Toxic toy law misses big picture

    Steelworkers say it focuses on symptom, not disease

    TORONTO, Dec. 17 /CNW/ - Proposed legislation on toxic toys ignores the
root problem, the United Steelworkers (USW) union said today. It overlooks
where and how toxic toys are made, focusing on the symptom more than the
    "Deregulated trade exports good, manufacturing jobs out of Canada and
imports unsafe products back in," said Ken Neumann, the Steelworkers' Canadian
director. "That's trouble for families here, workers abroad and the
environment everywhere. The real question isn't what the Tories' law does but
what it ignores: deregulation."
    For months, USW has sounded the alarm over lead and other toxics in toys.
Home testing events have taken place in more than 10 cities, with another on
Thursday in Montreal. At each, USW has connected the dots between deregulated
manufacturing abroad and hands-off regulation in Canada.
    "When a company like Mattel closes plants and ships jobs abroad, it
exposes families to the dangers of deregulation," said Neumann. "Mattel asks
families to trust that each company abroad involved in making a toy adheres to
the workplace, environmental and health standards its old plants did in North
America. With 30 million toy recalls, that clearly isn't happening, and Tories
aren't making it happen."
    Instead, Tories focus on retailers, as if dollar stores can vouch for
each step of the manufacturing chain. Neumann said that's impractical. "If
Mattel can't explain how lead got into toys, how can a mom and pop store?" he
asked. "What Stephen Harper proposed today focuses more on a symptom than the
disease. The real problem is deregulated trade."
    USW, however, said some of the proposed measures echo some of its
solutions. Empowering Ottawa to mandate recalls is a good step, Neumann said,
and more testing at the border is positive-moreso, if paid by importers.
    "The toxic toy crisis is a wake-up about the dangers of deregulated
trade," he said. "Some of the Tories' proposals could help with this problem.
But they won't help with the next. The bottom line is that if trade deals help
make things in deregulated, unsafe ways, it's only a matter of time before the
next crisis."

For further information:

For further information:, or: USW stop toxic
imports campaign, (416) 544-6005

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