Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” called attention to the Quebec town of Asbestos this past May in the segment above, and on July 6, 2012, the National Post reported that the Canadian province’s Liberal government announced a $58 million loan that “will revive a dormant mine producing the carcinogenic fiber that gives the town its name.” The open pit will be converted into an underground operation expected to yield chrysotile asbestos for another quarter-century beginning next June.
“Everyone is behind it,” Asbestos mayor Hugues Grimard told the Post. “Everyone has hoped for it. At the same time we are relaunching the entire region.”
Grimard told the Post that the Jeffrey Mine project represents 500 jobs and gives the town of Asbestos two decades to diversify its economy. When asked about the criticism of the Liberal government, Grimard told the Post, “Zero risk does not exist anywhere. There is a risk in everything. We have to look at pros and cons of every situation, minimize the risks, and make the right decision. We need brave people to make the right decisions.”
The mayor also spoke about the pride he had in the town’s name, saying he is “totally against” changing it. Grimard said there are ways to export and use asbestos safely, adding that there will be environmental audits performed by independent firms and paid for by Jeffrey Mine. “I’m not stupid. Our duty is the health and welfare of our population,” Grimard said. “I guarantee that as far as risks to the health of the overall population and the children, there is no problem.”
While Grimard spoke of the $1.5 million Jeffrey Mines will have to contribute to a “diversification fund” for five years, one has to wonder what funds might be set aside for workers who contract diseases like lung cancer or mesothelioma from asbestos exposure. Much of the reaction to the move has been highly critical, with one Market Watch commentary calling the decision “a black eye for Canada” and a different editorial referring to the move as “Canada’s shame.”
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of previous asbestos exposure, contact our firm today to set up a consultation to see what legal options are available to you.
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