More Media Coverage of Protests in India

Fri, Feb 12, 2010


Media coverage of the protests that have happened in India surrounding Quebec Premier Jean Charest’s visit – click on the title to listen or read.

1. CBC Radio – As It Happens
(CBC Radio, Tuesday Feburary 9, 2010)

The CBC radio program, As It Happens, interviewed Anup Srivastava of the Building and Woodworkers International, who helped organize the demonstration against Quebec’s asbestos export when Charest was in Delhi.

The introduction for the piece provided a bit of background information on the issue and on Anup Srivastava:

“What is too dangerous for us, is just fine for them.

Asbestos is both a dirty word and a dirty secret here in Canada. The once-ubiquitous construction material has more or less disappeared as a consumer commodity and for good reason: it’s made up of countless microscopic fibres. Those fibres make their way into the lungs of the people who work with the stuff. And that, as we all know, can lead to serious diseases like lung cancer. Hence the severe regulations in most developed nations, including Canada.

However, that concern doesn’t seem to extent to developing countries. Canada — mainly Quebec — exports over four-hundred million dollars worth of asbestos to India each year, where it is largely unregulated.

This was the focus of a protest earlier this week held in Delhi, by several groups representing Indian construction workers. They were hoping to get the attention of Quebec Premier Jean Charest who was in town, attending a conference on sustainable development.”

2.  L’embarras de Jean Charest en Inde
(Cyberpresse, le 09 février 2010)

This analysis of Charest’s trade mission in India by Denis Lessard, one of the Quebec journalists who accompanied Charest, tells how the appeal from the workers in India resonated in Quebec. Here’s one comment in the piece –

“We are used to troops of Quebec humanitarian workers who disembark in hot parts of the world to come to the help of populations in difficulty. And the look given by these Indian workers is very disturbing, especially when they accuse of hypocrisy a Quebec which, while selling asbestos in poor countries, takes care not to use it itself, very aware of the danger.”

On est habitué aux bataillons de travailleurs humanitaires québécois qui débarquent dans les points chauds pour venir en aide aux populations en difficulté. Aussi, le regard de ces ouvriers indiens est-il bien dérangeant, surtout quand ils accusent «d’hypocrisie» un Québec qui, tout en vendant de l’amiante aux pays pauvres, se garde bien d’en utiliser chez lui, très conscient du danger

3. Canada still exports asbestos, but mostly for Third World construction
(Daily Gleaner, Fredericton, February 9th, 2010)

4. Controversy over asbestos exports continues to dog Quebec premier in India
(Canadian Press, February 6, 2010)

5. La maison de verre
(Journal l’Action, André Nadeau, February 6, 2010)

6. Asbestos worries dog Charest: Indian groups call on Quebec to halt exports
(Toronto Star, February 8, 2010)

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