Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Plus ça change...

Why the Tories must never get a majority.

The latest disgusting behaviour by the Harper frat-pack (to use blogger Impolitical's felicitous phrase) reminds me of an incident in 1988 in the Ontario legislature*, when decent folks were suffering the excesses of the Mike Harris regime. And I suspect that some of the same players might have been involved.

On December 3, 1998, widows, dying workers and cancer survivors from "Chemical Valley" in Sarnia, Ontario, attended the Visitors Gallery in the Ontario Legislature. Asbestos dust in Sarnia used to be so thick that traffic would sometimes be halted. Holmes Insulation and Caposite, both Sarnia companies, created through negligence a massive death toll of workers from rare cancers such as mesothelioma, by refusing to clean up their sites. Even families of the workers, affected by the poisons in their clothing, suffered abnormally high rates of various cancers.

In 1995, the Harris government had slashed inspectors, closed down occupational health and safety labs, and abolished a committee about to issue regulations on workplace toxins.

The NDP labour critic introduced the widows and dying workers to the Legislature. Immediately, the Harrisites jeered them, cracking jokes and laughing, catcalling and mocking them. One widow wrote to Mike Harris conveying her anguish at her husband's death being found funny by the Tories. The letter was never answered. One of the worst hecklers was Janet Ecker, then the Minister responsible for Community and Social Services.

That's what the Tories were like then, and it's what they're like now. There's a timeless quality to their utter lack of human decency.

In any case, one video is worth a thousand words.

*No link. This is from some notes of mine at the time.

[H/t Impolitical]


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