A change in politics has found Canada announcing its 130 year history of asbestos mining and exportation will be coming to an end. Politicians have also announced the end for the all too common practice of defending asbestos mining and exportation on the world stage.
Parti Quebecois, Quebec’s political party which will soon take office, vowed to cancel a government loan guarantee designed to reinstate the large Jeffrey asbestos mine. The party has instead vowed to invest the money into economic diversification within the current asbestos producing region with the idea of creating lasting jobs.
Canada was previously labelled as the world’s top producer of a once valuable commodity that has been hailed as the ‘magic mineral’ for its fireproofing and insulating characteristics. As recently as 2010, Quebec was producing 150,000 tonnes of asbestos and exporting 90 per cent of it to developing countries.
More than 50 countries ban the mining and use of asbestos because of its connection with cancer. The World Health Organisation note that at least 100,000 people die each year from asbestos related diseases. Quebec has among the world’s highest rates of mesothelioma, created by a history of mining and heavy use in all kinds of asbestos products through most of the past century.
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Quebec division praised the announcement to revoke the government loan and have now urged all political parties to deal with existing asbestos contained in buildings and homes. The society is also campaigning for the creation of a registry of all buildings which still contain asbestos materials.