The Government of Quebec last week announced that it had given a $58 million loan guarantee to a consortium to develop a new underground chrysotile asbestos mine at the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine. The decision was immediately praised by the President of Jeffery Mines, Bernard Coulombe, Quebec National Assembly member Yvon Vallieres and trade unionist Francois Vaudreuil. The government’s so called “courageous decision” to support the controversial project and employment prospects for people in the mining region; up to 500 direct full-time jobs and 1,000 indirect jobs will be created was a step in the right direction.
However the decision has been blasted by environmentalists, activists, doctors and other concerned people. Commenting on the government subsidy, Paul Lapierre, of the Canadian Cancer Society, said:”This decision means the Quebec government is in direct conflict with global cancer control as all forms of asbestos cause cancer. We urge the Quebec government to reconsider its decision and cancel the loan guarantee. We believe these funds should instead be directed to projects to help the affected communities diversify their economic base.”
Most of the Asbestos from this mine will be shipped to Asian countries like India and Indonesia and thousands of workers and their families will be exposed to the deadly Asbestos Fibre.
Activists across the globe have raised this issue of the double standards of Canada of no using Asbestos within Canada but exporting it to developing nations.
In Korea, under the banner of BANKO, a protest was organised outside the Canadian Embassy in Seoul. A protest letter was handed was also handed over. For letter Click here
Some Photos from Korea
Photos of Protests from Nagoya, Japan
More protests and events are being held in other countries.
With the internet and widespread use of social media platforms, the global ban asbestos community will make sure that the news of Quebec’s plans is known around the world. This is not over!