By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday August 16, 2011
Tories tussle with asbestos widow over ad campaign
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.
A top Tory official is warning the woman to stop using the party logo in an online ad campaign against the controversial industry — a campaign she started after her husband died of an asbestos-related cancer.
Michaela Keyserlingk, whose husband Robert died in 2009 of mesothelioma, has been running an online banner since the spring that reads, “Canada is the only western country that still exports deadly asbestos!”
Conservative party executive director Dan Hilton warned Keyserlingk to stop using the Tory symbol immediately.
“Failure to do so may result in further action,” Hilton wrote in a July 29 email which carried the subject title, “Unauthorized use of trademark.” The email, which The Canadian Press obtained from Keyserlingk, went on to advise her: “Please govern yourself accordingly.”
The exchange comes as Canada faces intensifying international criticism over its asbestos exports and the Quebec government mulls whether to help revive one of the country’s last-remaining mines — a decision that could come as early as Monday.
Canada, which barely uses the hazardous material domestically, exports the bulk of its asbestos to poor countries.
Industry proponents insist the material is safe if properly handled — but its critics stress that the product is used mainly in developing countries where safety standards are haphazard. (Source: CTV News)