“I used to work in the asbestos mines. I have many friends who died from asbestos-related diseases and as a Canadian Member of Parliament, it broke my heart to see our tax dollars being used to be these unabashed cheerleaders for the asbestos industry.”
Pat Martin has been a ceaseless campaigner for Canada to clean up its act on asbestos. Recognizing the overwhelming medical and scientific evidence on its harm to workers, their families here in Canada and to those individuals in countries where we export asbestos, Pat has called for:
- The end of extraction and exportation of asbestos in Canada.
- A complete registry of buildings where asbestos is present and funding for private home owners, municipalities and public buildings for the remediation of asbestos from those buildings.
- A 'Just Transition' Program for asbestos-mining communities with measures that include early retirement, retraining and other bridging measures to accommodate re-entry into the workforce, including workers not employed directly in the asbestos industry but whose jobs still depend on the industry.
- Canada to invest heavily in the diagnostics, research and treatment of asbestos-related diseases on the logic that if Canada was a world leader in the production, exporting and sale of asbestos, we should be the center of excellence, the “global world leader” in how to ensure "state of the art " treatment of the industrial related diseases.
- Canada to contribute to an international global fund for compensation of victims and for the remediation of asbestos affected buildings and properties in those countries where we had played a role in that contamination.
In 2007, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization awarded Pat its Tribute to Unity Award for his global work to unite, educate and empower asbestos victims and public health workers. The ADAO stated that Pat’s “determination, intelligence and innovation […] ensured that asbestos issues are on the Canadian political and social agenda” and that his “commitment is total and his vision is global.”
In 2013, Pat was invited to address ANDEVA, France’s National Association for the Defense of Victims of Asbestos.