Tories’ asbestos policy ‘unethical and shameful’ say Canadian doctors

The Canadian Medical Association has condemned the Conservative government for blocking asbestos from being listed as a hazardous substance around the world earlier this summer.

“This is an important health care issue and a product that causes significant illness and even death,” outgoing CMA president Dr. Jeff Turnbull told reporters in St. John’s on Wednesday. “Canada should not be in the business of exporting such a dangerous product.”

Medical professionals have urged Kellie Leitch, the doctor turned Conservative MP (Simcoe—Grey) who they believe is bound by medical ethics to influence her caucus colleagues, to end the asbestos industry in Canada.

Hundreds of health professionals signed a letter telling her just that last Thursday.

Kathleen Ruff, senior human rights adviser at the Rideau Institute in Ottawa, followed that up with another letter on Wednesday accusing Leitch of spreading misinformation by implicitly endorsing the government policy that an exposure level of one fibre per cubic centimetre of air poses no danger.

“While other MPs may choose to support dangerous medical misinformation and to put politics ahead of human life, you, as a medical doctor, are, I believe, forbidden to do so,” Ruff wrote in the letter, which then goes on to suggest that Leitch is being racist for allowing children overseas to be exposed to asbestos because the poor countries that import it from Canada do not have adequate health and safety regulations. “You would not allow this to happen to Canadian children.”

Read more in the Montreal Gazette.

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