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Monday, August 15, 2011

Federal Tories threaten legal action against Quebec widow

According to a story from Canadian Press:

"The federal Conservative party has sent a threatening email to the widow of an asbestos victim in the latest chapter of Canada's debate over the hazardous mineral."

Michaela Keyserlingk's husband, Robert, died in 2009 of mesothelioma — a rare form of cancer. How rare is it? Well, there are probably no more than 3000 cases diagnosed in the entire United States annually. But Robert Keyerlingk was not unlucky; Robert Keryserlingk was an asbestos worker.

Asbestos workers are at the highest risk for developing mesothelioma. According to the Mesothelioma Website: "One study of asbestos insulation workers reports a mesothelioma death rate up to 344 times higher than the general population."

Asbestos is no longer mined in the United States and it's use is banned in many developed countries, including New Zealand, Australia and all European Union countries. But Canada continues to support the controlled use of a mineral the World Health Organization has labelled a carcinogenic.

CBC reports:

"The Canadian government fought to keep asbestos off a U.N. - sponsored list of dangerous substances. If included on the list, called the Rotterdam Convention, any country looking to import asbestos would be informed of all the potential risks and would have to agree in advance to accept any shipments."

Why would Canada take such a position, you may well wonder. The answer appears to be quite simple: Quebec is the fourth largest producer of chrysotile asbestos in the world, earning the province over $100 million a year. It has also earned Quebec the unwanted distinction of having one of the highest rates of mesothelioma on earth.

With her husband dead, Michaela Keyserlingk launched a Website to warn other Canadians about the danger posed by asbestos and to publicize the hard-to-defend stance of government in Canada which continue to support the mining and exporting of a substance even the parliament buildings are having removed.

So why are the federal Tories threatening Keyserlingk with legal action? She used the party logo on her site. They want the logo removed. The feisty widow is refusing.

This started me wondering: How many other sites are posting the federal PC log. A quick Google search turned up the following links. And not all the links are positive, as it will quickly become clear. If the PCs want to threaten folk, drag 'em into court, maybe the PCs should enlarge their net. They might make quite a haul.

Bacon and Brains - "The Conservative Party currently hails out of the mythical land of Alberta, where their dark presence cast a long shadow across the whole of the Canadian prairies, some of BC, Ontario and Quebec City."
Canadian Immigration Newsletter - "Don't let policy changes catch you by surprise - stay current on the latest breaking news on Canadian Immigration!"
630 CHED - "A Liberal MP is alleging that `crass politics' have resulted in a Canadian Olympic retail logo that mirrors the federal Conservative party logo."
Voices-Voix Coalition - "As part of its platform for the 2006 federal election campaign, the Conservative Party of Canada promised greater transparency for Canadians in their access to information. Read about what the Conservatives promised Canadians."
Batshite - "The results of the Canadian federal election in May pleased some–seniors, for instance–but disappointed others–such as "modernists, women, young people, immigrants [and] people fond of evidence-based policy."

As you can see, there are oodles and oodles of sites posting the PC logo. I would add it to this blog but I don't need the possible hassle. But, my guess is that using the PC logo in an editorial context is quite legal. Check the next link to see my favourite use of the sacred symbol.

Anything But Conservative - "Could the democracy that Canadians take for granted by at risk if the Harper Conservatives get a majority? . . . in a Harper democracy, students will be discouraged from voting – in fact, this government has Elections Canada so terrified that they are ordering returning officers to stop special ballots for students . . . "

So, now the PCs are threatening a widow. Nice.

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