Canadian Cancer Society Urges Government to Re-consider
TORONTO, April 14 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society is deeply
disappointed that the Quebec Economic Development Minister Clement
Gignac yesterday announced conditional support for a project that could
lead to the re-opening of Jeffrey Mine in the city of Asbestos.
"From a public health point of view, the Quebec Government has made the
wrong decision as all forms of asbestos cause cancer," says Paul
Lapierre, Vice President, Cancer Control and Public Affairs, Canadian
Cancer Society. "We strongly urge Minister Gignac to re-consider his
decision and to withdraw this support."
According to media reports, the Quebec Government has given its
agreement in principle to the reopening of the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine.
The offer is conditional on a consortium of investors lining up the
required $25 million in financing by July 1. The consortium, composed
of Balcorp Ltd. and partners, has been waiting for the government to
announce whether it will guarantee a $58 million loan guarantee to
expand the Jeffrey Mine operations, which it says is crucial to
restating the mine. Minister Gignac said his announcement affirms that
the Quebec government will continue to support the chrysotile asbestos
Other conditions for the Quebec Government conditional support include
Balcorp Ltd. contributing $1.5 million a year for five years, starting
in 2015, for economic diversification in the region, plus financing
annual inspections of the clients who buy asbestos from Jeffrey Mines
to ensure they are respecting the same health standards as those in
The Society has been urging Premier Jean Charest to not approve the $58
million loan guarantee for Jeffrey Mine. Worldwide about 107,000 people
die annually from disease related to occupational exposure to asbestos.
The Society has been joined by other health organizations - including
Quebec's regional health bureaus and the Canadian Medical Association -
in urging the Quebec government to not support the mine.
"This decision directly conflicts with global cancer control. The
epidemic of asbestos-related cancers, both in Canada and around the
world, will continue to spread," says Lapierre.
While the Society is discouraged by the announcement of the conditional
support, Lapierre says the organization is more committed than ever to
continue its work on this issue. "We will not back down. We know
Canadians and citizens of other countries are counting on us to protect
their health. We won't let them down."
The Society has been lobbying the federal government to take more action
against asbestos and has expressed its concern about the government's
continued support of the asbestos industry in Canada.
The Canadian Cancer Society believes that all efforts must be made to
eliminate exposure to asbestos and to eliminate asbestos-related
diseases. The Society is urging the federal government to adopt a
comprehensive strategy to address all aspect of the asbestos issue,
immediately setting a clear timetable for phasing out the use and export
implementing a national surveillance system to track health outcomes of
people who have been exposed to asbestos;
creating a public registry of buildings that contain asbestos;
providing transition support for affected communities;
including chrysotile on the Rotterdam Convention's Prior Informed
The Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to
prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. Join
the fight! Go to fightback.ca to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer,
visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)
For further information:
Bilingual Communications Specialists