Well, boys ‘n’ girls, I honestly thought this whole asbestos cheerleading thing would’ve died a well deserved death by now. I mean, the last remaining asbestos mine, Lac D’Amiante in Thetford Mines closed down. Premier Johnny-Boy looked to be delaying offering that 58M$ loan guarantee to the now-closed Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos indefinitely, passing that poison pill to the next provincial government. Hell, the last asbestos lobbying firm, the Chrysotile Institute, closed up shop recently. Those events alone were enough for me to believe that the last of the ghastly asbestos industry was finally killed off. But, no, this is not to be. Premier Johnny-Boy has decided to lend the Jeffrey Mine that 58M$ to the Jeffrey Mine after all. Here are some of the disgusting highlights:
Bernard Coulombe, the president of the Jeffrey Asbestos Mine, and Richmond member of the national assembly Yvon Vallières held a press conference on Friday to announce the funding.
François Vaudreuil, the union president, says “workers of the mine can rejoice. It’s the end of a decade-long fight.”
The mine’s management expects this funding will create between 400 and 500 direct full-time jobs for a period of 20 years in the town of Asbestos, while 1,000 positions indirectly related to the mine will also be created.
Vallières said the mine will have to repay $1.5 million along with interest fees for a period of 15 years between 2015 to 2031. The first $7.5 million will go directly to a fund targeting economic diversification for Quebec’s Eastern Townships region.
Yep, they were just all ga ga giddy over the whole thing. A decades old fight indeed. This is what I don’t get. Instead of wasting time and money on fighting to keep a dying industry that is sure to cause the miserable deaths of people, why wasn’t it spent creating new industry in the area? Yanno, new jobs? Perhaps something wild and crazy like green technology?
“We all know that this is an important step for our community. It guarantees a future, stimulates the local and regional economy. It also helps keep our youth with us,” said Vallières.
At the press conference, Vaudreuil praised the Quebec government for its “responsible decision and courageous decision.”
“The government took a courageous decision by supporting the reopening of the Jeffrey Mine. This government stood up against people who used propaganda and who used public health to make others believe that we should close the mine.”
Courageous? I say stupid! Keep it up, Johnny-Boy! Doncha know by now that most Quebecers don’t support government subsidizing the asbestos industry? Do you honestly think you’re going to endear yourself to Quebecers this way? Sadly, I believe that La Marois and of course, Legault of the “Parti de l’Entrepreneur” CAQ would also subsidize the asbestos industry in la belle province. What sick people!
Needless to say, the Canadian Cancer Society is none too happy and they do plan to continue the fight.
“This decision means the Quebec government is in direct conflict with global cancer control as all forms of asbestos cause cancer,” says Paul Lapierre, Vice President, Cancer Control and Public Affairs, Canadian Cancer Society. “We urge the Quebec government 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.”
The Society has been lobbying Premier Jean Charest to not approve a $58 million loan guarantee to Jeffrey Mine as the Quebec government should not be supporting an industry whose product is a recognized cancer causing substance. Worldwide, about 107,000 people die annually from disease related to occupational exposure to asbestos. Asbestos mined from Quebec is a contributor to this death toll.
“This decision means that asbestos-related cancers, both in Canada and around the world, will continue to grow,” says Lapierre. “It’s imperative that the health of people around the world be put ahead of the interests of the asbestos industry.”
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 not to support the mine.
Of course, Mr. Coulombe of the Jeffrey Mine says the data is basically called the data an exaggeration based on unfounded evidence. Yeah, he would say that. He now has to be a one man show, flipping between boss and lobbyist, now that the only asbestos lobbying game is dead.
Oh Paging Dr. Yves Bolduc! Our lovely health minister and a doctor, just like minnie mouse voiced Harpercon, Kellie Leitch. I wonder if the good doctor has been celebrating with Coulombe and fellow MNA Yvon Vallieres? This is how you can reach the esteemed health & social services minister and good doctor, boys ‘n’ girls:
1040, avenue Belvédère
Téléphone : 418 682-8167
Télécopieur : 418 682-0794
Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux
1075, chemin Sainte-Foy, 15e étage
Téléphone : 418 266-7171
Télécopieur : 418 266-7197
Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux
2021, rue Union, 10e étage, suite 10.051
Téléphone : 514 873-3700
Télécopieur : 514 873-7488
More about the MNA here.
Also, the Canadian Cancer Society has a petition here.
As for you who were ga ga giddy over Bill 78 and were just gung-ho over those “preventative” arrests on Bernie Hecklestone’s sexist week-end of largesse known as the Grand-Prix, referring to the student protesters as spoiled brats and just peachy-keen over tuition hikes, tell me, is a 58M$ loan to a dying industry that kills a better investment than the tax payers of the future? To those who hate “soshalism” so damned much, is this “loan” much better way to spend our tax dollars than our social safety nets? Better question, is spending money on such a disgusting industry a better idea than creating new industry?
PS: A reminder. Guess who’s on the hook for this loan should the Jeffrey Mine fail? I mean, besides the tax-payers? That’s right, boys ‘n’ girls, the workers, themselves.