In this 2014 file photo, Filipinos protest in front of the Foreign Affairs building in Pasay City about alleged waste material shipments from Canada. CNS photo/Francis R. Malasig, EPA

Trudeau urged to take back toxic waste: News and Notes

  • November 3, 2017

Catholic Church leaders in the Philippines are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take back shipping containers of toxic waste that arrived in the country from Canada in 2013, reported

The PM, in Manila Nov. 12-14 for the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, indicated that the waste was shipped as part of a private business deal, but that Canada might now be able to take it back.

The shipments were originally labeled as recyclable plastics, according to environmental watchdogs. However, after the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs decided to open them in 2014 due to a foul smell, hazardous waste materials were discovered in some of the more than 75 containers.

“We should insist that they take back the containers of trash,” said Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the Philippine bishops’ social action agency, said Trudeau needs to take “decisive action” to resolve the issue. 

“No community deserves to be a dumping ground for toxic waste,” he said.

LEGAL CHALLENGE: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom is preparing to launch a court challenge to the constitutionality of legislation that supports gay-straight alliances (GSA) in Alberta schools. Bill 24, introduced Nov. 2, would prevent schools, including independent religious schools, from notifying parents if a child joins a GSA unless the child consents.

“The prohibition on parental notification concerning a GSA or ‘activity’ violates the fundamental right of parents to be informed concerning their children’s education,” the Justice Centre said in a release.

CELLPHONES ‘AWFUL’: The Mass is not a show, but a beautiful, transformative encounter with the true loving presence of Christ, Pope Francis said. That is why people need to focus their hearts on God, not focus their smartphones for pictures during Mass, he said.

When the priest celebrating Mass says, “Let us lift up our hearts,” he is not saying, “lift up our cellphones and take a picture. No. It’s an awful thing” to do, the Pope said Nov. 8 during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. 

“It makes me so sad when I celebrate (Mass) in the square or in the basilica and I see so many cellphones in the air. And not just by the lay faithful, some priests and bishops, too,” he said.

NO SMOKES: Concerned by the damage caused by smoking, Pope Francis has banned the sale of cigarettes in Vatican City State.

Starting in 2018, the Vatican “will cease to sell cigarettes to employees,” Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, said in a statement. “The reason is very simple: The Holy See cannot contribute to an activity that clearly damages the health of people,” he said. “According to the World Health Organization, every year smoking is the cause of more than seven million deaths throughout the world.”

Vatican City prohibited smoking in offices and public places in 2002, but cigarettes continued to be sold to current and retired personnel at the Vatican. 

Even after the cigarette ban goes into effect, the Vatican will continue discount sales of gasoline, groceries and other goods to employees and retirees.

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