One Day In The Life of Sarah Schmidt

Diogenes's picture
Canada Is No Longer the Champion of the world!

Up until recently, Canada exported industrial asbestos, a known carcinogen, to developing countries. Its use is banned in Canada and many other places because of the risk of cancer.

Canada is a member of The Rotterdam Convention (RC), a world body with over 140 member countries. It sets standards on informed consent for hazardous chemicals and materials. The RC publishes a list of hazardous compounds and guidelines for export between countries.

By convention, to include a compound on this list, every member country must agree to it being listed.

Industrial asbestos has been a candidate for the list of compounds that required distinct hazardous warning labels to be affixed to exported products.

Last year at the annual meeting of the Rotterdam Convention, there was another motion to add asbestos to this list. Prior to the vote, the Canadian government delegates refused to say which way they planned to vote on the matter.  Then two countries that had previously opposed the listing, India and Vietnam, revealed they no longer opposed it.

That left Canada as the only remaining country to oppose the listing -- which is how it voted. So industrial asbestos remains off this list.

The Canada delegates, of course, voted according to the wishes of their masters, the Harper government. They have their jobs to protect.

Now rational people of the world might be asking "How could you let this happen, Canada?"

Canada's Hillbillies

There were two asbestos mines operating in Québec. Asbestos is safe if extracted and handled properly. Both mines have since closed down. The markets for industrial asbestos just is not what it used to be.

But in Québec, the land of political pandering. Christian Paradis is the federal member of parliament for the area, a cabinet minister and one of the very few Conservative MP's in Québec.

Canada's vote in Rotterdam was all about protecting a dubious mining operation in a Québec township of a federal cabinet minister. Vote for me, look what I can do. The mine extracted a hazardous compound and exported 100% of its product.

Not to be outdone, the disgraceful former provincial premier Jean Charest offered a $58 million loan guarantee to the operators of the mine to restart the operation. Then Charest called an election -- and lost.

The new premier, Pauline Marios, who campaigned against this outrageous voter bribe, canceled the loan guarantee.

Now Christian Paradis, who is Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, and who sits next Stephen Harper in the House of Commons, has fingered Premier Marois for killing the industry in the region.

So there ya go. Christian Paradis is all for exporting stuff that can kill people, but not for warning them about the dangers of using it.

Christian Paradis (Harper must love that name), you have set a new standard for hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy. And that is no easy task after the performances of Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews.

Now kind readers, you don't have to take my word for this. Here is an excerpt from the online edition of the Windsor Star (emphasis mine)...

Ottawa has change of heart

Won't block asbestos limits

By Sarah Schmidt, Postmedia News September 15, 2012

The Conservative government announced Friday it will no longer be a champion of asbestos on the world stage, effectively conceding the end of the asbestos industry in Québec with a promise of up to $50 million to diversify the economy of the mining communities.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis, who represents a riding at the heart of Québec's asbestos mining region, said he didn't want to abandon the industry, but said Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois left Ottawa no choice.

You can read the rest of this rubbish here.

It was this news article spurred me to write this blog because the excerpt above has to be one of the worst examples of boot-licker journalism I have ever encountered.

I would accuse Ms Schmidt of plagiarism because this reads like a cut-and-paste job of a press release from the Prime Minister's Office; except that it's a touch better than the usual drivel from the PMO. It's like something you might expect from the state run newspapers in China and Russia.

Ms Schmidt, who appears to have three university degrees and over 3000 twits following her, and has been in the newspaper business for over 10 years, seems to have the impression that we are all incredibly stupid.


Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on her; she does have an editor after all, and a job to worry about; just like our Canadian delegates to the Rotterdam Convention. There are many kinds of gulags in the world.

The Windsor Star is part of the PostMedia empire, which includes 10 major daily newspapers like the Vancouver Sun, The Calgary Herald, and The Ottawa Citizen. It also owns the mothership of right-wing punditry, small and responsible government, and unfettered capitalism, The National Post.

They don't have many journalists anymore, and Sarah Schmidt certainly isn't one of them.  Maybe her goal is trying to get into the same big leagues as superstar sycophants Kelly McParland of the National Post or John Ibbitson of the Globe and Mail.

Whatever. Maybe I need to join twitter so I could really understand what the hell is going on in Canada. You sure can't figure it out reading some of their so called newspapers.