
support an end to the importation of asbestos containing products and ban of Canadian-made asbestos products
support an asbestos registry so that future workers will know if buildings contain asbestos, thus helping to limit future exposure to this deadly mineral
We invite you to stand with the Canadian Cancer Society who have stated:
Asbestos exposure is Canada’s leading cause of workplace death, and only through strong national action can Canadians be protected. Accordingly, the Canadian Cancer Society is calling for a nationwide ban on all asbestos products.
Do what is right. Honour your Hippocratic Oath to do no harm and prevent disease. Reverse the Conservative Party’s support of asbestos.
Leah Nielsen (Lewiston, Utah and former Barrie resident) and Stacy Cattran (Guelph, Ontario)