Canadian Cancer Society Urges Quebec Premier Not To Provide Loan Guarantee to
Asbestos Mine

TORONTO, June 29 /CNW/ - In a letter sent to Quebec Premier Jean Charest, the Canadian Cancer Society is urging the premier not to approve a $58 million loan guarantee to Jeffrey Asbestos Mines, based in Quebec, for the renewal of asbestos mining and export.

Granting a loan guarantee to the mine will help spread the global epidemic of asbestos-related cancers and damage Canada's reputation as a global leader in public health, says the letter.

"All forms of asbestos, including chrysotile asbestos mined in Quebec, cause cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society is working to eliminate asbestos-related disease both in Canada and world-wide," says Peter Goodhand, President and CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. "Canada's own tragedy of disease arising from asbestos use is now being repeated in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America, where workplace safety practices are lax or non-existent."

Goodhand adds that worldwide about 90,000 people die annually from disease related to occupational exposure to asbestos, and the asbestos imported from Quebec mines is a major contributor to this death toll.

The Society was compelled to send the letter because of its own commitment to eliminating asbestos-related disease, as well as receiving many letters and emails from concerned health advocates in Quebec and from around the world.

"Resoundingly, these groups asked that we write to share our message of concern about the possible loan guarantee," says Jimm Simon, Chair, Canadian Cancer Society. Simon, along with Goodhand, co-signed the letter.

The letter closes by recommending that Quebec's asbestos workers be supported by re-directing this money to a transition fund that will help communities move away from asbestos mining.

The Society has been lobbying the federal government to take more action against asbestos, and to express 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 aspects of the asbestos issue, including:

    -   immediately setting a clear timetable for phasing out the use and
        export of asbestos;
    -   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
        Consent list.

Read more about our position:

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 to find out how you can help. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)

For further information: For further information: Alexa Giorgi, Bilingual Communications Specialist, 416-934-5681

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