Dying woman's request for Canada to stop exporting asbestos | National Union of Public and General Employees

Dying woman's request for Canada to stop exporting asbestos

Quebec minister of natural resources and wildlife remains silent about government support for the Jeffrey asbestos mine.

Ottawa (9 January 2012) - Just over a year ago, Rachel Lee, a South Korean woman diagnosed with advanced mesothelioma, accompanied an international delegation to Canada to urge Quebec provincial officials to stop the subsidy and export of cancer-causing asbestos to Asian countries.

In December 2010, Lee met with Clement Gignac, Quebec’s minister of natural resources and wildlife and called upon the minister to commit to stop subsidizing asbestos production in the province including the shuttered Jeffrey Mine. On December 21, 2011 she died of mesothelioma.

Anti-asbestos activists issued an open letter to the Quebec cabinet minister, reminding him of Lee’s dying wish and urging the provincial government to take a stand against the mining and export of asbestos. The government has not responded to the request.

"We ask you, and the new Minister of Economic Development, Sam Hamad, and Premier Charest, to restore the honour of Quebec, to honour the appeal made to you by Rachel Lee on behalf of asbestos victims around the world and not fund the Jeffrey mine. In this way, the tragedy of Rachel Lee's death, and the deaths of thousands of other asbestos victims every year, will have served some purpose," the letter concludes.

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