Asbestos Victims Make Final Effort to Oppose Mine’s Reopening

According to a report from the CBC News this week, the families of asbestos victims rallied this week to make a final effort to prevent the re-opening of an asbestos mine in Quebec. The news source reports that the families of these victims “invited the lead investor, Baljit Chadha, to visit Sarnia, Ont. to meet with asbestos disease victims and their relatives.” A decision is expected to be released in the next couple weeks by the Quebec government on the status of the mine, the article explains. Government officials will decide whether or not to extend a loan guarantee to asbestos investors, which will allow the Jeffrey mine to re-open. The loan is being pursued by investors from Balcorp Incorporated. A spokesman for the company claimed that it’s in the best interest of the Quebec government to promote the safe use of asbestos, the CBC article explains. If re-opened, the Jeffrey mine would serve as a source of asbestos to be exported to many developing countries, including India. The families of asbestos victims believe that investors are acting immorally by promoting the continued use of asbestos around the world and the reopening of this mine, which has already sickened so many. Asbestos is a carcinogenic material which puts anyone who works with or around it at risk. In addition, the material’s tiny fibers can be transported on hair and clothing, putting individuals at risk who have not even had direct contact with it. A group of families who have been affected by asbestos-related deaths gathered this week for a press conference in Toronto to speak out against the Quebec mine proposals and invite the investors for an in-depth conversation about the likely affects that will accompany the re-opening of the mine. Even the mayor of Sarnia, Ontario, Mike Bradley, joined these families in inviting Chadha to “come to Sarnia to meet victims and to visit the city’s waterfront memorial to those who died from workplace exposure to asbestos,” CBC reports. According to an open letter mayor Bradley wrote to Chadha, these families are the source of direct and indirect suffering as a result of asbestos exposure. His letter to Chadha also expressed the community’s passionate belief that nobody else in the world suffer from asbestos exposure. In his letter to the investors of the Jeffrey Mine, Bradley explained that the families would like to know whether the current legacy asbestos has left this town with is the same kind of legacy they wish to have attached to their reputation in the future. The key investors in the re-opening of this mine were first invited to speak last month in a letter drafted by Bradley, the CBC reports. This press conference would likely serve as one of the last attempts to try and put a stop to the mine’s re-opening. By inviting them to their hometown, the victims and their families feel that the asbestos mine investors might be persuaded by seeing the suffering that asbestos can bring about first hand. However, the CBC reports that the asbestos opposition group is also sympathetic to mine workers who will be cost jobs if this mine does not reopen. The article explains they “called for an assistance plan for those in the asbestos mining industry to make the transition to other employment,” the town’s mayor said.
  • CBC News Wire. (November 4, 2011) “Asbestos victims object to Quebec mine plans.” Retrieved on November 10, 2011 from CBC News.
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