OPINION: The asbestos industry is fanning the flames of resentment. We must make them stop – by Kathleen Ruff (National Observer – August 17th 2021)


The asbestos issue is back on the agenda of the Quebec and Canadian governments, with multibillion-dollar projects to extract magnesium and other minerals from the mountains of waste left by asbestos mining companies. According to Quebec government health authorities, the waste contains up to 40 per cent asbestos. Houses, schools and public buildings are nearby.

The projects require moving the waste, thus disturbing the asbestos fibres and presenting a serious health risk to workers and the community. A pilot project is underway. The final decision from the Quebec government is pending.

All 17 Quebec directors of public health asked the federal government to include asbestos mining waste in its regulations to ban asbestos. The government rejected their request, exempted the mining waste and invested $12 million in the projects.

The asbestos lobby uses the same tactic as the Alberta oil industry of vilifying its opponents as enemies secretly working for foreign interests who wish to destroy the livelihoods of local communities.

Both thus avoid addressing the scientific and economic facts, instead stirring up resentment — a powerful and destructive human emotion, which makes rational debate difficult. Without fact-based debate, democracy withers.

For the rest of this article: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/08/17/opinion/asbestos-industry-fanning-flames-resentment